What Is It?
At E3 this week, Nintendo was quick to remind consumers that the Wii was six years old. This means that for the last six years (approximately 300 weeks) Nintendo has somehow avoided releasing Last Blade for the Virtual Console. In those six years, SNK has uploaded thirty different Neo Geo games, including some of their worst games. And finally, after exhausting all of the biggest hits, we've finally been given the one game most of us have been waiting for: The Last Blade!
At first glance this may look a lot like Samurai Shodown. Admittedly there are similarities and it is fair to say that The Last Blade is a 'spiritual' successor to Samurai Showdown, but it's best to view them as separate entities, otherwise things will get very confusing. The Last Blade is set around the end of the 19th century in Japan, often called the 'Bakumatsu' period, which is better known for the Western invasion of the East and the introduction of guns to a society accustomed to the use of swords for warfare. You know, like in the title 'The Last Blade'. Who said video games weren't educational?
Each character has a choice of two modes, power and speed. Unlike Samurai Showdown's evil/good variations, power and speed modes are all that they pretend to be - one offers better speed and combo opportunities while the other increases the player's power and special move abilities. This is nothing revolutionary, but does offer two distinct fighting styles for the player to experiment with, which obviously increases depth. The characters are amongst the best in SNK's already rich repertoire, the animation and backgrounds are second to none and the gameplay is unique and has unparalleled depth.
Does It Still Hold Up?
The Last Blade is one of SNK's best looking games. Forget The King of Fighters, I would love to see a brand new entry in The Last Blade full of redrawn HD characters and mind blowing animation. But until we get that, we'll have to make do with this fantastic looking Virtual Console release. The gameplay feels good on the Wii's classic controller, though it would have been nice to have an option for online multiplayer. Not only does The Last Blade hold up, but it's easily one of SNK's best games.
Is It Worth The Money?
After fizzling out towards the end of 2011, the Wii Virtual Console has managed to bounce back with a string of good games. The Last Blade gives me hope that SNK isn't done supporting the Virtual Console, because there are still plenty of must-own Neo Geo games that have yet to be ported to any platform (I'm looking at you, WindJammers). Even if the one-on-one fighting genre has grown stale with the releases of The King of Fighters '97 and Super Street Fighter II, you owe it to yourself to check out one of SNK's very best games. Now bring on The Last Blade II with full online support.
After fizzling out towards the end of 2011, the Wii Virtual Console has managed to bounce back with a string of good games. The Last Blade gives me hope that SNK isn't done supporting the Virtual Console, because there are still plenty of must-own Neo Geo games that have yet to be ported to any platform (I'm looking at you, WindJammers). Now bring on The Last Blade II with full online support!
This product was submitted by the publisher for review. As a rule, Defunct Games does not review games we spent money on. However, that does not always apply to classic/retro games. This specific product, however, came straight from a PR guy for the purposes of being reviewed!