Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Last Remnant for the Xbox360 and PC review


 
We all have games that we either love or don’t love. Of course, the games we love are easily recommendable to our friends and family. The ones we do not like or downright hate, we can’t recommend. The tough question now is, what about the game you like, but hard to recommend to people? These are games that you slightly enjoyed or like, but know that only a certain number of people or gamers would like or tolerate. One of these games that I am going to talk about today is an RPG from Japan. BIG SURPRISE! I am talking about an RPG, well, I’m not going to stop and you can’t make me. I do like this game and I have a lot of patience for it, but I know a lot of people do not like this game and I hate the game for a lot of the same reasons. This RPG in question is the PC and Xbox 360 exclusive, Last Remnant. There was a PS3 version planned, but due to moderate to mixed opinions, it was canceled. This game does have a lot going for it, but it also has a lot of things going against it. How about we get started? 


The story revolves around the main character Rush Sykes, voiced by everyone’s favorite anime voice actor, Johnny Yong Bosch. After his sister gets kidnapped, he goes on the search for her. Rush then bumps into the ruler of Athlum, David Nassau, voiced by Jason Liebrecht. Rush then decides to join his army if it helps to find whoever kidnapped his sister and help in the war over the Remnants, large artifacts that hold amazing powers and someone called the Conquer who wants to harness said Remnants. The story itself is very clichéd with noticeable themes of war, politics, destiny, and you get the idea. There are some fun characters like the frog mage Pagus, voiced by Chris Kent, and the four-armed humanoid cat being, Torgal, voiced by Travis Willingham. The story does have a decent pace and it can have some good twists here and there. Overall, it’s just an okay storyline, but like I said, it has its redeeming moments. 

The gameplay is familiar, but has been tweaked to be more than just a tried and true RPG mechanic. It is turn-based, but the whole game takes more from Blue Dragon than, say, Final Fantasy, and it is by now a good idea to be wary of Final Fantasy’s future. It’s turned-based, but instead of controlling a small group of 4 adventurers that, depending on the game you either like (Dragon Quest 8 being the best example) or dislike (Final Fantasy 13), you control up to 5 groups of characters with about 4-5 characters in each group. Each group contains either 1 or 2 leaders, depending on your level, and about 3 or 4 token soldiers in each group. Each soldier has his or her own strength and abilities so you can customize the groups to whatever the mission or quest calls for. Throughout the game, you will be able to gain more groups to command, and when you get to the halfway point of the game, you will be able to command 5 different groups. You will have to adjust and really think who you would want in your group because there is only a set number of soldiers and captains you can have with you at one time. Turn-based battles have also been streamlined. Instead of random battles, the enemies are visible in the areas and can range from being aggressive to not really caring that you are there. The streamlining comes more into play in the battles. Instead of taking control of every single soldier in the group, you give the groups one single command. This ranges from offensive attacks and magic to healing. Enemies are also in groups and they all share one health bar. One mechanic that was carried over from Blue Dragon is that you can wrap more than one enemy into a battle for bigger and better rewards, but you can also make that battle much harder. This game can be brutal if you do not plan your tactics out and choose which group of enemies to attack first. While you could go for bigger rewards, you can also get caught in a battle where your groups get slaughtered. This is one of those RPG’s that does have tedious amounts of level-grinding, but even if you do lose health or a group you control, everyone gets their health back after battle, so there is no having to waste huge numbers of phoenix downs. Instead of everyone just leveling up their stats at the same time, you gain different stats after every battle. Outside of battle, there are side quests, weapon crafting, and even a “mascot” character that can find certain materials to make weapons and items with. There is a lot to this RPG, and it will take you many hours, probably 30 to 40 hours if you decided to take on everything the game has to offer, but of course this is IF you want to. 

The graphical presentation is a mixed bag. There are some major texture-loading issues and slowdown. The art style however, is amazing. It definitely has that Final Fantasy 12 look and there are a lot of great monster designs. The music is also very good. Tsuyoshi Sekito, who for PS1 fans out there, is known for his work on the PS1 action RPG, Brave Fencer Mushashi, composed the soundtrack. The opening music is probably the best song you will get out of the soundtrack, but it’s all very good. Voice acting is hit-and-miss with the main character being voiced by Johnny Yong Bosch, but even then it’s not a 5 star cast, but some of them do a great job. 

Now, it’s time to say why a group of you gamers will not like this game and what is wrong with this RPG. Again, the RPG can be very difficult and while the difficulty is manageable since you can grind as much as you want, it gets unbalanced around the halfway point. This is due to overly tedious bosses at the halfway mark. The second-to-last boss of Disc 1 is beyond tedious and is unbalanced. The main problem is not with the hordes of soldiers, but with the main leader of the soldiers who has multiple status ailment spells and abilities to where he can attack multiple times and whittle down your HP. The last boss of Disc one is The Gates of Hell, and man, he is HARD. Not only do you have to fight off his minions, but when he finally starts attacking, he has many abilities, like the ability to control your groups and also has multiple hitting attacks. It gets frustrating since before you fight the Gates of Hell, you have to go through a couple of groups of enemies who have one dangerous instant death attack, and multiple hitting attacks. It’s a rough couple of hours and I can see where people can lose interest in the game from here or other parts of the game where the boss fights are tedious. While I am not bothered as much by the texture-loading, it can wear after awhile when you have to see how pixilated the character’s skins look. I know this bothers people because there are graphics snobs and I don’t think Square Enix knew how to tweak the Unreal 3 Engine enough, and sadly, could not get a patch out for this game. Basically, you have an RPG that you have to have a bit of patience for, and I know that a lot of gamers might not have the patience for this, but if you do, you’ve got a very unique turn-based RPG.

Like I have said over and over, half of you RPG fans might not like it, but for the ones that can have a bit of patience for this RPG, it is a pretty good experiment for a turn-based RPG. You can easily get it on the 360 or PC for about 12 dollars or so. The PC version has some added additions, but sadly, from what a friend told me, does not have the graphical issues fixed. There is some free and paid DLC for the game so you can get either version. I would really like to see a sequel to this game. Make a more unique story, tweak the graphics, balance out the bosses, and you would have one of the best turn-based RPG’s around. Unfortunately, this game did not do well over here and had some pretty negative reviews. I think it’s a solid RPG, but yeah, you could do better, but if you can find it for cheap, I say pick it up. Maybe one day we will see a revival and return to this world of Remnants and make sure it isn’t The Last Remnant.
 
This game gets a 7 out of 10

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