Review by Macintosh User

Reviewed: 06/22/04

The Sequel to a Perfect Game... The Last Blade 2 is Here...

Being the first person to write a review for a game should not be easy. So I'm sure this undertaking should be difficult. It will. The Last Blade 2 is one of the best fighting games in existence, and I should know, I have been playing it for six years now. To follow up on a perfect game, the folks at SNK had themselves quite a task. The Last Blade, was an outstanding game. The Last Blade 2, is in my opinion, even better. How can you possibly improve upon something perfect? Add more fighters, and make it so that these fighters are of varying degrees of strength, some are weak, some are strong. Why would you put so many fighters with different weaknesses and strengths into one game? To give the player a plethora of choices. Do you want to breeze through the game, or do you want to challenge yourself to the max? Let it be known that some characters may be too good... but only because they (SNK) are being realistic... in real life some people just whoop up on others, in effect, The Last Blade 2 brings this theory to light and plays off of it. This game weighs in at 554 megs, an astounding number, a large amount of memory allocated to detail, detail, and more detail. This game is absurdly gorgeous. The animation is top-notch. The characters range from small to huge, and they each have their own unique fighting style. This game combines the brutality of martial arts and samurai's with the elegance of distinct variety... the stages are some of the best in existence, the backgrounds are like paintings come to life. The characters themselves are highly detailed and very well drawn. Be prepared for a revelation in 2D gaming. This game takes excellence to a whole new level.

(gameplay - 10)
This game has characters that are suitable to all kinds of gamers. Some are best when buttons are mashed, others are cool, collected, and require well-timed strikes to finish off their opponents. The controls are awesome, with two slash moves, a kick, and counter button. Watch yourself become a crafty player as you find the character that suits your personal needs. Once again two modes of play have been included, Speed and Power. Speed relies heavily on combos, while Power inflicts massive amounts of damage to the opponent. Most novices will be best suited by power, while speed is for the skilled veterans. You have access to Double Supers and Super Desperaiton Moves, that when pulled off appropriately can make all the difference in a fight. Whether you are a combo freak or a power player, this game has you covered. This game really can be played by newbies and veterans alike. The specials, blocks, and super moves are all easily accessible once you become familiar with the 4-button layout. Really this game has some unbalanced strength issues, but this works well as it really proves to be highly realistic. I find that it makes this game more enjoyable when you complete it with a 'weaker' character. You'll feel like you've really accomplished something this way.

(story - 10)
Once again this game takes place in Japan, in another century. The warriors have gathered to fight the good fight, to see who comes out on top and can challenge the evil force at the end. The story is good, and it really adds some life to this game. Breathing life into a game is most easily done through the plot, and SNK obviously has realized this.

(graphics - 10, sound - 10)
The graphics may be the best ever seen on the Neo-Geo platform. The characters are brutal killers, and they are animated so well. Plenty of eye candy resides in this game in the form of special and super attacks, the backgrounds are awesome, watch the playing field as it scrolls, as it changes, watch as the framerate never drops, even when the zoom effect is in use. This game has some of the best attention to detail I have ever come across. The images are top-notch, and SNK once again has driven the Neo to uncharted territories. The colorful backgrounds really set the tone for the action, and the movements of the characters are super-smooth. Fluid animation is evident everywhere, as this game is as breathtaking as it is fun. The fighters are unique and really have a special flavor to them. The soundtrack is just as good, with perhaps the best soundtrack ever on a Neo game. Everything has a sound effect, all the movements are audibly heard, and recognized through sound. The music is very well orchestrated, and the howling wind and flying leaves even have a personality through the art of sound imagery. Sometimes this game can be isolated from catchy tunes, instead focusing on the fighters and their task at hand. Very nice. Just goes to show that music doesn't always have to carry the game. Sometimes the lack thereof is enough to give a person goosebumps.

(replayability - 10)
Who wouldn't want to enjoy this game over and over again. The game is pure joy and is graphically superior to any other Neo game on the market. The soundtrack rocks, and the gameplay is solid. Mastering these fighters will take time and patience, which only adds to the replay value.

(recommendations)
Buy this game for your collection. Play it after you have beaten the first. Then compare this work of art to a classic masterpiece (the original game). You'll see that perfecting upon perfection is indeed possible. SNK has made it that way. This game is available for both the Neo-Geo and the Sega Dreamcast, and both versions are worth owning. This game just really goes to show that 2D fighting games can be very deep, beautiful, and breathtaking all at the same time. The Last Blade 2 had to be this good to compare to the original favorably... and The Last Blade 2 did it. It has become a mainstay in my gaming library, and should be a part of any true fighting fans collection. The Last Blade 2 is a top-notch quality game that is pure SNK gold. It is worth every penny that it costs you. This game may be enough, strike that, this game is enough to turn you into a Neo fan. It is that good. If you found the Neo-Geo to be a bit too strange for you, or perhaps a bit too conventional, give this game a try, it will make you a believer that SNK can work magic and that the Neo-Geo deserves all the accolades and praise it has ever received. The Neo-Geo Advanced Entertainment System has some spectacular games, and The Last Blade 2 is one of the best. It could very well be the most underrated game of all time.

Rating: 10

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