Review by Diablo2lod12

"The Last Remnant - A Diamond In The Rough"

Gameplay - 7/10

The battle involves turn-based combat. If I remember the back of the case right, you have can have up to 77 units (ally and enemy) on the battle screen at once. Just thinking of that may seem like a bit too much. Instead of controlling one unit at a time selecting specific commands you can place up to 5 units in a Union (group), combining their HP and AP into one lifebar that they all share, if the HP goes to 0, they all die. It is possible for single units to due to being attacked too much or through being cursed.

The battle commands are not specific at all, acting as if you were the general of an army, you give commands such as the following.

"Attack with combat arts!"
"Attack with mystic arts!"
"Heal yourself!"
"Heal them!"

That's just a small idea of the commands that can be given, there are loads more depending on the situation you are in. The game also has "Morale" in it. A bar at the top of the screen shows you your and your enemie's morale, depending on which one is higher you will fight do more damage, or take more damage, among other things.

Square-Enix has definitely created an innovative system that you have to have a deep understanding of to play well. Instead of the standard "Level-Up" system S-E has placed 2 difficulty modifiers in the game that will make you afraid to grind too much on weak monsters but still enforce the fact that you have to fight to get stronger.

The first concept is "Battle Rank", Battle Rank determines how strong your enemies are, what abilities they use and how much health they have. In the PC version Battle Rank is mainly determined by how many monsters you have killed. However, there is no set number on the monsters needed for your Battle Rank (BR) to go up. The second concept focuses on the stats of your characters. Depending on the strength of the monsters you fight, at the end of the battle your character's health, AP, strength, intelligence, speed and a 4th random stat will go up.

With these 2 concepts combined forces you to play conservatively and aggressively at the same time. If you fight a lot of weak enemies, your BR will go up, but your stats will not. If that happens then you will have a tougher time fighting monsters later throughout the game. If you fight tough monsters, your stats will increase along with your BR, creating a sense of balance that you have to have in order to survive.

Storyline - 8.5/10

The game begins with a typical RPG style in that the hero of the story is thrown into a scenario of epic proportions in his search for someone. Although the beginning is one big cliche it does get better throughout the game. The story starts off somewhat slowly, to progress with the main story you have to do a few side-quests to help out with some of the key concepts of the gameplay. Infact, the real beauty of the game's storyline and character development are told through the game's side-quests. Acquiring new allies to fight with, learning their pasts and even talking to them on the streets of a town has the possibility to make them stronger. A unique concept that I rather enjoyed, due to the fact that despite all of the possible leaders you have, they all have their own story and personality to where you won't just have one favorite character.

Voice Acting - 8/10

In standard JRPGs more often than not you'll come across bad voice actors that can make you want to mute the volume and just read the subtitles. Anyone who's played Infinite Undiscovery knows that for a fact. The Last Remnant has it's moments where the voice acting is good, and bad. My favorite part regarding the voice acting more than anything is because it appears to be that S-E adjusted the lip syncing to american voices, so it is does not appear to be you are watching a kung-fu movie made in the 1970s.

Music - 10/10

This game is portrayed on an epic scale, so no less, the music should be just as big. The Last Remnant passes this statement with flying colors. With over 70 soundtracks to play throughout the game, whether or not it is a cut-scene, in a city, or in a battle, each one you will end up just pausing for a second to just listen to the music. As far as the battle music is concerned, depending on the situation you are in, there is about 10 or more songs that could be playing so the music is fresh throughout the game.

The Last Remnant has some great features that definitely makes it worthwhile to play. You can have up to 300 hours of estimated play time and still have stuff to do. Whether it is "Hard Mode" difficulty when you beat the game or even on your first playthrough, doing "Guild Tasks" to gain help you out with items and union formations. The major downfall of the game is the fact that the instruction booklet and the game fail to explain many of the key details that could determine whether you are able to kill the final boss or not.

It is a very deep game that can take a while to understand completely and sadly, you'll sometimes just be thankful for dumb luck when it comes to fighting enemies. I wouldn't say the game necessarily has flaws, but as mentioned before, hardly any information is told. Heck, every unit has a 4th stat that no one really understands at all.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 05/21/09

Game Release: The Last Remnant (US, 03/24/09)

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