A Large-Scale Adventure on a Small Screen
Released by none other than Square Enix in 2008, The Last Remnant inevitably drew comparisons to the developer’s greats, most notably the Final Fantasy games. Thankfully, both the original and The Last Remnant Remastered stand out. The Remastered version, pretty much a direct port released for phones late last month, is truly impressive. The transition from a full-fledged console title to a mobile game is a daunting one, yet The Last Remnant Remastered pulls it off very well, though it does consume a ton of memory.
Compared to other JRPGs by Square Enix, The Last Remnant offers something unique. The combat system takes place on a larger scale than standard JRPG turn-based combat. You command units of 2 or 3 people, instead of individual characters. For each unit, you can give broader commands such as “Attack with Physical Arts” or “Focus on Healing.” Once you’ve given your commands, the battle plays out automatically. There are some quick-time events for critical hits, but they are not vital.
There are several other factors in play, such as whether you are charging or being charged at, or whether you’re flanked or flanking the opponent. There’s even a dynamic morale meter. From a strategic point of view, the battles remain interesting time after time even with a general lack of player input. There’s plenty to do outside the battle too, though most of it relates to improving your characters. You can collect equipment, craft components, and capture monsters to trade for high-level equipment.
Thrown into Chaos
The story follows a young boy named Rush Sykes, who is looking for his sister. Both of them are the children of two famous scientists. Their parents asked them to move from their sleepy island hometown to the hectic capital of Athlum. However, his sister Irina got abducted along the way. Rush, in his attempt to find Irina, gets caught up in the middle of a war. One of the war leaders, the Prince of Athlum, takes an interest in Rush mainly due to his parents and Rush ends up joining forces with the Athlum forces.
There is a quirky ensemble cast, with characters of all shapes and sizes. Because the game is story-based, there are a lot of cutscenes to enjoy. Like any Square Enix title, The Last Remnant puts a lot of thought into its worldbuilding and there are always new locations to explore as you traverse the game world. However, I will admit that the story is a little generic for my taste. In addition to this, the protagonist is especially unlikeable, from what I’ve seen. He’s a childish idiot who always “rushes” headlong into battle (maybe that’s how he got his name). All in all, though the story has a lot of content, it isn’t a particularly great story.
The mobile version of The Last Remnant does have a few minor annoyances. My phone would frequently go into sleep mode during cutscenes, due to their length. What’s more, the game consumes a lot of memory, and there are several downloads throughout the game that are more than 2 GB, so you can end up waiting a long time to progress. Also, battles often feel just a bit too slow for me, maybe because they unfold in phases. Whenever a battle starts, the word “Deadlock” appears on screen with a flashy animation, which can get tiresome after a while. In the end, all the above are nothing more than minor annoyances. The Last Remnant is otherwise very much a full-fledged Square Enix RPG, worth sinking hours of time into.
Though Square Enix has a history of developing in-depth games that are difficult to master, The Last Remnant is surprisingly easy to get into. The unique combat system lets the player take a backseat from making the little decisions. Instead, the player makes decisions on a grander scale, and that is where the story inevitably heads as well. Though the story is a bit generic and the protagonist is not particularly likable, The Last Remnant puts you in command of everyone in your army, all of whom have their own story to tell. That, combined with a unique and engaging combat system, creates a whole that is well worth your time and money.
The Last Remnant Remastered takes a huge console game and wraps it up neatly onto your phone in this high-quality port. The plot is not particularly engaging, but Last Remnant more than makes up for this shortcoming with its unique and intuitive gameplay.