The Last Remnant Remastered charges onto the Nintendo Switch leaving much to be desired in this lackluster port of a forgotten game. Back in 2008 Square Enix released an exclusive title to the Xbox 360 and I was super jealous being a primarily Nintendo and Sony console gamer. I remember browsing through my local GameStop and checking out the back of the box thinking, “Oh this game looks pretty cool, I hope I get to play it someday.”
Flash-forward to 2019 and Square Enix surprises Nintendo Switch owners with The Last Remnant Remastered, allowing all the gamers who missed out on it the first time another chance to delve into the game, including myself. Unfortunately, now I wish I could go back to the time when I observed this game from afar.
The Last Remnant Remastered is not a bad game, but it’s not necessarily a good game or even a popular game at that, which makes me wonder why Square Enix even decided to port it. As a JRPG it ticks off all the boxes: turn-based battles, a rich world filled with interesting races of human-like creatures, and lots of environments to explore. To my disappointment it doesn’t execute any of these particular things all that well.
Take Rush Sykes, the main hero of the story on a mission to find his sister after she was kidnapped by mysterious beings known as Remnants. If he weren’t voiced by one of my favorite voice actors, Johnny Yong Bosch, I’d hate everything about him. The lines that this character utters are just horrendous and I feel sorry that Johnny ever signed onto this project. To be fair most of the other characters’ voice acting is also hit or miss. It’s difficult to get into a game when the main hero is, at best, an unlikable dope.
The story is fairly predictable and, once again, ticks all the boxes but doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel. After meeting up with the marquis David of the Athlum city-state, Rush embarks on journey much larger than he could have imagined and eventually will be tasked with saving the world. Although this story is quite usual for a JRPG, there are plenty of interesting characters that can be added to your party. I was happy there were plenty of non-human characters like Blockter, a yama (amphibian humanoid), and Pagus, a qsiti (frog humanoid) who are both generals in David’s army.
Perhaps my favorite part of The Last Remnant is the setting. I love high fantasy worlds and it takes heavy inspiration from them. The game closely resembles another Square IP from the same time, Final Fantasy XII. Much like the world of Ivalice, this game is filled with anthropomorphic humanoids lending to its rich world. Because of its close resemblance to FFXII it was easy to see how it pales in comparison to the former. Both games initially released around the same time shaking up the JRPG genre only for one to be universally loved years later and the other being The Last Remnant.
Unlike FFXII there is no open world to explore. Instead every time you exit a city you are shown the world map and can hop to your next desired location. The places you explore are actually quite small for typical JRPG standards and pretty bleak at that. There weren’t too many interesting locales other than the typical cave or ruins areas leaving me a bit disappointed because my favorite part of games like this is the exploration aspect.
The battle system in The Last Remnant is another tedious mess. Instead of commanding three or four characters in a small party, you command a large team that can be broken up into units. The way these units are placed on the command board effects how they will operate in combat. Pairing certain characters in the same unit will power them up and give stat boosts. I had to learn this from online guides because the game does a poor job at explaining this system. It’s never fun when combat is so complicated that in order to understand it I have to read online wikis (and I still don’t really get it that well).
This version of the game offers all of the content previously added in last year’s PlayStation 4 release as well. The ability to speed up battles is a welcome addition for any long game where grinding is a factor. There’s also an option to have every character perform auto critical hits without worrying about performing the correct button input.
Don’t expect to have these options actually make the game easier to complete. The battles are still ridiculously tough and grinding is a complicated mess. I wish that Square had taken the time to actually balance out the enemies so that new players wouldn’t be so turned off by the difficult combat system. It’s one thing when enemies are difficult to beat. It’s another thing when they’re difficult to beat and you have no idea what’s going on.
When the player increases their battle level so do other enemies creating a system that simultaneously discourages level grinding but also forces the player to fight enemies to earn money to hire new party members. Without new party members you can’t progress in the game and the only way to get money is by defeating enemies and selling the loot. See the problem? Pretty soon the enemies get so strong that it’s impossible to defeat them but you have to in order to get strong enough to progress.
The graphics for The Last Remnant Remastered are actually quite nice. They have a late PlayStation 2 era style, which I’m particularly fond of. At least Square Enix put a good effort in making this game look well enough so that it will appeal to new players. The music is standard for this company, complete with pumping battle music and charming city tunes. The presentation and music are almost enough to keep you playing for its long (60+ hours) campaign.
The Last Remnant was almost a forgotten, uh, remnant of its time. It’s nice that Square is committed to remastering and re-releasing their older games, but I’m just not sure whom this one is for. It presented some new ideas that were meant to reinvent the JRPG genre but instead fizzled out into relative obscurity. There’s something here for diehard JRPG fans, but as one myself, you’re much better off skipping this one and playing one of the many other great JRPGs on the Nintendo Switch such as Final Fantasy XII or Xenoblade Chronicles 2, which this game so desperately wishes it could be.
The Last Remnant Remastered Review
- Graphics - 7/107/10
- Sound - 7/107/10
- Gameplay - 5/105/10
- Lasting Appeal - 6/106/10
Final Thoughts: WORTH CONSIDERING
The Last Remnant Remastered is available now for the Nintendo Switch. It’s not a particularly good game but there are a few good ideas throughout, albeit far and few between. With so many other great JRPGs available on the Switch it’s hard to justify why anyone would want this game over any others.