Last Remnant = Square’s Reputation
The Last Remnant is one of those games that sounds like a key to success on paper. You have a hero who’s oddly effeminate but still able to kick some major enemy tail, you have a climactic “world is about to end” storyline, and you have turn-based battles. These things should (in an ideal world) combine to give you a JRPG that’ll hold off Square-Enix fans until the next proper Final Fantasy game comes along. Sadly, such is not the case with this game.
First of all, I have to confess what a huge RPG fan I am. When I was about 10 years old, I successfully completed Final Fantasy 8, having leveled up all my characters to level 99 through some serious time and dedication – so I know my JRPGs from my phonies. Not that Last Remnant is a phony, mind you – all the staples are there, like I mentioned above. However, it’s often the implementation of those RPG staples that end up hurting the game more than helping it.
Taking a cue from Mistwalker’s Lost Odyssey, Square decided to go with the Unreal 3 Engine (popularly known to run games like Mass Effect and Gears of War among others) to power its game rather than their new Crystal engine. The Crystal engine is the amazing new engine that runs Final Fantasy – the only reason I could ever think they don’t want to use that for the Last Remnant is basically because they’re waiting for their big reveal with Final Fantasy XIII. However, being a Japanese developer working with UE3 for the first time, they stumble pretty badly in terms of load times and lag – the install to the HDD feature is a way of alleviating this, but even with the ENTIRE game running off the HDD, I still had some lag time whenever the game took on more than it could handle.
And it’s not just the engine, the game itself doesn’t exactly work the way I wanted it to. Playing Lost Odyssey, I felt right back to my roots – this game takes those roots and throws them for a spin with a “unique” combat system involving teams of multiple heroes fighting all at once. This makes for some interesting tactical decisions now and then, but rather than having a turn-by-turn way of making things work, the game often makes you sit through several scenes worth of turn-based battling, making Last Remnant a spectator sport if there ever was one.
Am I saying you shouldn’t get the game? No – I say you only get this game if you’re desperate for a JRPG because you’ve finished all others and can’t wait until the next one comes out. If you’ve been out of the JRPG game for a while, you might want to try Lost Odyssey, because for all it’s hiccups and quirks, it still runs and looks better than this game.
Last Remnant (2 out of 5)
- Cool-at-times Storyline
- Interesting Characters
- When Graphics are Good, They look Good
- When Graphics are Bad, They’re Really Bad
- Texture Pop-In
- Cheesy-at-times Storyline
- Load Times