I’ll hide story-related spoilers though so highlight to read if ya wants.
Oh yeah, generic notice: Please refrain from asking me any how to’s, where to find this or that — basically, any guide-like questions — because I have a severely abysmal memory so chances are, I won’t be able to recall anything. ^^; Sorry.
A wall of text appears! Command?
I’ve been Googling about the missing chapters since I keep thinking I missed some within the 20’s. I KNOW I did everything from 20 – 25 but I suppose I must have spaced out while doing story chapters beyond 25 since everywhere I search, the answers never mention anything between 26 – 30 as missable. Oh well. In case anyone wants info on chapters you can unwittingly miss, there’s a GameFAQs thread that addresses that. (I’m sure there are MORE threads but it’s just people asking the same damn question. :P)
Honestly, I find that the game is extremely playable without any walkthroughs or guides given how small the world actually is. (This was honestly one of the few games where I didn’t have to refer to any guide or do any searches online for hints.) If you’re willing to run around the city and castle and examine every nook and cranny as well as talk to every single person possible, you are bound to come across every single mini quest. Just a tip though — do the rounds around the city and/or castle after every story chapter. However, the biggest change that I saw in terms of mini quests from NPCs and such came after Chapter 20 or 21 so I guess it’s possible to be a bit lax before then in terms of exploring.
There’s a few things that only get tied up in the epilogue though like the guy in the Artisan’s Way going on about his daughter and magic lessons or whatever, as well as the kid with the ill sister near the haunted mansion. I’m not sure the Orchid Kids will present you with anything at the Fountain Plaza (I think they’re there. I just remember them by a fountain. ^^) if you didn’t hunt them down every time they stole money from Zael. I think you encounter them 3 times in total throughout the game. The last time is before the point of no return (which is chapter 30 or 31) which, BTW, is the most hilarious since they just go all out in terms of hiding spots. Incidentally, all 3 of them are roughly nearby from one another. The girl was hardest to find, IMO, because she wasn’t in an area you can simply teleport to via the Map option.
About the plot, The Last Story had nothing to write home about. It’s a pretty standard JRPG but what keeps it going is the dialogue and battle gameplay. (I dunno. I found that the dialogue flowed rather well and wasn’t awkward or unnatural at any spot; character behaviours & immaturity aside, of course.) I’m somewhat disappointed at “the big reveal” of MAJOR PLOT SPOILERS who was working with the Gurak + who murdered General Ashtar mainly because he was always a suspect for me. It actually wasn’t really done all that well since there wasn’t enough hints to justify the outcome in the final dungeon. The excuse was that Dagran kept it all inside himself but it’s just shoddy writing, if you ask me.
But anyway, if you paid attention to the cutscene with Ashtar and Therius’ entrance into Lazulis Castle, you will notice a zoom in on Dagran’s face and his angry eyebrows as Ashtar walked by. This really stood out for me and was on my mind for a while. Things really started to become suspicious when he started getting all chummy-chummy with the Count as this gave me the impression that he was a rather ambitious individual and probably wouldn’t stop there. When the General died, he really should have just said the guy’s name isn’t of “that man” but hey, the writers wanted to keep players in the dark. END MAJOR PLOT SPOILERS
I can see the possibility of a sequel given that this story took place on just a small part of the world/empire. If there is a sequel, I would like all new characters and something that doesn’t have to do with an outerworldly being.
You know, even now I’m still puzzled about how to fight cave cougars. 😛 Using Healel takes forever but it works since your HP is maintained but it seems like you pretty much have to be above them a few levels in order to deal decent damage. There is one weapon that you can get late in the game that eventually gains Star affinity which the cougars are weak against. It becomes the strongest weapon and damned if I recall what it’s called. I’ll load up the game to get its final form name but I just can’t remember what it was before. Edit: The weapon name is Stranger but again, that’s its final form name. .__.~ Also, I’m not entirely certain you can upgrade it to this on a first playthrough. I, uh, kind of turned on cheats for the last 2 Epilogue chapters so I had all materials + unlocked Effects menu. ^^;
Oh yeah, one of the customers on the second floor of the tavern wasn’t kidding; this game really relies on weapon types. Of course, battle strategy is important too but things go so much faster if you use the best type of weapon against opponents. There were so many fights that I went into where I kept wondering why I was doing piddly damage to enemies. I end up doing a facepalm after checking my inventory and find that there’s a better weapon to use. I do switch weapons in mid-battle a lot, BTW. XD
Erm, I don’t think we ever find out what’s behind the Forbidden Door in the castle. Maybe that could be in the sequel? :E
One more thought: Some of the faces of the character models can be weird some times … like Syrenne and Ashtar. Whenever they smiled, they looked so creepy! ^^ And Mirania … she has a smirk on her face in place of a true smile. At least she did in the end of chapter 42.
Another thought: This is another lovely title screen. Kind of spoilerly though (I never did have Zael don that outfit at any point though): https://koukoupuffs.wordpress.com/2012/08/29/the-last-story-afterthoughts-with-spoilers/lovelytitleimg/#main
Another thought #2: Why is Dagran’s VA the last one listed in the cast list?
Another thought #3: Was there really any purpose to have that Guardian emissary? >_> I think the story would have been entirely fine without its inclusion. (Oh, it serves as a New Game+ indicator. XD)
Another thought #4: I just noticed something in the Reptids’ Cave or whatever at the start of the game. I take it the Outsider gave Zael the mark and not the Sorceress? I guess it’s obvious but the female voice here refers to herself in singular while the later encounter of the Outsider is always plural. :V