Square Enix intenta llegar a los mercados oriental y occidental por igual con The Last Remnant, un título muy original y bastante divertido, con grandes momentos, pero que se queda un poco en tierra de nadie con un sistema demasiado simplificado y con promesas que no llega a cumplir del todo.
Desde sus inicios, The Last Remnant ha sido un juego de contrastes desde sus inicios, cuando ya la propia Square Enix lo anunció como 'un título para el mundo'. La intención era crear un RPG de corte más occidental, que se alejase de la anclada tradición en los títulos nipones, que lograse aunar los elementos más característicos de los JRPG con novedosas características más acordes con los gustos occidentales. Muy posiblemente, ese haya sido el principal problema del juego a la hora de sorprender: que se queda a medio camino entre esas dos tierras, y pese a contar con momentos intensos y memorables, se queda corto en otras ocasiones. Un buen juego que podría haber llegado mucho más lejos de no haber sido por esa aura de experimentación que le rodea.
Al principio, nuestra historia se centra en el personaje de Rush Sykes, el cual está buscando a su hermana Irina, la cual ha sido secuestrada. Vagando por un bosque, llega a un campo de batalla en el que le parece ver a su hermana, pero en realidad ha sido una confusión, provocada muy posiblemente por la desesperación, y se trataba de una miembro importante del ejército de Athlum, bajo las órdenes del marqués, Lord David. No tardará en conocer a este hombre, el cual sentirá curiosidad por nuestro protagonista, quien lejos de ser un personaje anónimo, resultará ser el hijo de dos famosos científicos. De este modo, de una forma un tanto interesada por ambas partes, empezarán a colaborar.
Durante los primeros compases del juego, Rush irá conociendo diferentes aspectos del mundo en el que se desarrolla la aventura, se encontrará en alguna ocasión con su hermana y sus raptores, e incluso empezará a caminar por su propia cuenta. El argumento del juego tiene ciertos altibajos, y por momentos llega a antojarse algo inconexo entre misiones; hay ocasiones en las que parece que la historia seguirá un camino, pero enseguida, tras apenas un par de escenas o movimientos, nos volveremos a ver obligados a seguir unos derroteros muy diferentes de lo que nos parecía. Por ejemplo, tras una discusión entre Lord David y Rush, este decidirá irse por su cuenta, y será el momento en el que el juego nos enseñará cómo formar equipos.
The Last Remnant is a role-playing video game developed and published by Square Enix. The game is directed at both Japanese and Western audiences and had a simultaneous release in Japan, North America and Europe, on November 20, 2008 for the Xbox 360. It was released worldwide for Microsoft Windows in late March and received an international release on the Steam network on April 9, 2009. A PlayStation 3 version was originally announced, but was never released. The game is set in a fictional world divided into multiple city-states inhabited by four different species and has "Remnants", mysterious and coveted ancient artifacts of varying shapes and sizes which uses magic powers, and a war sparked by its creator The Conqueror, and the search by Rush Sykes for his sister. It features a unique battle system in which the player command multiple groups, or "unions", of characters rather than individual units.
The game was directed by Hiroshi Takai and was the first game developed by Square Enix to use the Unreal Engine 3. It was intended by Square Enix president Yoichi Wada to "become a cornerstone for [their] worldwide strategy". Art direction was overseen by chief artist Kimihiko Miyamae and art producer Yusuke Naora. The game's soundtrack was composed by Tsuyoshi Sekito with assistance by Yasuhiro Yamanaka. It was later released as a three-disc album. The design and dialogue of the game were created to appeal to international players as well as Japanese players, and the motion capture for the main characters, including the lip-syncing, was done with Western, English-speaking actors.
The game received a weak reception by reviewers, though it was better received by Japanese reviewers than by Western ones. A common complaint, especially in the original Xbox 360 release, was of graphical problems including low framerates and "texture pop-in" where higher resolution textures would suddenly replace lower ones several seconds after a scene had started. Other issues included complaints about the game's storyline and battle system, though these were not as universal. The Last Remnant received praises for its art direction and music, and several review sites gave higher scores to the PC version of the game than the 360 version.
A group of people and monsters in light armor fight, with a black-haired young man facing away closest to the viewer. Gauges and boxes filled with text and numbers ring the perimeter of the image. The battle screen, showing the morale bar at the top, a compass showing the relative positions of all of the unions, the status of the currently fighting union, and the order in which each unit in the two fighting unions will take their turn
The game is split between a world area, a battle area, and a world map. The player controls Rush Sykes, the protagonist, and moves him around the world screen within an area, with the camera floating behind and slightly above him. Within the world screen, the player may talk to NPCs, enter buildings and other areas, or exit to the map screen. The map screen allows instant travel between different cities and areas, or between different areas within a city. The battle screen is shown only during combat, and is a three-dimensional area like the world screen with a setting reminiscent of the location the player is at in the world. There are no random encounters; instead, the player enters a battle and separate battle screen when they touch an enemy on the main world screen. The player may choose to enter a battle with multiple enemies at once by activating a "time-shift" system in which time slows down and they may run up to multiple enemies before commencing the battle.
The Last Remnant features a battle system labeled by director Hiroshi Takai as a "turn-based, command-based system using symbol encounters." During a battle, each enemy from the world screen is represented by a group, or "union", of enemies ranging from one to five individual units; similarly the player's forces are composed of multiple unions of three to five units each. The skills of the units in the player's unions, which include both story characters and hireable units that do not appear outside of battle, vary according to different parameters. One parameter is the "morale" bar, which is affected by the events in battle and can have positive or negative effects on the battle forces. Each unit can also learn different attacks, which are divided into categories such as blade attacks and healing magic. At the beginning of each turn the player selects from a group of choices what attack types each union will perform; the player is unable to select the individual attack of each unit. Special attacks require "action points", which continually accrue during each battle. The player selects at the beginning of each turn which enemy union each of their unions will attack. As the enemy makes their selections at the same time, it is possible for a union to be "deadlocked", or forced to fight a different union than the player or enemy had selected. When multiple unions are deadlocked onto the same enemy, some of the unions can flank the enemy or attack from the rear for extra damage.
In addition to battles, there are numerous quests which the player may undertake. Many of these quests take the player to an area immediately upon acceptance and return them once completed, while "guild quests" do not require acceptance and may be turned in by the player whenever the accomplishments listed in the quest are completed. Rush and the other units may equip many different weapons and items. Rush's equipment can be upgraded to many different options, while other units request materials to upgrade their own equipment, which can be purchased at stores, acquired in battles, or found in the world area using a creature called Mr. Diggs. Mr. Diggs can be upgraded as well to find more or higher quality materials.