Last Remnant tells of Rush who is trying to find his sister Irina having been kidnapped by an mysterious man. While out looking for her, he comes across a battle and meets Lord Davis and his generals. After learning he was the son of famous scientists researching Remnants, they decide to help him find his sister.
Now the PC version has a number of features the Xbox360 doesn't have besides the higher resolutions and mainly have to do with the extra processing power they may have.
The minimum processor expected is a 2Ghz dual core and taking advantage of this is being able to run through the battle animations in "Turbo Mode" allowing you to finish them quicker. Funnily enough, the indicator has to be set to "off" before battle animations will speed up. To be honest, it would have been better if you could just hold down the button whenever you wanted to skip something because the game ends up speeding through the Critical Triggers too for some reason (more on that later).
Aside from that, the minimum expectation of 1.5GB of memory, which is what other PC games such as Fallout 3 require, means you can make use of more leader units and visually preview equipment.
Now onto actual game itself. If you've played the demo, you'll find yourself playing through again about two hours into the game. Fortunately the game plays out slightly differently.
Enemies are visible on the field which is great and Rush possesses an ability known as "Timeshift" to let you link them all up into a single battle to save time and earn greater rewards. Of course the overall risk is greater but it's also more challenging and fun. It's also great that you don't have to worry about keeping your party's health replenished after every battle because it encourages you to explore the dungeons this way. Or perhaps it's because of the fresh new battle system the SE staff wanted to throw in some insurance.
Combat is quite interesting because instead of managing a single party during battles, you're managing multiple ones known as "Unions". You also have the option of noting where each of these Unions are located on the battle field because they can be attacked from behind or the front. Issuing commands at the right time can give you the advantage and also increase your team's morale for even more power. You'll also get the odd "Critical Trigger" sequence where you have to hit the arrow keys at the right time to let your unit members attack successfully one after the other which, keeps the battles interesting. Fortunately for beginners, it can be set to auto.
However, even though you can disable moves for characters, the commands keep changing and feel very generalised such as "Attack with Combat Arts!" It can make you feel very out of control unlike other RPGs where you can drill down further to choose exactly which spell or skill you want to use.
Outside of levelling, there's a number of side quests to do which are mostly "reach a certain point to fight a boss" oriented goal but, it gives you a reason to level grind - And there appears to be a lot of it. I don't really like grinding and it doesn't help there isn't an experience point indicator to show how many more monsters you have to kill before your Unions go up in rank.
You also have to collect materials to upgrade weapons and that's very much as far as it goes for equipment, no worrying about armour which is probably for the best because they can be very hard to gather! Another irritating point is that your Union members will always nag you about what they need. It's great to choose how they develop their skills but, their demands can be a bit on the persistent side of things.
On the sound front, it's great to be able to experience the game in 5.1 surround sound but, be sure to enable it under options first because it's set to stereo by default. The only downside is it seems to only utilise 5.1 channel sound during the few pre-rendered cutscenes while most of the time, it's only 2.1 channels in-game so, users with stereo speaker setups won't miss out too much on the experience. Tsuyoshi Sekito's compositions blends in fairly nicely with the medieval fantasy setting but, few tracks really managed to make an impression.
Perhaps the most important feature for the fans that hate English dubs is the option to hear the voices in Japanese while still being able to view the English text. They don't quite match up as closely as you would see in fansubs but, it's localised pretty well.
Visually, the game looks up to Square-Enix's standards... Once the textures are processed and sharpened up that is. At least that's what happens on my 512MB Geforce 9600 GT which is beyond the recommended graphics card but, this is something that the Unreal engine seems to do. You have to wait for a few seconds before all the blurred textures are processed to their full glory when entering a new area.
You also tend to notice all the character models being reused with a simple palette swap as you travel around cities whereas in a much more crowded and bustling game like Assassin's Creed, you don't really notice much. The towns actually feel very much like FFXI - Very static and only one or two NPCs walking back and forth. Not unusual for Square-Enix games I suppose. The only thing keeping it lively is the music and different textures.
To be fair however, the Remnants that populate the different cities are really breath-taking in both scale and design. Monster variation is quite big too and it's great to watch all the battle effects linger as each of your Union's members strike at the enemy and vice-versa!
Last Remnant's fresh Union battle system isn't perfect but it's an interesting new take on the way RPGs are played out.
Hours Played 52 hours
- No random encounters.
- Can chain enemies with Timeshift to increase battle difficulty.
- No need to worry about healing or dead party members in dungeons.
- Speed through battles with "Turbo Mode" on PC version.
- Short cut key to jump straight to map.
- English/Japanese language option on PC version for the English dub wary.
- Great music and breath-taking Remnants to see.
- 5.1 surround sound not fully utilised.
- Rigid character model animations.
- Waiting for textures to load ruins visual experience.
- Lots and lots of level grinding.
- Finding maps in dungeon.
- Changing commands feel lack of control.
- Nagging party members asking for material.