The Last Blade 2 is a remake of the original 2D fighting game from 1998. This new version also brings a few additional elements like six new characters. The game still looks like an old school brawler, with a heavy focus on combo streaks and strategic fighting.
The game comes from SNK Playmore and they are known for their classic arcade style fighting games. When the game starts you watch an animated cutscene that looks like a visual comic book, with tonnes of personality and flair. You then load up the main menu, where you then choose what modes to try out. Normal Mode includes the story portion of the game, Time Attack and Versus. There’s also multiplayer mode, which is the online feature, training, gallery and other options. I have never been a massive player of fighting games, but I do remember playing the original Street Fighter, Tekken and more recently the very popular Mortal Kombat game. Like most fighting games, The Last Blade 2 uses a familiar structure to the controls, with a weak attack, Slash, Strong Slash, Kick, and Repel. Repel (or parry) is hugely beneficial as it allows you to stagger the opponent before moving in for another attack.
The game takes place in 1863 during the Baku Matsu. The Tokugawa shogunate saw the clash of factions within an ancient society. The story is actually fairly deep and explores the ideas behind the origins of death itself. The world is now linked to the underworld via a portal. Now the portal must be closed, but it wont be done easily as beings from the underworld are trying to stop this from happening as they wish to return to the upper world. The story is there if you wish to experience it, but its not forced upon you. The story is actually very compelling and I enjoyed having some kind of reason for the fighting. Each character has their own unique background and story and their reasons for taking part in the action. Each character plays through the game with different narrative developments and outcomes, giving reason to play each character.
The game as a whole seems to have a huge degree of care, style and imagination when it comes to its characters and world building. The fighting is fast paced and the mechanics are surprisingly deep for a game that looks fairly simple at first glance. If you have ever played any fighting games, you will understand that the basic idea is to reduce the opponent’s health meter down until you’re victorious. This is done so by performing combinations of strong and weak attacks, along with well timed repels to stagger enemies. You can also guard when opponents are bombarding you with a flurry of powerful attacks. You can also perform jumping attacks, to crash down on enemies, or even use powerful attacks to beat down their health bar.
The game has 16 characters, which all have different playstyles and unique traits. There are sword based characters, as well as fighters like Kung-Fu masters and grapplers. Whoever you choose to play as, there are three modes you can choose to play your character (plus a hidden style). These are: Power, speed and extreme. It certainly takes some time trying out combinations of characters and various styles but that’s the joy of a game like this. I tended to go for speed, as I like to be quick during fights and land the first strike. The combat here feels great and the variation of attacks, defense moves and playstyles mean that the game always feels fresh and interesting every time you play. I still haven’t decided who my favourite fighter is and that to me is a good sign that the game wants you to experiment with many different types of fighters.
The presentation of the game is great and I always love getting to replay games from previous generations. The style of The Last Blade 2 is great and I loved the opening cinematic screens before each fight. The characters are wonderfully designed, all with unique styles and vibrant colours. Fighting games of years gone by all have a real sense of purposeful design, whether its quirky street fighter characters or the gore filled Mortal Kombat games and The Last Blade has an awesome visual presentation that I enjoyed watching and playing. I also want to mention how great the backdrops in the game look. They are varied and often have wonderfully animated characters in the background. The game also ran really well on PS4, which is very important when it comes to games that require precise movement. The sound design also matches the fantastic visuals. The sound effects are perfectly timed with the actions you perform and help add the the immersive worlds you’re fighting in. The characters all sound different and use different weapons which create unique sounds. The music is also very enjoyable, with uplifting orchestral tracks.
This is a fighting game that not only looks great but also has a lot of depth to the combat. Fighting games have certainly come along way since classic titles from the 80’s and 90’s, with extremely fast gameplay and slick 3D visuals. The Last Blade 2 does now feel slower than other modern fighting games, but that’s not to say it’s a bad game. The six new characters add more to the game and I really enjoyed the strategic side to the fighting, mainly timing counter attacks. I would certainly recommend this game if you’re a fan of fighting games or you like a game that requires strategic movement and precise technical battles.
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