The last unused cost in the Nintendo Switch leaves a forgotten game in this unreliable port. Square Enix released an Xbox 360 exclusive in 2008, and I was very jealous of playing mostly console games from Nintendo and Sony. I remember going to my local GameStop, checking the back of the box and thinking: Oh that game looks pretty cool, I hope to play it someday.
In 2019, Square Enix surprises Nintendo Switch owners with The Last Remnant Remastered, giving anyone who missed it the first time another chance to immerse themselves in the game – myself included. Sadly, I now wish I could go back to the days when I watched this match from a distance.
The Last Remnant Remastered isn’t a bad game, but it’s not necessarily good or even popular, which makes me wonder why Square Enix decided to carry it in the first place. As a JRPG, it highlights everything: turn-based combat, a rich world with interesting races of people and many environments to explore. To my disappointment, it doesn’t work so well.
Take Rush Sykes, the protagonist of the story, on a mission to find his sister after she is kidnapped by mysterious creatures known as Remnants. If it weren’t for one of my favorite actors, Johnny Young Bosch, I would have hated everything about him. The lines of this character are just awful, and I’m sorry Johnny signed on for this project. To be fair, most of the other characters’ voices aren’t very good either. It’s hard to get into the game when the main character is at best an unreliable drug addict.
The story is pretty predictable and, again, check all the boxes but don’t reinvent the wheel. After meeting the Marquis David of the city-state of Atlum, Rush embarks on a journey far greater than he could have imagined, and is finally charged with the task of saving the world. While this story is pretty ordinary for a JRPG, there are many interesting characters to add to your party. I was happy to see many non-human characters in David’s army, such as Blockter, yama (amphibious humanoid), and Pagus, qsiti (frog humanoid), who are both generals.
Perhaps my favorite part of The Last Remainder is the frame. I love fantasy worlds, and that requires a strong inspiration. The game is very similar to another IP from the same time, Final Fantasy XII. Like the world of Evalis, this game is filled with anthropomorphic humanoids lending their rich world. The similarity to FFXII made it easy to see how pale it was in comparison. Both games came out at the same time and turned the JRPG genre on its head, but only one, The Last Remnant, became a universal favorite years later.
Unlike FFXII, there is no open world to explore. Instead, every time you leave a city, a world map is shown and you can go to the next place you want. The places you explore are actually quite small by typical JRPG standards, and also quite dark. There weren’t many interesting places outside of caves or typical ruins, which disappointed me a bit, because what I like most about this type of game is the exploration aspect.
The Last Remnant’s combat system is another annoying mess. Instead of commanding three or four characters in a small group, command a large team that can be divided. The way these units are placed on the control panel affects their combat behavior. When you pair certain characters in the same device, they are amplified and accelerated. I had to learn this from online guides because the game doesn’t explain this system very well. It’s never fun when a fight is so complex that I have to read online wikis to understand it (and I still don’t really understand it).
This version of the game includes all the content already added in last year’s PlayStation 4 version. The ability to speed up combat is a welcome addition to any long game where tightening is a factor. There is also an option that allows every character to be typed automatically without you having to worry about typing the right keys.
Don’t expect these options to make the game easier. The combat is still ridiculous, and the routine is a complex mess. I wish Square would take the time to really balance the enemies so that new players aren’t so put off by the complex combat system. It’s one thing when enemies are hard to beat. It’s different when they’re hard to beat and you have no idea what’s going on.
As the player raises their combat level, other enemies do the same, creating a system that simultaneously prevents level crushing, but also forces the player to fight enemies to make money hiring new party members. You can’t progress in the game without new party members, and the only way to get money is to defeat enemies and sell the loot. See the problem? Very quickly the enemies become so strong that it is impossible to defeat them, but it is necessary to do so to become strong enough to advance.
The graphics of The Last Remnant Remastered are actually quite good. They have a late PlayStation 2 era style that I particularly like. At least Square Enix has made an effort to make the game look good enough to attract new players. Music is standard for this company, with catchy action music and charming urban tunes. The presentation and music are almost enough to keep you playing through the long campaign (over 60 hours).
The last remnant was an almost forgotten relic of its time. It’s good that Square is working on re-releasing its old games, but I’m not sure who this game is for. He introduced new ideas that should have reinvented the JRPG genre, but instead fell into relative obscurity. There’s something here for die-hard JRPG fans, but like me, it’s best to skip this game and play one of the many other great JRPGs on Nintendo Switch, like Final Fantasy XII or Xenoblade Chronicles 2, which this game is so desperate to get.
Last cheque left
- Charts – 7/10
- Sound – 7/10
- Gameplay – 5/10
- Late Call – 6/10
Final thoughts : WARNINGS
Last Remnant Remastered is now available for the Nintendo Switch. It’s not a particularly good game, but there are some good ideas, albeit sporadic. With all the other JRPGs available on the Switch, it’s hard to justify why anyone would want this game more than any other.
Tony has been playing since he could walk. Pokémon Blue Version helped him learn to read. His greatest achievement is not just playing the entire Kingdom Hearts series, but understanding it.
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