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65 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2008
I've played almost every Square Enix game there is, and when I saw the across the board bad reviews for Last Remnant, I was a bit worried. But I bought it anyway, and I don't regret it. Just for some background, here's my preference for Final Fantasy games, so you can compare with your own tastes and see if TLR might be for you. I thought FF3 (6 US) was the best hands down, FF2 (4 US) and 7 were tied for second, 10 and 1 (for the sake of nostalgia if nothing else) were tied for 3rd. 12 is next, 9 was not terrible, but it was definitely forgettable. And 8 was a steaming pile of garbage.

With that out of the way, there's one thing you have to accept before you get into this game. If you don't just accept it going in you won't appreciate the game, and if you do you will. And that is the fact that the hallmark of this game is the battle system. That was their #1 priority. Story came second, even graphics came second. Don't get me wrong, I think the graphics are fantastic personally and the story is fine. But the battle system is very impressive and there are a lot of intricacies to it, and it really shows that they were willing to sacrifice other areas of the game for a stellar battle system.

The levelling system has been redesigned as well, although it's up to your taste whether you'll like it. You don't actually "level" your character, instead your skills go up as you use them. For example use a lot of combat skills and they'll become more powerful, use a lot of magic and you'll get new spells. Do a lot of physical attacks and your strength / attack power will go up, get hit a lot and your HP will go up. Etc. Again, some people will like this and some won't, I personally get a sense of satisfaction about hearing that ding every time I raise a level, and keeping track of how much more exp I need to get there, but I can live with this system, it's not that bad once you get used to it. One interesting aspect of it is that it really requires your characters to specialize, since you want to get access to the more powerful techniques you have to keep using that same type of technique over and over, and using some other type of technique will delay you getting the stronger ones from the original category.

The slowdown and stuttering that everyone talks about is indeed an issue, but one that I hardly notice. It's completely forgivable as far as I'm concerned and it doesn't interfere with my enjoyment of the game at all, period. And that's with the disc in the drive, if you install it to the hard drive it may be even less of an issue.

The main complaints I have about this game are as follows:
- Exploration has been eliminated. I like the fact that I can go anywhere I want, whenever I want in an RPG. This game doesn't have that. The second you accept a quest, you are teleported to the dungeon / place where the quest takes place instantly. This is just weird, is it really that hard for me to walk there? A side effect of this is that you usually only have one quest active at once.
- Travel is instantaneous. Again I like walking, or taking a boat or something. Opening a map and just clicking something and bam I'm there takes away from the nostalgia feel, makes me lose sense of how big and expansive the world is. You can still travel to any previously visited place at any time, even if for example a bunch of people join your party and yell "We must get to Elysion with haste, Rush let's go now!" You can still take your entire party and travel around to lots of previously visted places. In fact doing this you might find a few secrets :P But nevertheless, it also makes the game feel more linear that no matter how far away something is, you can get there instantly.

That's pretty much it. If you're an RPG fan, if you can accept this game for what it is, I think you'll find it to be of good quality.
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42 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2008
Okay... first of all, I read reviews before purchasing this game. BUT, I'm a huge RPG buff, so the positive I had read/seen about it outweighed the negative.

I've only had the game for about a week and a half, but I've played it quite a bit. YES, it does have some technical issues. It graphically lags a bit when super fancy-schmancy effects are processed. So they used the Unreal engine and hadn't perfected said use... big deal. AS LONG AS YOU INSTALL IT ONTO YOUR HARD DRIVE, none of the load screens or technical issues really become that big of a deal.

All that aside, the voice acting is pretty freakin awesome if you ask me. The rest of it plays much like any of the more recent Final Fantasy series, but it feels a little different. Most notable are the combat system (A combination of old-school turn-based and a tactics-type system, with a hint of nutmeg), the item customization system (It's pretty ridiculous... in a good way), and the treasure digging system! Heck yes, it's almost like a little mini-game-type nugget that you pick up early on and take with you throughout areas that you explore.

The only problem I've had so far was that my party seemed SO INCREDIBLY WEAK early on (once you reach a point at which Rush ventures off on his own for a bit). It was taking me forever to fight anything or get through areas, and I had to take enemies on in as few numbers as possible. It was later that I realized how to put additional party members into a union. It's MUCH better after that, haha. But that's what I get for not reading the manual.

Honestly, so far, My only complaint (other than that, ideally, there shouldn't be any problems, really, with graphical lag) is that in the morale system, you get a severe detriment to morale if an enemy engages you before you can initiate combat yourself, BUT, there's ABSOLUTELY no way for you to gain any advantage on an enemy. It's either starting at 50/50, or 75-25 in the enemy's favor. Unless, of course, I just haven't gotten that far yet... But, even so, it should be accessible already. It's fairly difficult to sneak up on an enemy...

If ya like RPGs, and you especially like them with an extra dose of strategy, then go ahead and snag this one ^_^
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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2009
This game has a Mature Adult rating, and it's not because of the content, but because of the gameplay. The gameplay is too challenging and detailed for teens. I have played the game twice, creating every weapon, achieving Warlock, Lordly Commander classes on more than one character, all the arcana and weapon arts. The game requires deep thinking to analyze how to create effective unions (battle teams). People think the game is random, or just luck, but it is NOT. Every action is completely controllable, but you have to know what you are doing. Too many recent RPGs have been stuck on a formula where you have a single hero who fights aggressively, and with overleveling the game is overpowered. That is NOT the case here.

BR Battle Rank and Arts are separate. Battle Rank is NOT like traditional leveling. Fighting too easy monsters or too many mobs in a mistaken attempt to "level up" will leave your characters with a high battle rank, but without sufficient skills. Players need to focus on challenging monsters and avoid easy ones until late game when anything goes and you are no longer skill building. The game has job classes determined both by weapon type and also by the type of commands you choose. If you want a combat character, choose combat commands, and don't use the mystic arts for that character. In other words, you must plan what you are doing. Anybody who hopes to barrel their way through the story will not make it.

I have helped many gamers on gamefaqs with this game, and I suggest using the FAQs there and the forum for questions, as the strategy guide is horrible and lacks crucial information. I also highly recommend using the lastremnant wikia on the internet.

The best players I have seen with this game are ADULT players with 10-20 years of RPG game experience, aged 20 and older. This game was a Game of the Year for me in 2008 and I never tire of watching other players on ustream playing this game. I repeat, it's not for the kiddies. But if you are an adult RPG player who has also some experience with strategy RPGs, you will do great with this and love it. Impatient teens and other reviewers on this site who couldn't figure out the game clearly do not have what it takes to play this, a vast RPG experience, high intelligence, and a love for detailed strategy.

There is no way to play the same game twice with the sheer number of characters that you can hire for your teams. The bosses and download content are very difficult battles, but once you learn what you are doing, you will find this satisfying. I hope that my comments here will recommend the game to other adults looking for a game with adult characters, not just kiddie characters, and also to people with the patience to learn the system in the game. It is NOT random and takes time to analyze.

This game is meant for HDTVs and will be difficult to see on an older analog TV. You will be disappointed in the graphics and menus unless you have an HDTV which will make the game look so amazing you will have your breath taken away. There are massive dragons to fight that are incredible to watch, and many areas in the world to explore. Have fun fellow adults, this one is for us!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2010
I've played Final Fantasy X (amazing game), Lost Odyssey (also amazing), and Final Fantasy XII (so,so). While I can't rank the story depth of The Last Remnant with these three games, I have to give recognition for its amazing battle system. The graphics a really good. This game starts off with a weak lead into the story, for me. Learning how to use the battle system is complicated, at first. In comparison to the Final Fantasys' turn based battle system, I find it to be very very auto intelligent. You don't always have control over what battle commands your unit or team will use. It keeps the game interesting. In The Last Remnant you are fighting with several units, not one team or person. It's confusing at first, but once you learn how to handle your units the battles become a lot more fun. The battles can be time consuming. There are times that you may have a large amount of enemies to take on at one time. With a larger number of units the battle could end quickly, depending on the strength of your opponents and the fortitude of you team. Like the other games in its class, there is a mix of battle styles for units. There is the weapon based combat battles that require customization of your weapons and armor and there is black magic and healing magics that are enhanced as your healers grow stronger. You do get to choose which forms of battle arts you want to enhance for you members. It would take too long to break those choices down. You do need to discover the right unit combos for the types of enemies you need to defeat. How you combine your units will make a huge difference in battle outcome.

While you don't need a strategy guide, per say for this game, there are a lot of sidequest that can be missed. Some sidequests are more essential than others. So you may need some guidance.

This game has lovely graphics. The music is so so. I find it to be a unique game because of the battle system. It's a really battle system. It was worth the buying for me. The Last Remnant also has replay value, if you desire to do so. You may discover something new the second time around.

What's missing in this game for me is customization in the midst of battle, the ability to customize each character, the limit of individual control during battle, the story is not really in depth and if you don't enjoy a lot of battling it can't get to be tedious. If however you like a good battle system this may be the game for you. I think it's worth a try. You do have to give it some time before the game has you hooked. I almost gave up in the beginning, but I'm so glad that I stuck it out.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2010
I picked this up while looking for a JRPG for my wife, who is a fan of the genre. Being a fan definitely helps one to enjoy certain aspects at face value, such as our protagonist Rush's asinine remarks. My favourite is shouting, "everyone's getting hyped!" during a battle. I read a lot of reviews which almost put me off, but we both ended up playing it and have found it one of the better ones on the console. We both play other genres of game, shooters, Assassin's Creed, and the amazing Mass Effect, so the ideal in a turn based game is one that justifies the format with some chance to do thinking and decision making.

The battle system is something of an evolution of other systems, with play split into squads that get bonuses based on how they flank or lock enemy units (mostly the difference between 1 vs 1, 1 vs many.) Despite what some comments have implied, you do get a lot of choices and control in the game, and the way they limit you during battle turns makes good sense - at times you wish you had some more granular control, but it feels fair in the context of the game. Or as fair as any JRPGs tend to be. On that note, compared to say Lost Odyssey, we've found less need to consult guides online to find some obscure trick of a boss or certain item we're lost without.

Another big plus in the design comes under the category of "Things to keep your attention". It pays to take on more enemies at once, so if you do any quests / levelling, you try to keep it at where it's a challenge. Even in the exploration parts, things can be a little tense opening a door (not Silent Hill intense, but more in-the-moment than a lot of RPG exploration sequences). In the battles themselves, similar to the shrinking-circle combat moments in Lost Odyssey, you have a chance to suddenly hit a button or trigger to help an attack or counterattack - but in a great piece of design thinking, these can happen any time, during your attacks or when you're being attacked. They also build up - because you hit the button quickly once (easy to miss even for an arcade game enthusiast), the order of turns changes, someone else in your squad gets an even quicker button chance - sometimes even a whole different attack. Because of this, the battles keep you involved, clutching the control watching the nice graphics of the fight in case you miss your one chance to turn the battle around.

I haven't seen technical problems, some textures load as sequences start, which is fine - we're only half way through so we could still have some loading grief to wait for, but from what I've seen so far it's overstated (or was patched a bit at some point?) The world is expansive and there are lots of side quests to play with. I wrote the review in case others ended up with the same indecision - I noticed a big range of views so it's definitely not for everyone. After getting into it we both agreed it would have been a real shame to miss out on.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2009
The key to enjoying this game is to completely forget who made it, don't read any reviews (I know, contradictory considering I'm writing a review), and keep an open mind. If you go into this thinking "Square-Enix made this game so it's going to be just as great as Final Fantasy" you're going to be disappointed. If you read all of the bad reviews, chances are you're going to believe them or take all of their bad points and deliberately hunt them down in the game. The key is to keep an open mind about what you're going into.

While I'm only about half-way through the game, so I'm in no way an expert, I'm giving my outlook on it so far.

Battle System: The battle system is something I've never encountered before and is pretty enjoyable if you take it for what it's worth. It's turn-based, and war similar. You have a one character that's in a "union" of up to five characters and you can have several different unions. Each union acts as a single entity, and shares the same HP/AP. This is great considering you can completely customize the strengths and weaknesses of each union. The downside is that if one person falls, everyone does.

Also, you don't get much in the way of choosing what your characters do. You get a general command, and the union does with it as it will. I personally didn't mind because I knew what I wanted my unions to generally do. If I wanted one to stick with combat, one to stick with magic, one to attack, or one to decide for itself, I could do that. That, and the unions are so complex, and you can have dozens of characters in your party, if I had to choose an action for EACH individual character, I wouldn't have gotten anywhere.

It does take up quite a bit of time as it is, though and I haven't seen a way to escape from battle or to outrun a monster that is dead on finding you.

Some battles are harder than the others, but that's just the way it is.
Characters: I enjoyed the characters. Though they were based on some stereotypes, as noted on other reviews, they seemed pretty "real" to me. The main character is an 18 year old Rush, a hopeful kid that doesn't seem to realize he has no respect for authority even when it's literally beaten into him within the first twenty minutes. His sister, the typical damsel in distress, actually does her part to save her brother and proves her worth every now and then.

Then there's the Marquis David (Dah-veed) and his chain of command, Torgal, Pagus, Blocter, and Emma. I won't go into them individually, but they each have their redeeming qualities. I will say though, that I enjoyed how tough and reliable Emma was.

Finally, a female character that's wearing clothes and weilding a sword! A heroine (even a side character) is a big deciding factor on whether or not I'll enjoy the game. As a female, I scrutinize every female lead in a game. Where I see the need for a healer in every game, I can't stand that it constantly has to be the weak female main character. I think the stereotype of weak (Inside and out) scantily clad fan-service female who's only good for healing has been chewed, swallowed, and spit back out to rinse and repeat. I don't like the two-dimensional damsel-in-distresses that don't even try to rescue themselves or help out in any way. This game was a nice change.

Game-play/Story: The story can be slow moving at first, then it seems like things are just being thrown at you at random, and sometimes it seems like all you're doing is watching a movie. It's all necessary though to get you into their world as quickly as possible to get you acclimated with the characters and their history. If you wait through the somewhat tedious (if you're impatient, which if you are you really shouldn't be playing an RPG) beginning, it gets a lot better. You can see where the plot is going, and because you know your characters, you can understand their reactions better. It so far has a pretty decent -even if it takes awhile to get to it-- story and it has me wondering what's going to happen next.

I enjoyed the game play once I actually got to control Rush and got past the entire (necessary) tutorial. You can't free-travel the worth and to get somewhere it just takes a click of a button, but the places you can travel, you can absolutely travel them. Sometimes the area isn't that complex, but it does take awhile to get through them and the scenery (especially in the outside areas) is gorgeous.

Leveling is something altogether different, it seems like it's a needs basis leveling. The more monsters you defeat in a level, the greater your characters attributes grow, and you can customize which area's the characters are going

Graphics: It really all depends on what kind of TV you're using for the graphics. If you have a high def TV, the graphics are fantastic and look pretty smooth. On a regular TV I suppose they could look grainy and/or washed out. The characters aren't anime looking.

Voices/Sound: The soundtrack for this game is a fifty-fifty for me. I like the voices, they fit their characters. The sound though, while I'm playing it is great, but isn't memorable outside of the game, it just doesn't stick with you and you can't really find yourself humming it at random parts of the day.

Cons: SAVE OFTEN! There aren't icons telling you to save every twenty minutes, and you can save pretty much anywhere you want, so people are likely to forget, and when/if you get a game over it takes a long time to get back to where you're going.

The load-screens are annoying if you're deliberately trying to get annoyed at them, take a breather, read the information it gives you, and carry on with the game. Games lately have been spoiling us with zero load screens, but if you go back a few years, people wouldn't be complaining about that. The battle system does take "too long" to get through it. But that's fine by me because I didn't pay $40+ for a game so I can beat it in 8 hours.

Bottom line: I read the bad reviews, a friend of mine actually complained to me about the game, but I decided to try it out anyway and enjoyed it. It's refreshing to see that SE is making games besides Final Fantasy, and that they can do it well

If you're thinking, "I need something while I wait for the next FF" Don't play this game. While I enjoyed all of the final fantasy games, especially 3/6, I think it's time for the fan-worship on how there can never be a greater game than FF7/whatever to realize that each final fantasy game is a different game, different characters, different plot with the similar attributes and a title. If someone were to time jump from the first final fantasy to FFXII they'd be completely lost "This isn't even the same story!" Exactly. And neither is TLR, but that doesn't mean it isn't a good one.
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19 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2009
Oy! I read the reviews and decided to buy this game. I put in 25 hours and got probably a quarter of the way through and got bored. The story seemed good and the graphics are great, but the battle system and growth system don't engage you. I like rpgs for growing my characters. This game takes that away from you. Growing Mr. Diggs, the side character, was more fun. Here are my problems, which made the game slow and boring:
1) Battles - no control. Concept of unions is cool in order to get a bunch of characters into a fight. It gets old when you can only really select four general commands, which are random. Usually, you end up with the same commands over and over again, which makes it difficult to work up experience in other areas, such as healing, which rarely comes up
2) Experience - you don't really gain experience, you gain HP separately, AP separately, strength separately, etc. After a while, you have no idea who is growing what.
3) Speed - I loaded this game on my hard drive and the battle load time is still slow (about 10 seconds). Given that the battles are boring and you do about 50-100 per area, you really start to waste a lot of time for nothing new per battle.
That's my beef with the game. At the end of the day, you spend 95% of the time battling, as one review put it, and the battling/leveling up system isn't interesting. The game tries to engage you by having you hit buttons at the right time, which to me sounds like the developer's solution to making it more interesting after they realized that they'd spent a ton of money on a game that turned out to be boring in its main aspect.
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37 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2009
It's like Square and Microsoft brainstormed every possible way to ruin a strategy game and still have it be sorta fun.

Concept: 9/10
The Last Remnant is turn based strategy game set in a fantasy universe created by the masterminds who created Final Fantasy. You play as a young adult named Rush. Rush's sister has been kidnapped by villains that want to use her innate magical abilities to take over the world.

You can access areas through a World Map. There are towns where you buy weapons and equipment, or even craft your own. There are also dungeons and battlefields where you fight enemy Squads and Bosses.

You advance through the game by fighting turn-based Battles.
You hire Warriors, Mages, and Leaders and form them into several Squads.
The number of Units in a Squad = the number of attacks that Squad gets per round. (Each Unit attacks per turn.)
The Squad's HP is the combination of the Units' HP. As long as the HP is above 0, ALL of the Units in that Squad can keep attacking. If the Squad's HP = 0, all of the Units in the Squad die at the same time.
You can issue commands to the Squads during the battle, like "Charge", "Heal", "Attack with Magic"...
After the Battle, all of your Units are resurrected and improve based upon what they did during the battle.

In a Battle, you cannot retreat, and if you lose, you must return to your last Save.

Sounds Awesome... now here comes an avalanche of flaws that ruin the game.

Technical Art: 1/10
Square licensed an old version of Unreal before it had streaming. As a result, there are Load Screens everywhere! The game also is hindered by the most slowdown that I've seen since Aladdin fought Jafar on the SEGA Genesis. Textures and Bump-Maps constantly pop in and out whenever characters or scenes are rendered. It's incredibly distracting and makes your Xbox 360 feel like a PC with a 9 year old graphics card. However, you can avoid most of these bugs, by installing the game on your 360 Hard Drive and playing it from there.

Gameplay: 2/10
During Battles, when you give orders to your Squads, you only get a few options per turn. These options seem completely random. There are many times when a Squad is at Full Health and you get an option to Heal them. However, when a Squad is low on HP, sometimes the Heal Option doesn't show up, causing you to lose a battle. There are other times when you fight an enemy and you're thinking, "My Poison Gas Attack is perfect for this." But it doesn't show up in your Command List. Whoever thought of taking the Player's Options away in a Turn Based Battle Game was a good idea, is clearly insane. Too often, you are forced to make bad decisions because the options you want just aren't available when you need them most.

Even when you do get the commands that you want, sometimes the characters "REASSESS" and ignore your commands and do something different. If your Squad's Leader gets KO'ed with a spell, it's called a BOTCH and the AI takes control of that Squad.
It feels like the game is doing everything possible to take control away from you in a game where the fun is supposed to come from you commanding your army. As long as the AI is good, this usually isn't too much of a problem...

AI: 3/10
At times Allied Squads join you. You cannot give them commands and they act on their own. Sometimes, they attack enemies for 20 points of damage instead of healing one of your Squads, restoring 2000 HP! The AI is so bad, you'd swear that Leroy Jenkins hacked into your 360 through your live account and he's controlling the Allies.

BOSSES: 2/10
Because of the AI and Gameplay issues, the Bosses feel incredibly cheap. Also, all of their Health Bars show up as ???. You have no idea how many HP they have. When they are close to death, their Health Bar flashes red, but that's the only hint that you get. Bosses attack hard enough to take out an Entire Squad, or Charm them and make them fight on their side. If you have 3 Squads, and the Boss decides to Charm all 3, you lose! There are times when you don't get the commands that you need to win the battle at the times you need them, causing you to die.

QUESTS: 4/10
Most of the Quests are of the dungeon crawl variety. You gain access to a dungeon and fight to an objective with an AI companion. Most of them are ok, and some are horrible. One Quest in particular has you running through a barren desert for 12 minutes, touching posts. The only way to Identify them is to touch them and if you touch the wrong one in the wrong order, you have to start over. It's got all of the excitement of your Gym Coach making you run 3 miles in real time.

ART: 5/10
Slowdown aside, the art is very dull. The lighting is very dark throughout the game and colored lighting is pretty non-existent. Everything looks dull and drab, like you're watching the game through a dirty window. The Character Designs are interesting, but lack the Style found in the Final Fantasy series. Another issue arises when your army fights another humanoid army. The characters in the battle look nearly identical, so it is really difficult to tell who is who. When you see a guy swing an axe at an identical guy and a 1000 appears above the injured character, you don't know whether to cheer or panic.

If you're looking for an epic script, look elsewhere. The dialogue in this game is as epic as 2 third graders talking about their lunchables. The lines are delivered like the actors are in a breakfast cereal commercial where the first 5 ingredients are Sugar.
Rush's Battlecry, "YEAH, Everybody is getting HYPED!" He says stuff like, "Yo Dave, whassup?" "Yeah, No Prob. Whatever..."

Another annoyance is that the team reversed the Critial Hit Dialogue, so when your characters critical hit the enemy, they say what they would have said if they had gotten critically hit. If you do 5000 damage to an enemy, your character is likely to grumble, "Aww shucks."

BROMANCE: 0_o /10
Homophobes beware. The first major NPC that you speak to is an aging bartender at the Tavern. He calls you "Cutey" and hits on you. In all fairness, your character is feminine and he's wearing leather chaps as a fashion statement. Later on, Rush meets Dave, a flamboyant magistrate, and they get along better than any other two characters in the game. In one scene Dave gives Rush a flower and they gaze into each other's eyes. Normally, Rush replies with a nonchalant "whatever" to the other NPC's but if Dave says something, Rush says, "Aww, I can't say no to you." If the enemy surrounds you, they can attack with a "REAR ASSAULT" and Rush says, "They caught us with our pants down!" So, after a while, the game starts to feel like Brokeback Kingdom.

Rush is the only character that you can equip, and it seems like once you buy a decent sword, there's no reason to get another one until Disk 2. The game has a crafting system, where you can make things for Rush, but the parts are so rare, it's not even worth searching for them. Also, 90% of the items that you can create are the same as items that you can buy. Your NPC's equip themselves and manage their own gear. Sometimes, they'll ask you for something in the inventory and you have the right to refuse. But if you refuse, the NPC just becomes less effective.

The Game is Rated M for Blood, Language, Violence and Suggestive Themes (between males)

Overall, the game is at least 50 hours long full of Quests and Side Quests. At times, the game is fun and the cutscenes are pretty good. Your Characters do improve after almost every battle, so it does feel rewarding. It's a semi-decent way to kill time in small doses. But, the lack of control that you have over your army is incredibly frustrating and the homosexual undertones as well as the juvenile dialogue can get on your nerves.

If you're dying for a turn based strategy game for the 360, and don't mind playing it from your hard drive... and all of the stuff I just wrote about doesn't bother you... Buy this game.

Avoid this game if you hate Slowdown, Bromances, Bad Art, Load Screens, Dull Quests, Awful Dialogue, or if you actually want to control your soldiers in a strategy game.
Note: There is also a bug that prevents you from getting 200 Achievement Points when you finish the game.

If the flaws that I mentioned above are just too much, but you still want a strategy game, check out the Fire Emblem series for the Nintendo Systems, the Total War series for the PC, or King's Bounty for the PC.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2009
I am a casual gamer and lover of the RPG genre who feels the genre has lost some of its old charm. This game appealed to me initially because it seemed to be a relatively good-looking game and it seemed to be a tactical RPG (and having never played such a game I was curious). I have played through most of Disc 1 making a point of avoiding the main plot in order to do all the sidequests.

First, the positive:
+ having full control over the camera angle while walking around
+ being able to save anywhere just by accessing the menu
+ very accessible (easy to use menus, etc.)
+ being able to branch off into sidequests
+ being able to avoid enemy encounters (some friends of mine really hate random enemy encounters ... there are none in this game!)
+ no need to heal after every battle (this may be a negative depending on your preferences)
+ semi-decent world map (all the newer RPGs I've played suffer from simplified world maps and this is no exception but it's far better, for instance, than the FFX/X-2 airship-based world maps which you hardly ever use in any meaningful way)

Then, the negative:
- the protagonist is a bit of a selfish brat
- no one puts the protagonist in his place for some reason
- in battles, the camera flies around in a circle very rapidly for no reason and occasionally jerks upward when an enemy is defeated (I've gotten used to this and it doesn't bother me now but your mileage may vary)
- there are arbitrary rules on how many "leaders" and regular units you can have in your party (the rules are relaxed as the plot progresses)
- there is not a lot of variety in the monster designs and most of them get recycled over and over again
- most of the monsters are not visually impressive with the exception of some of the dragons (compare to any FF game where most of the monsters are virtually works of art)
- there are lots of problems with the mechanics of the battles (nothing major but enough to be annoying)
- the graphics are really good but textures often take way too long to load (if you play off the disc and not a harddrive)
- initiating a sidequest often yanks you away right into a dungeon with no warning (no big deal but makes it feel more artificial)
- the story feels immature and uninteresting (so far)
- there are not a lot of NPCs with dialogue in towns
- the dialogue is very minimal and there is no mystery in finding the right people to talk to because anyone with something important to say has a red bubble over their head and anyone else has a blue bubble or no bubble at all (they have nothing to say) which is sort of lacking in that old school mystery and charm if you ask me
- there are no job classes and anyone you recruit can learn anything based on what you tell them (in my experience the Mitra (humans) seem the best overall in terms of stats, the Yama (brawny fish) next best, then the Qsiti (intellectual frogs) who are only occasionally useful sadly); if you don't like magic or specialization or unique skills and favor pure tactical realism, maybe this is not so bad
- the non-leader party members lack individuality (everyone has one unique "joke stat" as far as I can tell but it's a lame attempt at creating individuality as far as I'm concerned ... e.g. "Gustation")
- you are limited in how many leaders you can use (right now I can only use 5 of 12) and MUST use the non-leader grunts
- Combat Arts are neat but Mystic Arts and Item Arts are boring and I get them confused sometimes because they often do the same thing (e.g. heal)
- Combat Arts in the higher levels are just the same animations recycled (e.g. Nimble Smash IV is just Smash) and I can't even keep track of who knows what because all of the Arts are so generic
- underwhelming maps: there is nothing wrong with them, per se, but besides really nice textures and tile floors the overall town and dungeon design is not all that creative or memorable
- the mini-map features and blowup map are really convenient except for bigger maps which require you to scroll (there is a big desert where this is a bit annoying)
- the towns all have the same stock stores and throne rooms (this is a common RPG flaw)

In summary, if you love plot and characters and magic and aesthetics and don't really care about mechanics or tactics one way or the other, you may be better off with Lost Odyssey. If you love tactics and combat and don't really care about story or characters one way or the other, then you may enjoy this game but still notice some of the minor mechanics issues that are listed above. In terms of general adventure, this game does OK. I'm not thrilled with it yet, but then again I'm still on Disc 1 and I take a while to warm up to games. However, I do enjoy the occasional sidequest (there are some funny NPCs along the way) and have been able to branch out a lot from my main objective.

If you like other tactical RPGs, you'll have to be the judge for yourself because this is the first tactical RPG I have played so far. If you are less casual and more hardcore, my hardcore gamer friend who hates traditional JRPGs and loved FFX-2 recommends the Valkyrie Profile series and the Persona series as an alternative. If you're casual and loved FF2 and FF3 and FFX like me, then Lost Odyssey (not to be confused with Last Remnant) is a good bet or FFX (if you have a PS2 and haven't played it).
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2009
With American PS3 JRPG fans a little worried that The Last Remnant may not make its way over to the PS3 after all, it seemed like a good time for me to give some impressions on the game so perhaps you won't be too sad. Despite hearing that it was a very mediocre game with extreme slowdown, I thought the hard drive installation and my love for Bladestorm would have me enjoying the game more than the average gamer. The hard drive installation helps considerably, but whether I enjoy the game or not is still to be determined.

From the screenshots of the game, it looks like your typical Japanese RPG: young male protagonist, generic JRPG heroes and characters, fight screens, towns, etc. As a JRPG fan (completed Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey, and Infinite Undiscovery), I'm actually not one that really enjoys a lot of "innovation" in my JRPGs - let me grind away and find treasures and give me an interesting storyline with entertaining characters and I will love it.

The Last Remnant changes things up a bit, and it's so jarring that I didn't have what it took to see this game through. First of all, the battle system is just crazy. It's no longer managing a bench of a dozen or so characters with only 3-4 in battle at a time, but instead you're managing small squads of heroes and soldiers. It seems like it's possible to command up to 5 squads of 2-5 members each, and you give general commands for each squad as opposed to specific commands such as "Cast Cure" or "Use Special Move X". That in and of itself is fine - I love RTS games after all. But even after a couple hours, I still couldn't understand how the squad battles worked - is there strategy in the combat or is it all fake strategy where your decisions are really pointless?

On top of that, other JRPG mechanics have radically changed here as well. You can save the game at any time (pretty crazy for a JRPG) and after every battle, all your characters are at full health. While these sound like convenient innovations, the one thing that boggles my mind is that there's no actual leveling up of the characters. There's strange formulas that work out based on how you put the characters in the squads, and basically the ideal way to play through the game seems to be to avoid all random encounters altogether so you get stronger later - quite an unintuitive way to play the game as a JRPG fan. Combine that with the fact that most of the game seems mostly about taking on random sidequests in the same levels over and over instead of an overarching adventure, and I think I'm going to put this aside for now and try it later if I'm feeling it again.
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