The Last Blade is set in 1863 during the
Bakumatsu, the final years of the Tokugawa shogunate where a clash of
ideologies were fighting to decide Japan's new society. Long before humanity existed, in a
far off time of myth, death was an unknown, equally distant concept, but when
death first came to the world, the "Messenger from Afar" was born. With time, the Sealing Rite was held in order to
seal Death behind Hell's Gate. At that time, two worlds, one near and one far,
were born. Thus the history of life and death began.
Half a year has passed since Suzaku's madness,
and the underworld is still linked by a great portal. Kagami's great sin is
still heard as if ringing from the heavens. Our world has been called upon.
Legends of long ago told of the sealing of the boundary between the two worlds.
The Sealing Rite would be necessary to hold back the spirits of that far away
world. However, the Sealing Rite brings
together the power of the Four Gods and Sealing Maiden, for the first time
properly completing the ritual. To find the Sealing Maiden, Genbu began
searching in the center of the world, from which all things begin. At the same
time in the underworld, in the depths of darkness, many spirits conspired,
plotting to hinder the Sealing Rite. They had but one wish, to be reborn into
It's a battle of Power VS
Set one year after the first installment, Last Blade 2 adds three new playable characters:
Hibiki, Kojiroh, and Setsuna. Each of the newcomers retain the
"traditional" samurai style that the original Last Blade roster became
known for... although, Setsuna almost looks a bit King of Fighters-inspired
(and he's a badass). Last Blade 2's presentation doesn't disappoint, as
it includes a brand new
animated intro and all new superb-looking hand drawn backgrounds. Of course, game
and character balance has also been tweaked from the original.
Looking for a gorgeous,
traditional 2D weapon based fighter? Look no further...
Graphically, Last Blade 2 stands out among 2D fighters
of the time... even more so than the first game. There's never a moment where Last
Blade 2 doesn't look impressive.
Before a battle starts, each stage presents a short cinematic intro... setting
the "mood" of the stage. Once the action starts, the detailed character sprites and amazing hand-drawn backgrounds
do the talking, filling the screen
with color and personality. Needless to say, Last Blade 2 is one of SNK's best-looking 2D
fighting games to date.
The orchestral style soundtrack naturally suits the game perfectly, but I'd say
some tracks are slightly too "calm" for a fighting game. The sound
effects are fantastic, with the distinguishing clanging of swords, steel cutting through
flesh, and powerful dialogue & battle cries from the characters themselves.
It all comes together exceptionally well, offering a unique presentation all
around. Of course, a fighting game can't survive on looks alone... but if one
could, Last Blade 2 would live a long life.
Out of the way brat.
Thankfully, Last Blade 2 is still a fun and interesting 2D fighter. Like
the prequel, the gameplay is based heavily on chain combos and setting up powerful
attacks. Players can still choose between "Speed" or "Power" versions of their
characters, which greatly alters how a they play, right down to their
Speed Mode opens up the door
to longer combo possibilities (and custom combos), while Power Mode is a more traditional and straight forward
style of 2D fighting, enabling characters to perform super moves. The counter/parry system
also returns and feels more solid than before. LB2's character variety is
still decent, but I'd consider it a step down from the likes of Samurai
Shodown series in terms of personality and interesting playstyles. LB2's roster
also isn't the most balanced one around, as there are some "cheap" tricks/combos
that can be used for easy victories, but overall... LB2 offers a solid 2D gameplay engine.
At Playstation Experience 2015, Playstation 4 and PS Vita ports of Last Blade
2 were announced. The only detail so far is that Online Versus Mode has been
confirmed for the ports! Stay tuned for further details.
NeoGeo, NeoGeo CD, Dreamcast, PS2, PS4, Vita, Windows
You might say
Last Blade 2 was a "sleeper hit" by SNK, if there ever was one.
Last Blade's traditional warriors seem a bit more fleshed out this time
around, but aren't the most exciting fighting game characters I've ever used (in
1998, that is).
Andthe gameplay, as technical as it
is, still leaves something to be desired. As a Samurai Shodown fan, I
can't help but directly compare LB2 the epicness of Samurai Showdown
2, or the beautifully fun Samurai Shodown 4 (released 2 years prior
to LB2). As a matter
of fact, it's hard not to think "Damn, I wish I could pick
Genjuro." and/or "Why can't I kill my opponent," when
playing Last Blade 2... but that's just me.On
that note, a Samurai Shodown VSLast Blade crossover really should've happened.
Don't get me wrong, Last Blade 2 is a beautiful game and it's even worth
getting good at... but, I don't find it to be as fun or as solid as other 2D
fighters fromthe era. I put a few hundred competitive matches into LB2, but as
far as 2D weapon-based combat goes, I strongly prefer the characters and the gameplay of Samurai Shodown series
over Last Blade's.
Regardless, Last Blade 2 is a must-play SNK fighter, and if you enjoy
traditional sword-based characters & combat, you may fall in love with the
game. LB2 is a respectable and very polished 2D fighting game... and
pound for pound, one of SNK's all time best.