Square-Enix has a nasty habit of releasing “international” versions of its major games, chiefly in their fabled Final Fantasy franchise, which, ironically, don’t see the light of day outside Japan. They would also become a major contributor to HD remasters of titles from past console generations, with Final Fantasy X and its direct sequel X-2 seeing HD ports on the PlayStation 3 and 4, with the original “international” version of the latter title having an additional gameplay experience entitled Last Mission, which sports a roguelike take on the Final Fantasy formula. Final Fantasy X-2: Last Mission HD Remaster proves to be a solid experience on its own in spite of its flaws.
Last Mission begins at a base where the player has a storage facility that is sadly limited, alongside the limit on YRP’s in-dungeon inventory. Before entering the eighty-floor tower, players have a choice on which girl they wish to control, with a certain Dressphere allowing for a change in protagonist. The game is at heart a roguelike, with ascension of the tower accompanied by an increase in the difficulty of enemies. The player begins without any items or Dresspheres, although some of them just might be lying around each floor of the tower, with players able to equip up to five Dresspheres at any given time and equip two accessories occasionally spawned when gathering AP obtained by killing enemies with certain Dressphere combinations equipped.
To level Dresspheres, the player must find another of the same type and fuse them using the Dress Fusion Secrets folio. Leveling a Dressphere requires that the player unequip that which they desire to power up, which is forbidden if the player steps on a cursed tile that forbids the removal of a Dressphere or accessory, although a folio can cure one Dressphere or accessory of this ailment. Other titles throughout each floor of the tower make various things happen, such as forbidding the active character from moving for a certain number of turns, putting a “bomb” on an item in the player’s inventory, Dresspheres included, which consequentially causes it to explode and vanish from their inventory (although having at least one Hope: A Memoir folio can auto-revive Dresspheres destroyed in this manner, which consumes the mentioned booklet).
There is a limit to how many items, some of but not all of which are stacked, the player can carry at any given time, which forces tough decision-making regarding which gear to keep and which to dispose of, and holding the circle button while walking over an item lets the player see what it is exactly, and if it’s consumable, the player can directly use it from the ground. To advance to the following floor, the player must find a level’s elevator and ascend, with those in multiples of five allowing the player to save their progress. Consumable save memos allow the player to save their progress in any given floor, and it’s definitely wise, particularly if the player doesn’t have at least one manual allowing them to exit the tower with items retained, to make multiple saves.
Every twenty floors is a boss that the player must defeat in order to advance, with floors otherwise with multiples of five having special objectives the player must fulfill in order to unlock their elevators, with these goals likely to drive players to use a guide for an easier experience. It’s although tough to figure out what builds to use without a walkthrough, and the game is at many points dependent upon luck. The inventory limit is irritating as well, although folios entitled Tidying Up can allow players to send items instantly to the base storage facility. Despite these issues, the gameplay is sure to satisfy those looking for a challenge and fans of roguelikes in general.
Given the mentioned issues with needing to use a guide to get a handle on the basic mechanisms, interaction could have definitely been a lot better, and since full exploration of floors can take some time, Last Mission is not the kind of game, unless the player has a surplus of Save Memos, played in tiny chunks.
The story is actually fairly enjoyable, occurring every ten floors and adding nicely to the plot of Final Fantasy X-2, with the high estrogen content largely kept to a minimum, although there are occasional flashbacks to the plot of the game’s narrative predecessors.
The localization is largely flawless aside from the issue in the game’s precursors of lips not matching voices.
The soundtrack is mostly decent aside from some recycled tracks from Last Mission’s prequels, the voice acting largely flawless in spite of the mentioned lip movement problem.
The graphics also look nice, with believable colors, animations, character and enemy proportions, and whatnot, although there are occasional palette-swapped foes.
The game lacks an in-game clock, so playing time is indeterminate, although there is plenty replay value given the different experience each ascent of the tower.
Overall, Last Mission is for the most part an enjoyable roguelike take on the typical Final Fantasy formula, given its solid gameplay that sports elements from the main franchise and other roguelike titles, the solid storytelling segments when the player reaches every tenth floor of the tower, the great localization, the nice music and voicework, the polished visuals, and the unique experience during each attempted ascent of the tower. It does have issues regarding the heavy randomization of floor setups and items spread throughout each level, the sluggishness of battle when facing multiple adversaries, the limited inventory and storage space, some of the recycled plot and musical elements, and the localization issue with lip movement, although those that enjoyed the game’s precursors and don’t mind a roguelike take on Final Fantasy will certainly be in for a treat.
+Enjoyable roguelike gameplay.
+Great music and voicework.
+Different every time.
-Option to speed up some battles would have been welcome.
-Limited inventory and storage.
-A little rehashed plotline.
-Some recycled music.
-Voices don’t always sync with lips.
The Bottom Line:
A fun roguelike take on the Final Fantasy formula.
Platform: PlayStation 4
Game Mechanics: 7/10
Lasting Appeal: 10/10
Difficulty: Depends on build.
Playing Time: No in-game clock.