Have you ever seen a movie, television show or videogame in which the creators’ vision is completely sound yet it fails on almost every level? What causes such an “epic fail”? Maybe it has to do with the skill of the team involved. Maybe the creators had such a massive vision that they overextended themselves. Or maybe everyone involved got sidetracked. The answer is completely unknown, which brings the discussion to the PlayStation 3 game Last Rebellion. This is a game that has a solid foundation yet is poorly constructed.
Last Rebellion takes place in a dark world in which the cycle of birth and death is completely messed up. The god of creation, Formival, started reincarnating souls left and right, which led to the dead returning to life. This causes an even bigger problem as monsters now return to life, allowing them to wreak havoc on the population at large. Enter Nine, one of the two adopted sons of the king and a blade. Blades are warriors who can physically cut the monsters down. However, a sealer is needed to, obviously, seal the monster so it cannot stand back up. Here enters Aisha, a potent sealer who was hired by the king for “mysterious reasons.” As soon as the two meet, the king and Nine are murdered by Ailister, the king’s second adopted son. Aisha then casts a forbidden spell that binds Nine’s soul’s to hers. Now, it’s up to them to stop Alister and, maybe, just maybe, put a major dent in Formival’s odd plans.
It’s a promising setup, right down to the creepy world. However, the plot is told, not shown. So what should have been a heart-wrenching scene is instead filled with, well, clipart. And since the two heroes of the game are forever linked, the loading art practically fetishizes them with the two characters in varying degrees of embrace and placement. It’s a shame, too, since the game has a unique premise that it needs to be properly told.
As such, the graphics are a mixed bag. On the one hand, everything moves rather smoothly. Loading screens never overstay their welcome; there is no installation screen. As soon as one thing is over, it smoothly transitions into the next part. Areas feel wide and expansive, giving the feeling that one is actually exploring the countryside. Locales range from a volcanic region to windy mountains to a trapped castle. Everything moves smoothly, from the monsters that run up to attack to the heroes’ movements to the heroes themselves, who slash enemies with ease. On the other hand, the resolution is lower than the average PS3 game and looks a bit “last generation.” Furthermore, Last Rebellion cannot seem to decide if it wants to take a clean realistic look to the game or revel in its anime roots.
Gameplay is, surprisingly, intriguing yet frustrating. Last Rebellion plays out like any other traditional RPG: Run around the map avoiding monsters (yes, you can see them), open chests using Keys of Gannon and beat the snot out of the monsters. Since the two characters share a single body, only one can be on screen at a time, and they take turns damaging the monsters. They share HP, MP and CP. When the HP is gone, it’s game over. The best way to damage the enemy is by sticking “stamps” all over its body. However, the best way to cause damage (and gain easy experience) is to hit each body part in the proper order. However, the game only tells if you “hit or miss,” so it can get frustrating quickly. On the plus side, once a monster has been “stamped,” the spell effects them all — whether it is one or seven monsters, all body parts or just one. Also, Last Rebellion offers several different spells to fiddle with; although, certain spells are more useful than others. So it’s saddening that specific spells have more weight than others.
Sound wise, Last Rebellion is a mixed bag like the rest of the game. The basic overall sound effects are rather solid. The soundtrack also continues this theme with its diverse tunes. A metal track opens the title screen. The battle music is more of a soft rock song. Unfortunately, nothing really stands out as it’s just rather mellow. What does stand out is the voice acting, and I’m totally conflicted about it. The voice actors fit their roles rather well. However, they are not put to good use as the dialogue ranges between solid to downright bad. And I don’t blame the actors as they can only do so much with the poorly written plot.
Yet, Last Rebellion is a guilty pleasure for me. I can’t really explain it. Yes, the mood has to be “just right” in order to keep me going for a few hours. Yet I like the ideas in the game. Combat is quick, painless and feels more like a puzzle than a strategy game. The plot has a great start as one typically expects creation to be the “positive” force not death, therefore challenging the paradigm of the involvement of gods. I like how the monsters are all seen on the map and that there are tons of spells to fiddle with during combat.
So is the Last Rebellion a game you want to add to your PS3 collection? That’s a tricky question. It has a solid vision with its flawed — not broken — gameplay, a dark world and intriguing concepts about divinity. However, this is not a game for everyone. This isn’t a superpolished game. Instead, it’s raw. If you can get pass the bland presentation, it is fun. If you can’t, no one will blame you. I lucked out with a copy for about $10. At the very least, it is worth a rental just to see all of the ideas for a good revolution.