Game Info:

THE LAST BLADE: Beyond the Destiny
Developed By: SNK
Published By: SNK
Released: October 28, 2020
Available On: Nintendo Switch, and the classic Neo Geo Pocket version that this emulates
Genre: Fighting
ESRB Rating: E10+ for Fantasy Violence, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco
Number of Players: 1-2 local
Price: $7.99


Thank you SNK for sending us this game to review!

When I was younger, I often enjoyed Neo Geo fighting games. I had never played The Last Blade, but what I did see looked fun, and I always enjoyed its cousin, Samurai Shodown. Having purchased several Neo Geo collections, as well as a Neo Geo Mini, it turns out that I already owned some of the series, so after checking them out, I was excited to see what Beyond the Destiny was all about. Boy, was I in for a surprise.

You see, I never knew what a 'Neo Geo Pocket Color' was. I had assumed, given how expensive most anything Neo Geo was, that it was simply a more portable Neo Geo. Of course that turned out to be quite wrong; the Neo Geo Pocket Color has far more in common with a Game Boy Color than a Game Gear, Game Boy Advance, or any other more powerful, full color gaming systems. It has a super low resolution, and most disappointingly, the sound chip is quite basic, perhaps even less powerful than the Game Boy. The CPU is 16-bit, at least.


Strong Points: Good emulation of a classic game; two-player mode is really neat; fighting mechanics are solid
Weak Points: It emulates the Neo Geo Pocket Color, which had graphics, sound, and controls about on par with the Game Boy Color, while the much better looking and playing Neo Geo prequels are available for the same price
Moral Warnings: Fantasy violence, as you beat up your opponents with various weapons, kicks, and magical attacks; use of alcohol and tobacco according to the ESRB



So, this game is a new Switch port/emulated version of the Neo Geo Pocket Color game, also called THE LAST BLADE: Beyond the Destiny. It turns out that it is the third game in the series, and came out after the first two games. It starts with the cast of the original game, with the additional cast of The Last Blade 2 being unlockable through additional play. There are also a couple of mini games that can be unlocked as well.

The game plays reasonably well; despite having only two buttons, for slash and kick, along with character movement of course, it's actually a fairly well designed fighter, with interesting and remarkably deep mechanics. It can certainly be fun to play. It also has a rather unique two player mode, where each player can hold the switch by one side, and each player has their own Joy Con. The screen then shows a tiny version of the original game facing each player. It's really cool!

THE LAST BLADE: Beyond the Destiny
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 60%
Gameplay - 11/20
Graphics - 5/10
Sound - 4/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 89%
Violence – 7.5/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 8/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 9/10

But other than that, the main problem with this game is that it's mostly a novelty. I mean, The Last Blade 1 & 2 are both on Switch eShop, and are arguably much better games, or at least certainly most technically interesting, with much better graphics, and more complex gameplay with more usable buttons, strong/weak attacks, and so on. As a result, it's really hard to recommend this game, unless you've already played the other games to death and you want to see how this one stacks up more as a curiosity than for serious play. Of course if you're a huge Neo Geo Pocket fan, then I'm sure this emulation will work well enough for you.

There is typical fantasy violence, not unlike any common fighting game. Because of the very poor graphics resolution (160x152) there is nothing like blood to be concerned with. There are magical attacks, though. The ESRB notes alcohol and tobacco use, though I didn't catch that in my limited time with the game. I'm guessing it must be present in a background, as I didn't see that related to any of the playable characters.

EDIT: A reader pointed out that the victory pose for Amano includes drinking and smoking.  Thank you!

THE LAST BLADE: Beyond the Destiny is a curious port of a curious game. It's not a bad game, but the way I see it is that, for the same price, you can get the superior Neo Geo prequels. I did a video where I compare them and give my impressions, so feel free to refer to that. It's honestly really hard for me to recommend this game to anyone but the most die-hard fans. But if you've already played the superior prequels, and you're looking for something a bit different? Sure - I'd say it's a quality port of a quirky, but otherwise quality game.

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Jason Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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