Last first impressions

In the run up to Christmas I treated myself to a bundle from Square-Enix, it was £20 for 6 games, and you didn’t know what games you would get until a specific date. It was a risk, but I figured it was a cheap way to bump up my Steam list and get a few games for my PC in the process. I wasn’t expecting a lot of new games (plus my PC was bought to output to the TV as a media machine…allowing me to watch American Netflix and Sky Go) but I got a few interesting choices…

  • Deus Ex – The Fall
  • The Last Remnant
  • Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
  • Thief (2014)
  • Murdered : Soul Suspect
  • Nosgoth

Now some of these don’t interest me a great deal, But Deux Ex and the Last Remnant appeal for different reasons. Deux Ex because I love the series but the text is too small to read on the TV from the sofa and I’m not quite ready to sit on the floor 3 feet away from my TV so I can read the in game text. The Last Remnant, however, did seem to be both playable and readable.

So, The Last Remnant…a JRPG, from the minds at SquareEnix who brought us the various Final Fantasy games over the years (incidentally one of the best games I’ve ever played is FF7 – yes I know it’s a cliche) but of late I have fallen out with them, all that rhythm action that was FF13 put me off. The notable exception is the MMO (See here) which I enjoyed while I played it.

Anyway… I figured I’d give them a chance and give this port of an Xbox 360 game a go. I’ve. Nothing else in the collection that jumped out at me and none of the recent Playstation freebies have intrigued me either (except Rogue Legacy – of which enough as been written).

So I fired up the PC hit the Steam shortcut and booted up the game.

And my first thought was the lack of mouse cursor. “How am I supposed to control the camera?” I totally didn’t say to the empty house, and bravely used the keyboard to navigate the menu and trundle through the opening sequences. This was when things got a bit weird… ‘Press ‘RT’ to initiate a battle’…

“Right trigger?” I again didn’t ask of the game. But popped over to Google and did a quick search. Turns out you have to tell the game you are on a PC and that you are using a ‘proper’ control system. That done, I put 41 minutes in without realising it.

The next morning I talked nicely to a friend who very kindly lent me an Xbox 360 controller. Very, very kindly after all the years of mocking the size of the controller (See here).

The experience with a controller is much better. Leaving me to concentrate on what the hell is going on. At the moment battles seem complicated and confusing… Battles are fought between party members in a turn based style! Each member is assigned to a union, each union targets an opposing union and then attacks them. These two units are then deadlocked (cannot attack a different union without taking a penalty), a second union that attacks the same unit flanks them and receives a bonus. At least that’s how I understand what’s happening here…

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There is also the ability to do critical attacks through a random quick time event, which I am useless with thanks to my lack of x360 controller knowledge, but thankfully you can set this to automatic, randomly succeeding or failing, which on average is better than me.

Graphics

It’s an average looking game – to be expected if it’s running on my PC and being a port of a last generation console game but suffers from the issues inherent with games early in that generation, that of having wide open spaces with very little actually in them and on occasion it tries to be cinematic and arty in turns. Another issue is the fact that to travel between these spaces you *have* to use the map screen, even in cities.

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But  as you can see from the earlier screenshot, battles are where the graphics come into their own, lots of characters on screen at the same time and battle animations are good as well. Not that you take much notice.

Story

The story line has a tutorial where you go out into the world with different characters to learn about the mechanics, the magical (mystical arts), combat and specials (combat arts) and then at 2 hours in you are left on your own, with no idea where to go or what to do.

I wandered around the city and found a couple of side quests, which are now… Let’s say challenging, due to the lack of high powered NPCs backing your character up.

For a JRPG we have usual story tropes. The hero’s sister is kidnapped by a superpowerful unknown enemy and off you go with no training to try and get her back. I’m only a couple of hours in so can’t really comment on the supporting characters and world building, but I am enjoying it so far, there is something that prompts me to keep coming back and having another go… To find out more about how everything works and interacts.

I am going to stick with it in lieu of having much else that attracts my attention on the gaming front at the moment…although I’m not going to be precious about abandoning it for something else.. If I stick with it I may revisit it in another post in the future.

I’ll also probably play through some of the other games that I got as part of the bundle, Deux Ex and Lara Croft will both probably get some attention should I get bored and fancy a change.

I’ll finish off with a little gallery of screenshots I’ve taken so far.

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