The Last Remnant

   06/04/2009 at 09:02       Micro Explosion       2 COMMENTS. - Score 4/5
The Last Remnant - PC

The Last Remnant was released on the 360 some months ago but now it comes to the PC despite initial issues in Europe with DRM and the required Steam activation and is a better conversion than many other console to PC attempts.

The game suffers heavily from an extremely slow start that, unlike Persona 4, is unlikely to hold that much interest because of it's largely dull and shallow story that doesn't seem to get fleshed out to the level of detail I would like to pull me through the game. The simple plot is there are ancient Remnants that have magical powers that have resulted in a number of wars over history, unfortunately it never really gets more complex than that.

The characters are sadly quite dull, despite some largely good design work and voice overs that are above average. There was no stage that I felt that I cared what happened to anyone involved or why they were doing what they were doing.

The battle system is quite a large change from the traditional JRPGs involving 'unions' or groups of characters that a simple order is issued to (e.g. use mystical attack) and then that is instruction is carried out in a largely confusing and slightly irritating way. On several occasions I had no idea what was going on with the swooping camera and people attacking each other. It's not a terrible fight system, it just feels even more detached from reality than normal for a turn based battle system. There is a huge amount of complexity behind this entire battle system but whether you want to invest the time to fully discover the nuances is a different matter - it isn't particularly well set up or explained and the pay-off for learning it isn't really there.

The quests range from okay to incredibly dull - there were times when it felt like a badly designed MMO where the quests were the leftovers that were put in place to pad the time or give the player something to do just because they had to. A large proportion of quests are simply go to X, kill X then come back - in a lot of cases there isn't even the aspect of exploration to hold your interest, you'll be teleported to the relevant location and follow a fairly linear path until done.

Graphically it's competent and, as mentioned, some of the designs are very good. On the whole it is disappointing and feels so much like so many other JRPGs of recent years in looks that it's hard to see many people being drawn in by it. Graphical and loading issues that were apparent on the 360 version are no longer a major issue, although I suffered a significant amount of tearing that immediately distracted me from some of the other good work done.

Overall, The Last Remnant is a competent JRPG that, despite the promise of breaking so many of the genre conventions, brings little to the party that makes it more worthy than any of the alternatives. With a large amount of grinding, uninteresting story and a battle system that isn't very enjoyable, there's little to recommend this unless you've worked through all the alternatives (even JRPG alternatives on the PC).
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