Monday, March 14, 2011

The Last Remnant: Shake it Baby... Or Don't

This weekend, Dragon Age 2 not having arrived in the mail as expected and me still waiting for Rift to dazzle me into loving it (though how it is supposed to do that without me logging in is beyond me) I looked up at my shelf of 360/PS3/Wii(lol) games looking for something to get me through these lonely hours. I came across an RPG I had once purchased, tried but never finished.

I purchased The Last Remnant at exactly the same time I got Infinite Undiscovery (where do they come up with these names, seriously). I tried them both but Infinite Undiscovery finally took the cake. By cake read all my intention and devotion for a few weeks. Cake was tasty. But more on that some other time.

I tried The Last Remnant, whimpering "I'm playing it, I'm playing it" looking puppy-dog-eyed over my shoulder as Mike shot patronizing glances at me. I knew I shouldn't have bought them both and most surely not at the same time. I tried it but not for long, had some 10 hours of playtime that, for a J-RPG with 2 discs, proved to be quite insuficient to get far enough in the game to actually understand what was going on. I had barely unlocked the full menu.

I like how they do that, how they don't tell you all there is to do in the game but rather surprise you as you go along. I think part of it is to prevent you becoming terribly confused with all the menus and functions and possibly ruining your gaming experience by tweaking with things you do not yet understand. Learning curve and all that.

Yes. That is a sword.
It is also a Remnant.

The Last Remnant doesn't have a good story at least not to me and not so far. Main guy is this kid that has a sister and for some reason he's looking for her with what a single-child like me can only describe as a seemingly not very healthy eagerness and he stumbles onto a battlefield. On this battlefield which is some 500 metres away (screeewww the kings feet, metric ftw) he sees a woman. He can tell it's a woman because the indistinct figure in the horizon is wearing a skirt. He decides to dash down the cliff and into the battlefield as he shouts his sister's name. When he reaches her he realises he mistook a 30/40 something year old woman for his 15-ish year old sister. Shock. So they thrust you into a sure-win battle to get you a feel of how battles will proceed 30 hours of playtime later when you can finally use all the menus and then the commander decides to blow everything up so, yeah, everyone should gtfo and hide. You don't, of course, because you're just a kid, shaking the shoulders of an old soldier and crying about your sister. Long story short, soon you find yourself leading the blonde commander guy with the gargantuan gun and all his generals around the world as you try and find your sister.

Oh and tere are remnants which can be anything from boss monsters to treasure chests. These things are relics from a bygone era that must be bound to souls and if they are not hell is unleashed upon an unsuspecting world and... you get the picture. Oh and you also obviously have a pendant left by your sister that makes you very special in some way and everybody wants to help you and get to know you and make sweet love to you because of this.

Throw in some political wannabee-intrigue, an unending chase after the shallowest character in the game and a mysterious villain with a mysterious plot and you've got... this game.

I don't mean to say the game is bad. I don't mean to say the game is good. The game is entertaining enough, at least at times. The music is bareable, excluding the heavy ?rock? tunes they seasoned the battles with. The graphics are decent enough, but you wouldn't expect less from a Square game. The battle system is innovative; I, for one, had never experienced anything similar. But one thing about it completely turns me off.

I'm not sure this has anything to do with it but the game runs on Unreal Engine. Loading times are somewhat excessive but hey, I'm used to WAR's loading times so that I can handle. The battles, however, stutter along and the fps rate is horrid. Textures take a while to load but, again, used to WAR's texture issues. But that's not even the worse of it. What really makes me want to never pick this game up again is the way they walk.


See, the way that male humans (or Mitras as they call them, which, personally, I found hillarious because "mitra" can be used to refer to several different types of hat, the spiritual power of the pope or a really unsavoury character) move their abdominal muscles when they walk is simply... pathetic. More than pathetic, it's annoying, it's revolting, it pisses me off to no end. Like their bodies evolved so they were born with accordion bellies. sfrgasdadjGAAAAARGH!

After they sent me on a quest to find some poles in a VERY large desert and then activate them in a specific sequence and then chase ghost boy through the sand dunes and receive my reward of rock (which even the quest comissioner did not want) I decided to take yet another break of a few years from the game.

But Rift wasn't speaking to me. So I snuggled in bed with cookies, coke (the drinking kind), smokes and kitteh to watch girly shows. That made me feel a lot better.

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