Last Rebellion - Staff Review  

This Rebellion is Quickly Crushed
by Adriaan den Ouden

Click here for game information
Less than 20 Hours
+ Unique and interesting combat system.
- Awful writing, awful translation, awful storytelling.
- Looks like a PS2 game.
- Cutscenes nothing but static images.
- Terrible voice acting.
- Starts challenging but quickly becomes excessively easy.
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   With the new console generation's feet firmly planted in the living rooms of RPGamers everywhere, even smaller developers are starting to pay attention to high-end consoles like the PlayStation 3. HitMaker, whose titles thus far have been limited to handhelds, is one of the first small developers to take the plunge into the console development scene with its latest title, Last Rebellion. Unfortunately, Last Rebellion looks and plays like a game from the last generation, and that's the least of its problems.

   Taking place in a world where two gods are at war, Last Rebellion follows Nine and Aisha, a Blade and Sealer respectively, as they seek revenge on Nine's younger brother Alfred, who murdered his father and king. In this world, the power of the two gods who represent life and death is out of balance, and as a result, dead bodies are constantly rising from their graves, becoming undead demons. Blades and Sealers have been blessed by the goddess of death, Meiktilia, and granted the power to destroy and seal away these demons. As the story begins, Nine and Aisha end up sharing a body, and this becomes a core element of the gameplay as well as the story.

   At least as far as Last Rebellion has a story, anyways. This is a tale better left untold. Not only is it written poorly, but it's also told poorly and translated poorly, a triple whammy of putrescence that nobody in their right mind will be able to care about. The characters are bland and uninteresting, and change their personalities so often that it just becomes confusing. Nine goes from being an apathetic whiner to a vicious vigilante in half a second. The plot makes sense in that you can generally figure out what's going on, but important facts that weren't even mentioned when they occurred are regularly pulled out of thin air to drive the story forward and explain the insane and nonsensical machinations of Alfred and other villainous characters. It doesn't help that all of this is told through cutscenes, and I use the term loosely, that consist of static images and character portraits, accompanied by awful voice acting of weak and awkward dialogue.

Combat is the only part of this game worth experiencing. Combat is the only part of this game worth experiencing.

   The static images, at least, are quite attractive. Last Rebellion's pastel art style is very distinct, and the character and monster designs are terrific. It's a real shame that there's no animation to be found, because it could have been very impressive. Sadly, the game's technical prowess is that of a mid-generation PlayStation 2 game. The environments in particular are bland and sport low-quality textures. The character models are a bit better, but still look very much like late-generation PS2 titles like .hack//G.U. or Persona 3. Last Rebellion is also plagued with loading screens. Occasionally a loading screen will pop up during breaks in the cutscenes as the characters move from one environment to the next. The load times can last anywhere from five to ten seconds, and become irritating quite quickly.

   Aside from the voice acting, the audio is fairly solid. The soundtrack is rather unusual, as most of the background tracks are made up of pulsating beats and rhythms that constantly build tension as you explore the game's dungeons. The battle and main themes have a heavy techno influence, and fit perfectly with the style and atmosphere of the game.

   Last Rebellion's only saving grace is its unique and interesting combat system, which throws the usual turn-based combat system out the window. Essentially, combat can be broken down into three parts: physical attacks, magical attacks, and finally sealing, and each system works with the others to create bizarre and strangely addictive battles.

   To start things out, every enemy in the game has anywhere from six to ten body parts that can be attacked. These body parts each have different defensive strengths, and there is also a correct order that they should be struck in. Once a body part is struck, it is stamped, which plays into magical attacks, but more on that later. Players can choose to attack body parts in any order, and each individual attack costs one chain point (CP), a few of which are restored at the end of every turn. If one of the body parts is struck in the right sequence, the stamp will last longer and that number will be saved into memory so you can continue striking it. You'll also gain significant bonus experience, which can actually be as much as ten times the normal experience in some battles.

This single image stays on the screen for 2 minutes of dialogue.  That This single image stays on the screen for 2 minutes of dialogue. That's one hell of a hug.

   Once a body part is stamped, it becomes vulnerable to magical attacks. Magical attacks cost a set amount of magic points (MP), but the spell will strike every stamp on every enemy in the battle. Since each magical spell only costs a single CP to perform, you can potentially get as much as twenty or thirty CP worth of damage for a small MP cost. This also allows your CP time to recover if you expended a lot stamping enemies. Many enemies, bosses included, also have severe weaknesses to certain types of spells, which makes them even more potent.

   Finally, once an enemy is defeated, it's not actually dead. Because of the imbalance in the gods' powers, defeated enemies will rise to their feet with full health if they're left on the ground long enough. In order to permanently get rid of them, Aisha must use her Seal skill, which destroys the enemy and also restores a bit of health. Similarly, Nine is able to use his Absorb skill to drain MP from fallen enemies. However, this skill has the opposite effect: enemies will actually revive faster after using it. However, by having Nine's Absorb immediately followed by Aisha's Seal, you can regain HP and MP with impunity, and it's extremely important in order to maintain a steady MP supply.

   There are other minor elements such as support spells and rage points that come into play as well, but the core mechanics are outlined above. Each battle becomes a balancing act of maintaining a healthy amount of MP and CP while trying to gain as much bonus experience as possible. At least at first. As the game progresses, maintaining your MP and CP becomes easier and easier, to the point that you don't even really have to worry about it anymore. By the end of the game, I was regaining ten CP a turn and had a maximum MP pool of over 2000. Since the most expensive spell in common use was 120 MP and Absorb was restoring over 100 per enemy, neither MP or CP was an issue anymore, which made the game extraordinarily easy. This is a shame, as it was fairly challenging in the early stages.

   Although the combat system is unique, the progressively easy difficulty, atrocious story, and subpar visuals make Last Rebellion difficult to recommend. It's also incredibly short, requiring less than fifteen hours to complete the game. If you're truly starved for a PS3 RPG, Last Rebellion's combat system alone can provide a bit of enjoyment, but with Final Fantasy XIII only two weeks down the road, it's a pretty safe bet that a little patience is the better option.

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