Game review: Last Scenario

  • Title: Last Scenario
  • Developer: SCF
  • Platforms: Windows
  • Price: Free

Made using RPG Maker XP by SCF, Last Scenario is a typical jRPG with typical jRPG weaknesses. It stands out vis-a-vis other RPG Maker RPGs primarily because it has some nice custom graphics. While most of the tilesets used in the game are stock RPG Maker sprites, Last Scenario has some really lovely character portraits and in-battle character sprites unique to the game.

Last Scenario is, at its heart, a Final Fantasy clone. It possesses the same linear town-dungeon-boss-town-dungeon-boss structure of a Final Fantasy game, as well as a mini-game that bears more than a passing similarity to a certain mini-game in Final Fantasy 8. Even the name itself, “Last Scenario,” is a take-off on “Final Fantasy.”

Last Scenario’s battle system, however, is technically more akin to the Phantasy Star system. Believe it or not, this actually hurts the game. There is no “active time” element to combat, everyone moves in a set order, and characters are—for reasons I cannot even begin to understand—limited to a maximum of two spells apiece by default.

The net result of all this is that the combat possesses virtually no tactical variety. Last Scenario lacks the spatial element of combat in games like Avernum and Caravaneer, and also lacks the timing and damage management aspects of a game like The Spirit Engine 2. You are, at the end of the day, stuck trading blows in infuriatingly dull random encounters whose only purpose is to whittle down your health and force you to use healing items while you slowly accumulate gold and experience points. I haven’t played a game that takes this tack for some time, and I had honestly forgotten how profoundly irritating it is to be randomly attacked every 10-15 seconds while moving around.

Even more irritating is that the game scarcely ever refills your health and magic points, even after your characters have clearly just gotten a full night of sleep, so you are forced to waste healing items or spend money staying at an inn. Bizarrely, the game won’t let you sleep in your own bed. You have to stay at an inn to go to sleep in your own hometown. I can think of no reason for this other than to force the player to expend precious gold, requiring him to then fight more battles to make it up.

Like most jRPGs, Last Scenario trades on its story, not its gameplay mechanics. Last Scenario’s story isn’t brilliant, but it’s fairly mature for what it is. People die. You’ll see blood. The higher-ups in the military plainly don’t care about the grunts. There’s even a little bit of political intrigue.

I can’t say that I like the characters, though. Your main characters include an angry, butch, female soldier who yells constantly; a grim but empathetic healer; a strangely bland amnesiac outcast with in-born magical talent fleeing from the clutches of an evil kingdom who wants to use her; and of course, you have your hero, Hilbert, cast from wherever it is that these RPGs import their young-men-obsessed-with-protecting-everyone-because-they-couldn’t-save-their-families-when-they-were-five-years-old. Not one of these characters has a sense of humor.

Hilbert, the protagonist, is particularly bad. I find him about as interesting as a wooden post, and a little less smart. In fairness, the creator does seem to have done this intentionally, as he undercuts Hilbert’s naïve expectations about what it means to be a hero fairly regularly. I can appreciate this as an attempt to subvert the tropes of older RPGs, but the execution is just a touch too heavy-handed, and in the meantime I’m stuck playing a complete doofus.

The Verdict: 2/5. Last Scenario is decent for an RPG Maker game, but below average by any universal metric. While it has some very nice custom graphics, it relies on tired, lackluster gameplay mechanics and grinding to pad out its length, and its narrative elements just aren’t strong enough to save it.

Special note: For reasons that apparently relate to SCF’s choice of fonts, Last Scenario does not display any text when run on versions of Windows more recent than XP. I had to play it on my netbook in order to write this review. Consider yourself warned.

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13 Comments »

 
  • Michael Kůr says:

    I’m doing the video instructions on YouTube Last scenario My Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/Michaelkur95?feature=mhw5
    or enter search: Last scenario part

  • Kyp says:

    Very weird review. Are you sure you played other JRPGs before this one ?
    Because for me, Last Scenario is far more balanced and tactical than most of them. The gameplay is old, I’ll give you that. But Last Scenario managed to reach the culmination of this particular kind of gameplay, which was probably not easy as all previous professional jRPG releases never succeeded.
    You can’t compare Last SCenario with modern games. It’s obviously an homage to the time of SNES RPG.

    Well, everybody has a different opinion I guess, but you shouldn’t vent your frustration on a game that’s clearly a good game. The review isn’t objective. The proof ? This sentence : “Last Scenario is decent for an RPG Maker game, but below average by any universal metric.” I invite you to (re)play SNES RPGs.

    Oh, and I played on Vista. There was text, I’m pretty sure of it.

  • Craig Stern says:

    Last Scenario managed to reach the culmination of this particular kind of gameplay, which was probably not easy as all previous professional jRPG releases never succeeded.

    Have you played Final Fantasy 6? How about Chrono Trigger? Do you actually think that Last Scenario improves on those games, gameplay-wise? No offense, but that’s kind of silly.

  • Kyp says:

    Have you played Final Fantasy 6? How about Chrono Trigger? Do you actually think that Last Scenario improves on those games, gameplay-wise? No offense, but that’s kind of silly.

    I’ve played both and I strongly liked both. Now, gameplay-wise, Last Scenario doesn’t “add” anything to those games. It even takes the genre slightly backwards by not using the active time battle system. But I find Last Scenario far more tactical and balanced than FF6 and Chrono Trigger (By the way, you chose the two best games of this category on SNES.)
    No grinding required (grinding is only required if you can’t find the “way” to kill a boss), each dungeon and boss is challenging yet never overly difficult. With the ATB, you always have to hurry, the difficulty is to think fast and right. In Last Scenario, you can take your time and thus the chalenge has been increased because you really need to think (which equipment, which characters, which spellcards, when to use the crisis spells and which crisis spell, should I use an item that can’t be bought back)
    It’s different, I admit. But in a RPG, I prefer to think than to act fast. There are action games for that.

    And even if you prefer FF6 and CT (which may be my case, I didn’t really think it through), you can’t deny Last Scenario has a high standard.

  • Lailoken says:

    I agree with pretty much everything that Kyp said. This was just about my favorite JRPG ever.

    Although the main character did annoy me. I guess my biggest issue with him is he never really learned. I was hoping for a bit more character growth.

  • eplipswich says:

    Also to the reviewer, do not forget that Last Scenario is an indie RPG. You cannot compare an indie RPG to a commercial RPG because they are two types of RPGs on a different scale altogether. So your review is pretty bias because you’re comparing an indie RPG to a commercial one.

    Also, about the fact that you said the game scarcely refills your HP and MP…are you serious? There’s something called “Tent”. Tents may be expensive in the beginning, but gradually it becomes cheaper as you get more money from loots. It’s all about strategic management. This is challenge.

    • Craig Stern says:

      A modern indie RPG is on a different scale from a modern commercial RPG, yes. But it isn’t on a different scale from a commercial RPG of 20 years ago. Remember, Last Scenario is made using a program called RPG Maker, which is specifically designed to allow the user to easily create RPGs similar to the commercial RPGs of 15-20 years ago. Since that is the style of game the author has chosen to create, I judge the game by that standard.

  • saharsh says:

    SCF just have to make a another game just like this but with an another great story!!!

  • petko says:

    can someone tell me link for this game i play this game on CD but i want to download it and i cant find any link. Pls if anyone can help me pls answer

  • Vicreo says:

    Well, I found many mistakes in this review, which actually point that the author never played the game too much – which is wrong if the same person judge the game.
    As other already wrote, in last scenario are tents which will often refill your HPs and MPs to maximum.
    Other mistake in this article are spells – only in the beggining you are limited by 2 spellcards per character, as the game passes, you can accumulate more up to five, and you have more characters so you have finally 4 characters 5 spellcards each = 20 spells at a time.

    It is no truth that you cannot refill your HPs in your home. You just cannot refill them from the beggining in the Whitelake. Later on the game, you will find “Old Home” location in Rosehart territory where you can sleep for free. Later, you will be a hero of whitelake and you can sleep for free in it’s inn.

    Last Scenario is one of the best free RPGs I ever played and yes, the storyline mades the most.

    • amerk says:

      And you obviously didn’t read his review very well. He never said anything about tents or restorations. He’s talking about story-related events that should cause the person to heal. For example, after a boss fight, and then some major cut scenes, in which the heroes are all relaxing, when you resume play, sometimes they weren’t healed, although you would have expected them to be.

      And he never said 2 spells per person max, just that they all begin (“by default”) at 2 spells max, which he couldn’t understand why.

      I will grant the story was better than most I’ve played, although it did drag on in the end. For me, it was an okay game. I think I enjoyed the first half more than the second. I just found it to be a tad bit grind heavy (not necessarily for EXP, but for gold). Equipment was too high priced — although the trick around that is to have a steal card on somebody and constantly steal for loot or for equipment that can either be used or traded in for gold.

 

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