I like to use The Last Remnant as an example that Square Enix really can make a good, original game if they just don’t cling to something that Square or Squaresoft made. I like to use it as an example to say that Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts should be just put to bed before they become even worse.
While I really could just make this review a huge rant about Square Enix, I won’t.
The Last Remnant is a RPG developed and published by Square Enix, released on the Xbox 360, PC and there were plans for a PS3 version, but it was cancelled. Despite being cancelled it’s still up on Square’s site as ‘up and coming’ I still hold high hopes for a Sequel to come out, The Last Remnant 2 would be a fantastic game if they just worked out the kinks of the first game, which I’ll get into now.
The first thing you’ll notice when playing The Last Remnant is that the textures sometimes take a little while to load when you first enter an area. This isn’t a huge problem but it isn’t exactly easy on the eyes. This is even worse on the 360 version of the game. Everything’s worse on the 360 version of the game, actually.
Another weird graphical thing the game does is that when you end a quest you’ll be teleported to the person who gave you the quest. When this happens the main character’s cape-thing tends to clip through his body and start wriggling around, this happens often with other things.
These flaws are minor but they’re still very noticeable, kind of like having a really nice looking cake with a huge fly sitting on top of it. Well, two big flies.
The thing you’ll notice after the minor graphical hiccups is the fantastic music. Composers Tsuyoshi Sekito and Yasuhiro Yamanaka really outdid themselves with the soundtrack, especially the battle themes. One thing I love about the battle themes is that they change depending on your army’s morale. If morale is low the music will be tense, if your morale is high the music will be triumphant. It’s the little details that go a long way.
While the music is fantastic the voice acting is rather sub par, most of the main characters are pretty good; it’s the optional characters that are a bit of a let down. One character in particular that I’ll use as an example is Darien, who’s a rather squeaky voiced Qisti. He only speaks during battles but when he does it’s rather grating to hear him squeal ‘I MEANT TO DO THAT!’ when he hits something. Another good example is the character ‘Loki’ who screams ‘NO, GIVE ME THE OTHER ONE! THE OTHER ONE!’ whenever any of his stats go up in level. Darien and Loki are really the only two examples I can think of the voice acting being bad, everything else is pretty good.
The biggest part of The Last Remnant is obviously the battles. The game introduces a completely new Battle System where options are picked for you depending on which skills your characters have and how much AP you have. This may sound rather scary but there are always reliable options like simply ‘Attack’ which will attack without using AP and ‘Stay on your Toes’ which will keep your union back, not engaging in combat. There are variations of this command, such as attacking only when you’re attacked and healing anyone that’s injured at the end of the turn.
The battle system is new and interesting, but it has a lot of flaws.
A lot of flaws.
One of the biggest examples I can think of is when your HP is dangerously low and there’s no option to stay in the battle while healing, the only option is break from your Deadlock and heal, which will probably lead to a Raidlock (Meaning you take much more damage than normal). Another example is obviously your characters not using the Combat Arts or Mystic Arts that you want them to, sometimes the option to lower the enemy morale won’t be there when you need it. The battle system takes time to get used to, especially considering how easy it is to die later in the game.
Speaking of how easy it is to die: the game is incredibly unbalanced. At the start the difficulty is normal, gradually increasing as you progress further, but when you get to the second part of the game (Or disc 2 if you’re on the non-steam version) the difficulty is suddenly amped right up. Bosses will just kill you with their high level magic attacks that attack your entire army on the very first turn, or use special abilities that allow them to attack 5 times in a row. It’s incredibly frustrating to wittle a boss down to danger levels just to be killed by their over powered attacks.
What’s the solution to dying to easily? To level up, of course! The Last Remnant approaches leveling quite differently to other RPGs. Your characters abilities will increase as you kill enemies, but there’s no actual individual ‘level’ for a character. The closest thing to this is your Battle Rank, which is like the level of your whole army, rather than just one character. The system is interesting, if not a little confusing at first. It’s incredibly satisfying to kill a huge enemy and then see practically all of your stats increase, and to see your special attacks level up.
The Last Remnant is also filled to the brim with side quests, which can unlock more powerful characters, equipment or items that allow the main character to learn new abilities. Disc 1 has so many interesting Side Quests that will keep you entertained for hours. Disc 2 on the other hand is sadly incredibly lacking in the side quest department. To make up for this, Disc 2 has hidden super bosses, hidden super equipment, hidden super areas, hidden super characters… are they all really that super and hidden? Why yes, yes they are.
The Last Remnant is the kind of game that you’ll keep coming back to, just to see what you missed. On your first play through you’re definitely going to miss alot of the game’s content, unless you keep a full walk through handy at all times. TLR’s replay value is incredibly high, with all the aforementioned content you’ll be coming back for more and more.