The first things that’ll strike you about The Last Remnant, after its perplexingly long install process on Steam has completed, is that the menu system is a confusing mess. All the information is there, but navigating is a pain in the posterior. We even resorted to plugging in an Xbox 360 pad, which promptly failed to work. Finally we found all the options we wanted and there was an intriguing nugget hidden away in the clutter: you can play this JRPG in Japanese with English subtitles.
The plot of The Last Remnant runs thus: you play Rush Sykes, whose sister has been spirited off by some ne’er-do-wells, leaving only her magic talisman behind. Determined to rescue her, Rush embarks on a quest accompanied by various creatures and characters that range from normal to downright bonkers – it’s your basic Japanese RPG.
Sadly, the game never really manages to be anything other than average, even with the speed and graphical improvements made since the console version. Even though Remnant is powered by Epic’s Unreal Engine 3, it looks ropey. Now, we’re not saying that graphics mean that much, but when the gameplay can’t make up for a lack of flair in the visuals, you’re in trouble. The root cause of the problem is that the combat is just plain dull. It’s also both baffling and very simplistic at the same time.
Your forces are split into unions, made up of a small number of characters at a time. Each union can be given individual orders – attack, heal, back up allies and so on – and you can see the potential for some decent strategic gameplay. Sadly, the execution is confusing and sometimes, it seems, rather arbitrary. Often, you choose to attack and your men are the ones who take damage first. All sorts of things are going on and you are never sure whether it was you who made them happen or if they’d have just taken place anyway. Couple this with the fact you’ll be doing a hell of a lot of it and you’ve got a recipe for boredom.
Numerous other problems with The Last Remnant include unskippable cutscenes, confusing union creation systems, dreary locations, an auto save slot that doesn’t get used, awful music, no voices outside of cutscenes, to name but a few.
Apr 6, 2009