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The Last Hero Of Nostalgaia Review

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Trying to get into the Soulsborne genre is daunting. With titans like Elden Ring, Bloodborne and Dark Souls beloved by many, renowned for their difficulty and steeped in an entire tome of knowledge, knowing how and where to start isn’t easy. I should know, I tried every one of them and never managed to complete Sekiro.


I’ve been on a long journey to find my Soul(sborne) Mate, and wouldn’t you know, here’s The Last Hero of Nostalgia flashing his Keyblade-inspired weapon and towering Master Chief armor with a big, welcoming smile on his face. As someone with some reputation as an IP lover (although lover is usually replaced by a harsher word), I couldn’t help but feel that Nostalgaia was the new introduction to the genre I was asking for. .

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Nostalgaia’s Last Hero plays like a slightly simpler Dark Souls, but also takes place in a much more interesting and light world with tons of references and respect to the game world. It stumbles in some areas and brings some of the issues of the genre, but it manages to be something newcomers and diehards alike will love.

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The Last Hero of Nostalgaia sees you playing as a stickman sent to the corrupt land of Nostalgaia, described as the “world of video games”, which essentially resembles Game Central Station from Wreck-It Ralph but if everything inside was a bootleg. Instead of the Dagger of Time from Prince of Persia, you’ll find the Dagger of Cycles, and instead of the Isaac Clarke armor from Dead Space, there’s the Forgottenspace set.

The bootleg vibe combined with the low-poly visuals creates an extremely charming experience where the nods and winks go quite far. Of course, there are references to Resident Evil and Final Fantasy, but there are also more surprising ones like Ducktales and Golden Axe. Running around as Hotline Miami’s chicken wielding Sephiroth’s sword makes for a fairly challenging game just a bit funnier and ironic, and finding all the Easter Eggs is a great incentive to explore.

At first it might seem like these references are only surface level, but they actually serve a deeper purpose, as most weapons aren’t at full power when you find them and need to be restored by reading knowledge and knowledge of the universe. then find a specific location in the game. At some point, you can even completely remove memories to make the weapon instantly more powerful, but remove its knowledge and special abilities from the world forever.

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It’s a unique mechanic that sets Nostalgaia apart from other Soulsbornes and cleverly turns those easter eggs and nods into something more substantial. Choosing to put in the effort and remember a weapon rather than just quickly powering it up and stripping away what makes it special also ties into lore and the key theme of the difference between remembering with love of something and obsession. Nostalgaia is pretty light on the story overall, but this theme pops up all over the world and encounters characters, and it’s an interesting mirror for the player, especially since he’s happily running around with a bunch of gaming inspired tattoos.

What doesn’t set Nostalgaia apart is the way it plays, and that’s not really a bad thing. When I say Nostalgaia is a Soulslike, it might as well be a side project from FromSoft itself. Beyond memorizing weapons, Nostalgaia plays like the early Dark Souls games where the world was smaller and interconnected(?), there was no dedicated jump button, and parrying was key. It’s not quite on the same level thanks to less polish and less punchy attacks across the board, but it’s a Souls game through and through.

It also means that Nostalgaia brings some of the genre’s most annoying quirks. Not explaining mechanics in depth, being unable to pause, and being inundated with locked doors you’ll eventually figure out how to open are just some of the things that are brought in, and if you don’t like it there , then you probably won’t like it here, whether you’re dressed as Master Chief or not.

Given the tongue-in-cheek tone and the potential to go anywhere in the “world of video games,” one element of Nostalgaia that is a bummer is the places you visit. There are a few highlights, like a dark forest that you need to light the way with crystals, but way too many areas are just dark and boring, like the initial opening village and the deep mine system that turns up. then. The world-building in these areas is interesting and full of jokes, but it’s a shame it doesn’t work as much with its unique tone when it comes to these locations. Backtracking can also be a pain, especially without a proper fast travel mechanic.

Although Nostalgaia has a few flaws that put it below the games it tries to replicate, the fact that it manages to come a little closer is a feat in itself. Whether you’re an IP enthusiast like me who’s happy to see a ton of love for the game, someone looking to get into the Soulsborne genre, or a FromSoft veteran looking for something new, there’s something in Nostalgaia for everyone.

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Nostalgaia’s Last Hero is available on Xbox One, Xbox Series, and PC. We tested the Xbox Series X version for this review. The review code was provided by the publisher.

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