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Mar 18, 2009

Review: The Last Remnant

The Last Remnant
Available for Xbox 360, PC, Playstation 3

Maybe I’m just to set in my ways, but when game companies start messing with the battle systems in my role-playing games, I tend to lose my enthusiasm when new games are released. When Square-Enix released The Last Remnant with a complete new battle system, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to learn to whole new system especially when they had so many other good rpgs on the market that stuck to the basic turn-based system, but they say you should learn something new everyday, so I dove in head first.

The Last Remnant follows the story of Rush Sykes and his kidnapped sister Irina. Within the first 15 minutes Rush sees his sister spirited away by a mysterious monster, in the middle of a battlefield. What follows is an epic adventure that sees Rush becoming friends with a huge cast of characters consisting mainly of a young Lord named David (pronounced Daveed) and his four generals. David, his kingdom, the fate of Rush, a sinister figure known as the Conqueror and the entire world of The Last Remnant slowly unfold into a political epic so complex that rivals Final Fantasy XII.

At first the battle system seems pretty simple enough when the game throws you into your first enemy fight within the first two minutes of game play, but as the game proceeds you must learn to adapt and learn new systems quickly as the game will throw in new elements constantly. Even when you think you understand how to play through battles, the game will remove your friends and force you to seek out new companions to create new battle groups which isn’t explained well.

Players must form battle groups which can include up to five characters. You will provide commands your 5 members each round, but the commands aren’t normal like cast heal, instead you must provide commands like “Go All Out” or “Keep Up HP” which draw from either mystic or combat arts. Your group also shares all health points and ability points, so your group lives, grows and dies together.

The load times in this game were lengthy and frequent which when you’re trying to making your way through a long storyline scenes and various battle locations, all those load times can get pretty annoying after a while. Sometimes you were seeing that load screen every 2 to 5 minutes which is great if you like to eat or knit during your game play. If you do decide to download the game to your hard drive with the new NXE loading, then the load times do drop down from about 20 seconds to roughly 2 to 5 seconds.

On the high side, the environments and character graphics in this game are pure Square-Enix gold and look absolutely spectacular on a high definition TV. The character and enemy designs are quite detailed and beautiful to look at. The cut scenes probably have to be where the game really shines in graphics though and I would hope this is going to be the industry standard for how amazing rpg games should look.

The musical score in the game is quite stellar with its orchestral soundtrack. The music especially comes to a high point during the battle scenes with its intense points and gripping elements. Though I can’t see this soundtrack being as memorable as previous Square games, it still manages to bring life to this game and its world.

While I found the storyline for The Last Remnant to hold some fascination for me, it was perhaps my stubborn nature that didn’t allow me to evolve into this game and its new battle system. The chaotic mess that was thrown at me a few hours after I thought I completely understood the system, ended up turning me off from wanting to continue with this game. Perhaps I might go back to it someday, but for now I return to the safety my other Square-Enix games that keep with the basic turn-based system. Those games I understand.

Rating: 6 out of 10
Rent it!

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