RPG Index: Single player Role Playing Games

Friday, 19 April 2013

The Last Remnant second review

After moseying about and giving a short review, I've decided to give a detailed final analysis on the Last Remnant. As a JRPG it breaks ground through several approaches, but at heart it still retains the watery consistency for the masses. It's too easy to pick up and lacks diversity and customization in many ways. However, despite the many flaws you can observe within an hour of starting the Last Remnant, it's still a great game at heart. If you're looking for a game to put on the backburner in between more titanic titles or just something you can play when tired or lazy, this is certainly the game for you. Definitely worthy of time killer status.

Rush fighting the Conqueror, his rival.

Genre: Adventure, JRPG
Release Date: 20th November, 2008
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360
Score: 7/10
Similar Titles: Final Fantasy, Breath of Fire, Grandia

The battles look complicated but you'll pick it up in seconds.

Rush Sykes is a young and naive brother, living on the quiet island Eulam with his sister Irina. Their parents are famous Remnant researchers, who moved to an academy on the mainland to work. Unfortunately, during their parents absence, Irinia is kidnapped by a hooded stranger. Rush is unable to protect her by himself, so he can do nothing but try to follow her. Shortly after reaching the mainland, Rush walks into a battle between two armies. Caught in the crossfire, Rush's amulet saves his life. He meets the leader of the victorious side, David Nassau. David is the Marquis of Athlum, he offers to help Rush on his quest to save his sister, mainly because of his famous parents. Thus Rush joins the army of Athlum, to find and rescue Irina.

Some bosses are just bigger versions of normal enemies.

The world of the Last Remnant is essentially medieval earth with a couple of exceptions. Remnants are pieces left behind by an ancient civilization, objects that need to be bound by a person. If a Remnant isn't bound, it can collapse and cause great calamity, summoning monsters and such. Throughout the game you will see many Remnants; varying from something as simple as a treasure chest to a gigantic sword taller than the city it resides in. Almost everyone uses Remnants, they have many uses for everyday life and protection from monsters.

Some areas look pretty amazing.

As expected of Square-Enix, the world is heartily designed with many fictional races and scenic locations. The graphics are great, but held back by the Xbox 360's limitations. I cut my playthrough on the console short because the FPS was jarring in battle and the load screens were annoying. On the PC, none of these issues are even present. Turbo Mode is available for people who are bored of watching long battles, along with dozens of other fixes and improvements. After playing both versions, I think the Xbox edition of the Last Remnant is unpolished and unfinished. In other words, if you have a choice play it on the PC, because the console edition is woefully inadequate in comparison.

When Square-Enix throw out the high definition it looks unbelievable.

Although the storyline is pretty solid, with a couple of good twists and some endearing characters; I don't like how childish it is. Some of the dialogue seems like it's been written by someone still in school. At the beginning of the game, when Rush meets Lord David he immediately takes to calling him Dave. It's a nice sentiment, but the way it's done is completely over the top, and since he takes to calling him Dave every 10 seconds it's a frequent annoyance. I know this isn't a prime example to convey my point, but what I'm trying to point out is the dialogue lacks subtlety and complexity. Because of this, the plot isn't very interesting to watch. There were many cutscenes that I barely paid attention to, because they started to get boring. With such a fantastic world design and so many races and characters, the inconsistencies in the story doesn't cripple the game.

Upgrading gear is done via craftsman, but it takes a long time to find the parts.

Combat in the Last Remnant is probably the games strongest selling point. Battles are performed with unions, so instead of selecting a move for an individual party member, each choice will dictate action for 5 people in your army. By the end, you'll be entering fights with up to 18 soldiers under your command. It can get pretty hectic on the battlefield, because most of the time you will be fighting against enemies with more unions. There is a degree of strategy involved in winning, when you engage a unit you go into deadlock. Once deadlock is achieved, you can't break it without taking damage. It's also possible to flank a deadlocked union for extra damage without retaliation. With a few other nuances and variables to take into account, the game can be quite tactical. When you win your party members will sometimes gain stat upgrades or new techniques.

This boss was actually rather difficult.

Managing over a dozen troops is actually quite fun, as you complete quests and progress through the game you can obtain special soldiers for your party. One big letdown is you can only change Rush's gear, the rest of the party upgrades it by themselves. Each party member learns new spells and abilities depending on what they use in battle. Incidentally, whichever abilities you use the most will affect an individuals class. For example, if one of your party members is constantly using magic and attacking with a sword, you will turn into a Mystic Knight. When you get down to it, there are countless variables that you can use to increase your odds in battle. Using herbs to restore your party in battle requires you to have the right herbs in your inventory, and if you want to use bombs the same rule applies.

Rush and Lord David Nassau become fast friends.

The world map is the interface you will use to access everywhere in the game. Typically you will rotate between dungeons and town for the whole playthrough. There are many cities in the Last Remnant, and each of them play a part in the game. Typically you will visit a city for story purposes and to buy supplies. Some of the best weapons and accessories in the Last Remnant have to be crafted, so I spent a lot of my time scourging through each shop searching for parts. Aside from shopping, each settlement has a pub and a guild. If you want a side quest, visit the pub. The guild can be used to gain rewards for meeting certain requirements, and recruiting new party members. Ultimately, when you visit a city you'll be charging through the shops and the pub for new stuff and then going back to dungeons.

Most of the cutscenes are pretty bland.

I was genuinely surprised at the abundance of dungeons in the Last Remnant. They are all over the map, it's actually hard to keep up with them. Dungeons are filled with monsters, and the occasional trap or treasure. Some of them have simple yet tedious puzzles, but the hardest part is navigation. Before you obtain a dungeon map, the only way you can navigate an area is with a good memory. Rush runs at a snail pace, so if you have to backtrack to find the right path it can be very frustrating. Coming into contact with a monster will start a battle in their favor. However, Rush has an ability called Timeshift that allows him to slow down time and activate a battle to your advantage. Whilst in Timeshift you can tag together as many enemies as you can come into contact with. Beating more opponents in a single attempt increases your battle level and the loot you obtain, so in some cases it's worth tagging 5-10 monsters together. I enjoyed the dungeon experience in the Last Remnant more than other games, because it had more depth than I'm used to. However, it was stupid having to backtrack through the same area several times to find parts or finish a quest.

Some battles you just can't win. Especially when you're losing on morale.

Personally I enjoyed my playthrough of the Last Remnant, because I only played it when I wanted something simple and mindless. I tried to load it up a few times when I was wide awake, and I barely made it past the load screen. Everything is really slow to complete, from the length of battles to the time it takes to search all the shops in town. Once you figure out how to put turbo mode on and double the battle speed, you'll never take it off. It's a good thing you can save anywhere and everywhere, it makes it easy to drop in and out when you get bored.

The Last Remnant is an above average JRPG heading in the right direction, just not far enough. It has great combat, a unique world and so many other aspects that make it an admirable title. On the other hand, there's places where the game needs improvements. The story needs to be more interesting. Every enemy you kill drops components, which will stack up in your inventory with practically no use. There's no customization whatsoever. Not only that, it's really easy. The game practically plays itself for you sometimes.

It's good that Square-Enix ported this title to the PC, because if it was purely on console I would of given it a much harsher review. As it stands, there is a massive void in the JRPG market for computers. The Last Remnant is a welcome addition for that very reason. If you want to buy it for your Xbox 360, buy it cheap or not at all.

Check out the top 5 PC turn-based RPGs here!

Other articles on the Last Remnant:

The Last Remnant is often underlooked
Battle ranks and Battle links
Last Remnant wallpapers
Original review

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