on 18 February 2010
Okay so I just beat this game last night, so I think I should provide input for those wondering whether to buy it.
First of all, if you like easy games you can just breeze through, i'd think again because you will not find this sort of gameplay on The Last Remnant, in my opinion I think this game is aimed at hardcore RPG game players.
As you may have read complaints on other reviews, the bosses are difficult and are often linked together with no saves and in some cases in the SAME battle not giving you chance to heal but this all adds to the difficulty and the strategy aspect.
So first I'll start with the story
I was irritated at first with the storyline, as you can imagine from the title, the game is about Remnants but unless my concentration dipped somewhere, they never actually tell you what remnants are or why they are so important, yes, you know they are big powerful "things" but thats about as much as you get for a while.. but once it is revealed what they are, how they are, where they came from, their significance etc. etc. the story kind of.. falls into place and becomes very enjoyable and you do start to connect with the characters will.
The graphics are exceptional and consistant between roaming and battle, the occasional cutscene has improved graphics but it doesn't feel like a difference, which is enjoyable. The cutscenes themselves are extraordinary, without throwing in spoilers, somewhere in the game there is a one on one sword fight which i WISH i could watch again without having to play the game over.
Gameplay is great and even if you avoided any sidequests you're still looking at a lengthy game but sidequests are very beneficial in this game which you sometimes don't find in RPG's. Some provide you with equipment, others characters and also you can find new battle formations (which i will mention later) which are great.
Along with main quests and side quests, there are also guild tasks. The guilds are the places you find extra "main" party members. there are 3 different guilds and each holds a list of taks eg: "collect 3 dragon eggs" or "defeat the spiritlord" - and upon completion you get a reward, again as with sidequests, formations, items, money etc.
Now, onto the most important part of the game: The battle system.
I have to say, it is very confusing to begin with but stick with it because it will soon become one of the best battle systems you have ever played on.
One of the main differences from other RPG's and infact other Square Enix's, is that your party limit is not 3, 4, 5.. not even 10.. infact you eventually reach 18 active members with (thinking from memory) at least 30-40 to switch through and more to hire at guilds or soldier places.
Firstly, there are 2 types of units, "Battle Leaders" and "Soldiers"
Battle Leaders are your main characters and members you win from quests or hire from guilds. The main difference between Battle Leaders and soldiers, is that they level up even if they are not currently active but to what degree I don't know. They also have more dialogue and personality ie. Torgal will say "thankyou" if you heal him whilst a an old aquaintance of his from a guild might say "that was not necessary". However you can only use a set amount of Battle Leaders as they are significantly stronger than soldiers and the limit to how many you can use rises through the game.
Soldiers fill the rest of your party and become available later on in the game. You have a list of over 100 to choose from with varying races, stats, weapons and abilities and can become very strong if you keep them with you.
All the units talk during the battle which is a great addition but as i said leaders have personality's.
The days of worrying if all your members have the best gear is over, they brng their own gear and search for items to improve it.. after a battle if they see a drop that would improve their weapons they will ask for it.
The battle setup itself is very exciting, you fight as unions of 1-5 members each eg. my setup was 5 - 5 - 4 - 4 (members in each union) and instead of choosing individual actions for the characters to take, you make a group decision eg:
Attack with Combat arts:
Member 1 - Attack
Member 2 - Smash
Member 3 - Acala's Wrath
Member 4 - Attack
Member 5 - Attack
Attack with Mystic arts:
Member 1 - Wind Shear
Member 2 - Spark
Member 3 - Caustic Blast
Member 4 - Attack
Member 5 - Attack
as you can see some members, if they don't have an ability or not enough AP (attack points, which accumilate through the battle) do the standard attack.. but they sometimes automatically "re-assess" depending on the fight situation, for example, if you complete a critical chance chain (which are very common, where you press a certain button to increase an attacks power) the last member may do this:
attack -> reassess -> Mighty Smash
So if you were thinking "wow, 18 members, must be very easy" think again.. This game throws the hardest and lengthiest battles at you i have ever experienced and they only get harder and longer as the game progresses thanks to the "Battle Rank" system.
The game has no experience points, instead your individual stats and battle rank will rise independantly and Battle Rank is the one to watch.
Battle Rank, is kind of like "Game Difficulty" in disguise, the higher your rank, the harder the monsters and bosses get but i wouldn't let that put you off cos you need to have good stats to beat any of the bosses. as i mentioned, some link and alot enjoy doing multiple AoE (area of effect) spells. There is one boss in particular which stresses everyone out and as i've seen on a forum, takes many people multiple tries.
The enemies are adaptive and do not use just one attack, if you use lots of magic they might silence you and if you go to raise an ally from the dead they will try to intercept you.
Boss battles can last up to half an hour and even regular battles can be lengthy depending on how many you have drawn into battle or if they have the cavalry call skill which i HATED which brings more enemy unions into battle.
Finally, each union can be set in different formations which you can unlock through the game.. for example.. "Battle Crown" is an ideal Melee union formation, it raises attack and defence. While Mystic Shield, you guessed it, is great for magic casters.
I could literally go on about the game for ages but I will leave the rest up to you.. If you love RPG's and equally love a challenge buy it now.. if you enjoy games you can complete with your eyes shut, i'd think again.
One down point is the jumpiness in battles due to the vast ammount of information being processed but you soon re-adjust to it and don't notice it.. my suggestion is to install the game to hard drive. Each Disk is roughly 6GB and if you don't have 12GB space you can install disk1 play that and then disk2
five out of five and praying for either a sequel or a game with a similar battle system
on 22 November 2008
Let me be the first to review on what i would call a life line for the xbox 360!
As the release of gears 2 fades into the background, and having completed fallout 3 and gears 2, I needed another game to pass my time. Having read about this game in early 2007, i didn't even realise it was out. The day i remembered about this game, it was the 20th, so like any other japanese RPG life fan would do, i went out and paid £40 at game!
Now, if you do not like the final fantasy series or even one of my all time favourites 'Lost Odyssey', or even if you prefer the freedom that 'Oblivion' or 'Fallout 3' gave you, then i strongly advise that you DO NOT get this game. I never really enjoyed Oblivioin or Fallout3 as the story line wasnt that immersive, it seems that the side quests are the game fillers.
However, with 'The Last Remnant' i can assure you, that this may top Lost Odyssey, maybe not as far as Final Fantasy, but its so damn close! I've been playing it for around 10 hours, and let me tell you, i cannot get enough of it!
The first amazing feature of this game, is the combat system. Instead of the usual 4/5 characters fighting against 4/5 monsters, you have unions. These unions are consisted of up to 5 units, which you can strategically change each position of each unit with formatioins which all have pros and cons. At the moment my part size is up to 4 leaders(main characters), 3 unions (groups of soldiers) and 9 units. Therefore i have 3 unions consisting of 3 units each. In each city, there is a guild, you may hire and dismiss other leaders, and the further into the game you go, the stronger leaders you may hire! As you may have worked out, im only allowed 4 leaders, so what about the other 5 units? The answer, as you progress through the story, Lord David allows you to use his City's soldiers! These soldiers are free, and basically you use these to fill up your squads...the more you have, the easier battles, but of course, you can take the harder missions also. Imagine a battle with 70 odd units fighting at once! Its like mini wars where ever you go.
Secondly, I was wandering at the start of the game, how skills or magic can be incorporated into the game. It may be a disappointment, but you cannot dictate what each unit does, you control what the union does on a whole...attack with mystic arts, attack with combat arts etc. Mystic arts are things like spark(lignthing) and combat arts are skills like double hit. You cannot mix each one unless the command 'give it all you've got' shows which means every unit performs there strongest skill. Your main character Rush has a limit break, this is similar to 'omnislah' from ff7, where he strikes an entire Union several times dealing heavy damage. There are no limit bars however, it is the same with ff8, you can use this attack when on low health. Beware, you do not attack units, you attack the union. Each unit has an amount of HP etc, and all this is added up with every other unit in the union to give the HP etc of the union, this is the factor you must take into account!
Thirdly, there are no levels like traditional RPG, instead your strength, speed, intellect, mystic, HP skills all grow with battles fought.
Fourthly, I am no longer wandering why monsters carry money anymore, the same with Lost Odyssey and FF12, you have to sell either components or 'captured monsters' or find money in treasure chests(known as remnants). Your probably wondering "selling captured monsters, is it like Pokemon???", no your wrong, after every battle, you recieve components like 'talons, feathers etc' which can be made into other items, customise existing weapons or sold for a low price. Also, aswell as components, you may also capture the monsters you have defeated, these can then be either diseccted into other components or sold at a higher price, usually you will get at least 300 for hard monsters, however, i sold one monster for 1200, i think i have worked out there is a 30/70 chance of capturing an enemy.
Furthermore, as said above, you can now customise existing weapons into much stronger ones. They are categorised in ranks of 'orders'. I have a halberd spear in the fifth order, the original being the 8th i think, and the strongest being the 1st, i can only assume. The items needed for the stronger weapons become much more rarer and i can see myself hunting down the whole world for specific items for the strongest weapons! You can also customise shields!
The final point i will make is kind of a downfall to the game, however, i can understand why this is. Its the animations and voice acting...they don't co-incide, however, the reason for this is that the animations are set for japanese voice acting, not english, so even though one of the characters have finished saying something, he still may have his mouth moving about or his arms waving back and forth.
In conclusion, i must say this is a fantastic game, and not too give too much away with the story, is absolutely amazing. The start is a bit slow, and the game itself may seem complex, however, its pretty straight forward once you know the basics. A game of the year? Maybe in Japan, I think Gears 2 may take that award in the US and maybe Fallout 3 or Gears 2 in the UK. Still, a fantastic game i would reccomend to any RPG fan!
on 27 February 2011
Straight from the word go, it becomes pretty obvious that this game is not going to be like most other rpgs. This is a far bigger story with a bigger and bolder battle system.
For the battles, gone are the days of several characters attacking several enemies, in The Last Remnant, full scales battles are the order of the day and require you to really plan out just how is the best way to go about winning. Choose the wrong tactic and you can easily send a unit to their death. This is not a particularly merciful game and does contain quite a steep learning curve, however as soon as you become used to the battle system, you can really start to appreciate the style and uniqueness of this game. While not being able to choose your exact actions may be frustrating at first, you grow to realise that you can easily increase your chances for your desired moves by playing around with your teams and strategies.
A very impressive aspect of this game is the sheer number of characters set within. There is no need to choose only the main characters, instead there are hundreds of mercenaries dotted around the world you can recruit as your personal entourage and an equal number of soldiers to fill up the ranks.
In terms of the graphics, the last remnant can be both praised and scorned. Praised for astonishing backgrounds and fairly accurate lip synching with characters, however scorned for occasional graphic lags as you will often see a character go from looking fairly dull and undefined, to suddenly vibrant and detailed.
The storyline and script are nothing groundbreaking and at many times just seem to exist to try and explain away amazing coincedences. However there are occasional moments of humour and some intelligent writing at times.
As for the voice acting, don't expect anything spectacular as for the most part you will want to mute several of them.
The two main criticisms i have for this game are that it does not explain itself well and it relies too heavily upon xbox live downloads. For the first of these points, the levelling up system is very different to a standard rpg and even the most experienced of gamers will often find they need to restart after their first attempt at the game. As for the second point, while having free downloads for a game is always a good thing, square enix does not seem to care for its non xbox live using customers and does seem to adversely affect them.
Overall I would definitely recommend this game for anyone who appreciates rpgs or strategy games. Though I would stress to look up tips on how to play the game before actually starting, just to prevent having to restart 20 hours in