Just before joining the Global Shinkai Day, I finished the 1GB Last Remnant PC demo that got released yesterday. You can download it via the official site or a mirror such as GamersHell. It has both English/Japanese voice and text in it which can be adjusted in options.
Having not played the Xbox360 version released last year November or read up much about the RPG, I didn't really have an idea of what I was in for. All I knew was that it's a Square-Enix game and there was quite a bit of buzz going on when it was revealed.
The demo offers a good few hours of play with a bundle of side quests to do at the guild or just going around finding marked NPCs. It all ends once you've reached the city mentioned at the start. Not much levelling required which is good because you probably wouldn't want to go through it again in the full game. Saved files can't be used in the final version.
At first, the environments don't look too visually impressive until you turn up the graphics settings in options to high. Once you've done this though, there's a slight delay before the textures are processed when entering a new area though. The atmosphere isn't quite as impressive as the buzzing cities of Assassin's Creed but still has a good fantasy setting going on. Character model movements on the other hand, are very rigid and ugly to watch.
Combat's been quite interesting, feeling like your traditional RPG but with a bit of RTS mixed in. Controlling units that are composed of three sub-members seem to be a popular trend lately such as in Devil Survivor and Archaic Sealed Heat. However, instead of giving commands to individual characters, you issue them to the entire group as a whole and their HP all contributes to the main HP bar. If the leader of that "Leader Unit" dies, then you can't command the rest of the sub-members but they will continue fighting.
The interesting thing is that these Leader Units will move around in battle while each command is executed and if you ordered them to attack one enemy but, another intercepts them as they move in, they end up being attacked instead.
It's quite fun to watch but as with all cool looking visual effects, it gets tiresome as they are repeated so it's good to see SE adding the option to use "Turbo Mode" to speed up the animations using whatever processing power your PC can spare. Oddly enough, the indicator should be set to "off" for the speed up to happen and not "on"...
Another little oddity I found was they haven't exactly done a great job mapping the Xbox360's controls over to the PC version yet. In this demo, you can clearly see the game still telling you to hit the ABXY and trigger buttons. Hope they have this fixed in the final version appearing next month.
For those of you trying out the demo, the ABXY buttons appear to be the arrow keys for pulling off the criticals. Square brackets are for flipping through pages and, the left shift key can be used for toggling Turbo Mode on/off to speed up the animations during battle. Pressing the middle mouse wheel button initiates combat when exploring maps and holding the right button controls the camera.
Well, can't wait to review the full product!