Saturday, May 16, 2009

Nerd Life Buried Treasure: The Last Remnant

The Last Remnant is a Square-Enix developed RPG released for the XBox 360 last November. It was also recently released on PC.

Wait. 6 months? THAT'S a buried treasure?

Yup. Seeing as this game can currently be found in bargain bins everywhere it sure is. It will probably be hard to find in the near future. As with many non-major franchises releasing in the Fall, this game sold like crap. A coworker recommended that I try it out, so I picked up my copy for 25 bucks brand new. I expected a decent bit of fun, well worth the cost.

I was surprised. Shocked, even. This game would have been worth buying at full price.

So, why did I wait? Well, i have a limited gaming budget and that money was going to Fallout 3 and Wrath of the Lich King at the time.

Now, many other people did not purchase it for a more sinister reason. The game received widely awful reviews. Some major news sources (*cough*GameInformer*cough*) passed it off without ever giving it a chance. The battle system must suck since they never took the time to learn it.

Admittedly, the graphics were a horrible, glitchy mess. So, it deserved a mediocre score. However, saying the core of the game is not worth time because you didn't GIVE it any is a mistake. This was not isolated to any single source.

Those graphical issues have since been "solved." The PC version runs fine. With the New XBox Experience, you can install the game to your hard drive. This cuts down the loading times immensely. It also relieves most, if not all of the glitches. Now, that doesn't excuse the poor design, but it allows many of us to play a wonderful game we would have otherwise missed.

Now, allow me a minute to break down the small stuff:
The graphics are fine. Nothing mindblowing, but, much like Too Human, there's so much going on at once on screen that the overall effect is very nice.
Music is ok. Again, nothing special.
Sound effects are functional.
The voice acting is SUPERB. However, the battle speeches get repetitive after a while.
The story is serviceable. Not bad, but not Final Fantasy quality, either. It serves to flow the real meat of the game: The character and combat systems.

Your main character, Rush, is the only one you really need to take care of. He's the only one you have to equip. He's the only one you have to synthesize gear for. He's the only one whose skills you need to manage.

The other 17 (17!) active characters will all take care of themselves. When you pick up loot they can use, they'll ask for it. When they accumulate the proper items, they'll upgrade their own gear. When they level up, they'll pick which skills to learn. Your Generals will occasionally ask you how they should manage themselves, but aside from a few quick choices, it's all out of your hands. Now, I love character building as much as the next guy, but there's no way I would want to micromanage 18 frakking guys.

Combat is a blast. Instead of issuing 18 individual orders, you place your characters in up to 5 "Unions." Then, you issue command to each Union. It's all very streamlined. Tell them to attack, everyone will attack. Tell them to use magic, and those that can, will. Others will simply melee attack. Need healing? When you do, that option will come up. Fantastically brilliant. You can pick from many different formations, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

I spend a great deal of time testing out different Union combinations and formations, trying to get the most out of the system. Of course, major fights sometimes require their own unique strategies. It's all JUST difficult enough to keep you on your toes, but simple enough that you don't mind working with it. Yes, there's a learning curve, but the game builds you up slowly. You don't start with 18 people at the start, but slowly build up to an army.

My final verdict: If you enjoy RPGs heavy on strategy without becoming full STRATEGY games, you'll probably like The Last Remnant. If you can find it for a good price (and have space on your XBox hard drive) I definitely recommend picking it up. I've currently played for close to 50 hours, running around doing sidequests and building up my team, and I haven't even reached the second disk!



About Me

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A part-time player trying to exist in a full-time world. Guild Master of Denarian on the Azjol-Nerub server.


Image courtesy of Nexodyne

Current Goals

  • Haddar - Level 80
  • Tarmr - HERBS!
  • Samodean - Wyrmrest Accord Exalted
  • Samodean - Finish Northrend Quests


  • Watching - Primeval
  • Playing - Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood (DS)
  • Watching - Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
  • Playing - The Last Remnant (360)
  • Playing - Persona 4 (PS2)


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