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vinraith
11-09-2011, 12:03 AM
So, being in the mood for something quick and tactical with RPG elements, I decided I'd give the Last Remnant demo a try again. After running around in town for a bit, at a loss as to what to do, I headed out to find something to kill. Watching/interacting with the combat, at this point, reminds me a great deal of the "Chinpokomon" episode of South Park, I am utterly baffled by what the hell is going on on screen. There seem to be very few actual decisions to be made, with only two "groups" each choosing a single action, but the likelihood that I'm missing something (more likely many, many things) is extremely high.

So, long story short, can someone tell me how the hell to play this thing? I seems like it has the capacity to be interesting, but I can't make heads or tails of it and the demo doesn't seem very interested in explaining much of anything.

Casimir Effect
11-09-2011, 12:58 AM
... explaining it is kind of hard. Let's try like this and hope it sounds appealing:

Normal JRPG games (or party-based RPGs in general) have singular characters making up the party. The Last Remnant (TLR) instead has singular Unions making up and army, where the Unions are composed of 1-5 characters. By grouping characters together it means you don't issue individual orders to the Union, rather you give a general order such as: Attack (normal attack moves), Attack using Weapons Arts (uses AP to power various weapon-based moves for various people in the Union), Attack using Magic Arts (uses AP to power various magic-based moves for various people in the Union), etc (sometimes Item Arts will be used [these can be healing herbs, enhancing potions, bombs, that sort of thing], sometimes healing Arts, sometimes superawesome moves).

In the game, you start only being allowed to make 2 Unions (I think) and have a limit of 3(?) characters. This will increase throughout the game by doing Main Quest missions up to having 5 Unions with up to 18 characters distributed between them. Characters in Unions are arranged into Formations, of which you will find more and more throughout the game, which give different bonuses and are each better suited to different situations. If you get your ass handed to you in a fight it is entirely possible to win it immediately upon reloading if you try more suitable Formations (eg. against something that uses lots of magic that typically does area effect damage, try using a Formation which spreads the people out or gives increases Magic Defense).

The availability of actions your Unions can perform relies on various factors: Union composition, available AP, position on battlefield, enemy targeted and, most importantly, morale. Morale can be controlled to a certain extent when various arts become available or when you have more Unions so can Flank Attack. Otherwise, if you have high morale then your better moves will often be open and the enemy will be more constrained by their corresponding low morale. However, in true JRPG fashion (reminiscent of Limit Breaks) having low morale can often enable your people to use their most devastating moves in order to "turn the tide". This means you're never beaten until your last Union drops dead.

This is already getting too long, and I could keep going for ages. The wiki (http://lastremnant.wikia.com/wiki/The_Last_Remnant_Wiki_-_The_Last_Remnant_Guide is a great place to go for help, although a bit lacking when it comes to introductory material. I've never tried the demo but I can imagine it being very lacking in all areas just because this game is massive. One recommendatino I'd immediately make is to play it with a gamepad (360 controller preferably). It makes the QTEs far more fun/simpler and it controls better in general.

If there's anything specific you want to know then just ask. I've put several hundred hours into the game and am well aware it has a Marmite-style appeal; even though I love it I realise it is both confusing and still baffles me at times so I understand why some just don't have time for it.

icupnimpn2
11-09-2011, 01:11 AM
Sounds a bit like Ogre Battle, where you give directives to squads rather than choosing individual actions of characters. Is it like Ogre Battle? Is it?

Casimir Effect
11-09-2011, 01:18 AM
I have heard it is, in fact, the spiritual successor to Ogre Battle and Romancing SaGa (and apparently something called "Soul Nomad And The World Eaters", which sounds fantastic). I haven't played either of those so can't back that up though, but TV Tropes says so.

vinraith
11-09-2011, 01:45 AM
Deep is good and I don't mind confusing, I'm just trying to get a handle on it. The appearance at present is of something very simplistic, actually, with very few decisions and virtually no tactical options. The demo appears to be set in the early/middle part of the game but not at the actual beginning. Your explanation is helpful, thank you, I'll try to drum up some specific questions when I have time to tinker with it again.

Oh, I can think of one right now actually: what IS up with the QTE's?

I've been playing with a 360 controller (didn't have one the last time I tried this and quickly gave up in frustration at the controls, with the 360 pad it plays just fine though). I'll have a look through the wiki. Thanks again, Casimir.

Zyrden
11-09-2011, 05:49 AM
The unions part is like Ogre battle I suppose, but the actual battles are more like RPG's. There's a button for being able to see specifically what attacks you are choosing between, instead of generic descriptions. Gives more control I find.

The quick time events(if that's what QTE stands for) are basically for combo attacking. If you do it right for one attack, the next ally will get to act immediately. If you get all of them right, you'll be able to use all your guys before the enemy makes a move. Not entirely sure on this, but I think your attacks are guaranteed to hit as well.

Haven't played for hundreds of hrs, or even beaten the game yet, but it's definitely one of my favorites. Even if it is still confusing at times.

Casimir Effect
11-09-2011, 11:06 AM
The beginning of the game would be a big battle involving some people on a plain, then you - as Rush - fall down a hole with Emma and the tutorial is the fight out. Then you head off to Athlum for more tutorial & some proper quests. Is this anything like the demo? I just bought the game for about 10 off Amazon a couple of years back now then discovered to my joy it was Steamworks and loads of fun.

Pressing 'X' will show what each character will do for the Command selected. This is necessary to do in every fight really as the game levels up your characters Arts through using them in battle (actually by merely giving the command to use them - if the enemy is dead before they get to hit with, for example, 'Spark' then the 'Spark' move will still gain some way towards its next level).

As the guy above said, the quick time events effect your unions actions. Succeeding will move all your characters up the list of Who gets to attack next, which is often incredibly important and will save your ass, and success will also mean your attack will hit in part at least and it will often do more damage. They can actually be turned off if you don't like them but they were something I really enjoyed about the combat because it gave some extra interactivity in a simple way.

The game is definitely quite simplistic right at the start when the number of characters/unions you're allowed is few and they don't have many Arts. But this quickly changes after pursuing the main quest a bit when you're allowed to have 4 Unions and 12 people (it goes higher, but this is the point you can start to have bigger fights and more variation in things). Unlocking the healing arts (especially the resurrection herb Art) is what really opens things up and can lead to taking on bosses in battles which last 30mins+ where you almost die many many times. There can be some good fights at the start too but, as you say, there are few tactical options.

Malawi Frontier Guard
11-09-2011, 01:36 PM
"Soul Nomad And The World Eaters"

As an aside, I've actually started playing this just last week. It's turn-based Ogre Battle as developed by Nippon Ichi. In fact, this might have been the entire design document. What do you mean I can beat up this random shopkeeper and dominate him to join my party?

arathain
11-09-2011, 09:05 PM
I should just point out that, while I want to like and get into the Last Remnant, 2 things put me off. Firstly, the start is slow, and it seems to be a long while before complex tactical options really open up.

Secondly, the main character is infuriatingly stupid and oblivious. He's terrifically rude and self centered not because he's a jerk (he's actually a pretty nice guy) but because he's too thick to know better. He's tough to put up with.

cosmicolor
11-09-2011, 09:22 PM
Some Last Remnant trivia: Square-Enix originally planned to have two playable characters, one for Japan (Rush) and one for the West (The Conquerer, aka the guy in red coat on the cover of the PC version of the game, would consider this a spoiler if he wasn't on said cover), but this idea fell through, only to return in console rpg Nier, also by Square Enix.

And that's my contribution to this thread, other than to say that I too enjoyed the demo to an extent.

Drinking with Skeletons
13-09-2011, 04:39 PM
The Last Remnant is a weird, weird game. I've never beaten it, but I have poured something like fifty or sixty hours into it. It has a tremendous amount of extra material, including sidequests, extra dungeons, and bonus characters. It's also surprisingly visceral for a JRPG, with lots of meaty violence. But it never really clicks, because the battle system never stops feeling luck-based. Yeah, you can stack the odds by mixing and matching characters and unions, but you will always feel your options are at the whim of the game's inscrutable algorithms. Still, it's worth giving a shot, if for no other reason than it really is trying to do something different; the worst thing that happens is you're out ten bucks.

SPOILER, sort of: The game also features a hefty dose of homoeroticism that it hilariously tries to avoid making explicit. It serves, in its way, as an example of how to include a romantic relationship in a game without it dragging down the plot, and I actually wish it had had the balls to make it a little more front and center rather than just maintain game-long sexual tension.

Casimir Effect
13-09-2011, 11:25 PM
The Last Remnant is a weird, weird game. I've never beaten it, but I have poured something like fifty or sixty hours into it. It has a tremendous amount of extra material, including sidequests, extra dungeons, and bonus characters. It's also surprisingly visceral for a JRPG, with lots of meaty violence. But it never really clicks, because the battle system never stops feeling luck-based. Yeah, you can stack the odds by mixing and matching characters and unions, but you will always feel your options are at the whim of the game's inscrutable algorithms. Still, it's worth giving a shot, if for no other reason than it really is trying to do something different; the worst thing that happens is you're out ten bucks.

SPOILER, sort of: The game also features a hefty dose of homoeroticism that it hilariously tries to avoid making explicit. It serves, in its way, as an example of how to include a romantic relationship in a game without it dragging down the plot, and I actually wish it had had the balls to make it a little more front and center rather than just maintain game-long sexual tension.

Trust me the luck perception disappears after enough playtime with the game. It takes a while but you slowly build up an idea of how everything is fitting together and especially how much of a role Morale plays in the battles. True you never have the 100% control that you would get by, say, being able to give commands to individual characters based on the available AP. But that just wouldn't work in the battle system, or would take a long time and remove a lot of what is fun about it.


Continuation of the SPOILER, sort of:
About the homoeroticism: my first playthrough was done using Japanese voices and English subtitles (not out of any particular preference it's just some of the voices bugged the hell out of me) and there was NO hint of sexual/romantic tension between Rush and David (what I assume you were talking about). In fact the impression you get is that David will be hitting on Irena. But when I started a newgame+ I went for the English dubbing to see the difference (and it doesn't grate on me so much anymore) and you're right, there is something there. But it's very much one-sided, to the point where I'd say there is actually a love triangle between David->Rush->Emmy->David. The main problem I have with TLR is that there needed to be more story, and that's not something you can often accuse a JRPG of being short of. There's tonnes of content and a lot of world-building but not enough story to go with it, which is one of the great videogame shames of recent times.

Vexing Vision
14-09-2011, 07:35 AM
I love the Last Remnant, if it weren't for Rush. Most of the other characters are nice and interesting, but I was seriously put off by having to play a spoiled brat which I couldn't even kill off, because he was supposed to be me.

I enjoyed playing Ruby from WET a lot more than I enjoyed playing Rush, which I think says everything.

Drinking with Skeletons
14-09-2011, 05:24 PM
Trust me the luck perception disappears after enough playtime with the game. It takes a while but you slowly build up an idea of how everything is fitting together and especially how much of a role Morale plays in the battles. True you never have the 100% control that you would get by, say, being able to give commands to individual characters based on the available AP. But that just wouldn't work in the battle system, or would take a long time and remove a lot of what is fun about it.


Continuation of the SPOILER, sort of:
About the homoeroticism: my first playthrough was done using Japanese voices and English subtitles (not out of any particular preference it's just some of the voices bugged the hell out of me) and there was NO hint of sexual/romantic tension between Rush and David (what I assume you were talking about). In fact the impression you get is that David will be hitting on Irena. But when I started a newgame+ I went for the English dubbing to see the difference (and it doesn't grate on me so much anymore) and you're right, there is something there. But it's very much one-sided, to the point where I'd say there is actually a love triangle between David->Rush->Emmy->David. The main problem I have with TLR is that there needed to be more story, and that's not something you can often accuse a JRPG of being short of. There's tonnes of content and a lot of world-building but not enough story to go with it, which is one of the great videogame shames of recent times.

Interesting. I had heard that at the end of the game, the Japanese version has Rush say something to the effect of "Back to him," which would imply he wants to return to David. I had assumed that the subtext was a lot less sub in the original and had been downplayed for the dubbed version. As for the one-sided thing, I never got any vibe from Emmy, although maybe I didn't play enough. That said, one of Rush's (canned?) lines in response to an ingredients request from David is "Anything for you," which I found to be pretty telling.

arathain
15-09-2011, 03:39 AM
It is an rather pretty game. I like the fights that look a bit more like fights than most games. The big clangy parries don't happen often enough- I find them satisfying.

Whitmore
15-09-2011, 08:11 AM
Reading this thread is making me want to reinstall and finally finish the game. My main problem was the lead, Rush. I want to stab him in the face repeatedly. Would've been quite awesome if they had done a Nier like character for the European lead, though. Ah well.

The combat system was just.. different, and fun. As were the pretty good visuals(Why don't we get more PC J-RPG releases?) and I remember the music being good, too.

Drinking with Skeletons
15-09-2011, 05:00 PM
Why don't we get more PC J-RPG releases?

My initial exposure to Final Fantasy VII was on the PC. They also released FFVIII on the PC, though apparently it wasn't a very good port. Development costs and install base sizes probably made console exclusivity a wise choice for JRPG devs during the PS1/PS2 era, but with rising development costs we'll hopefully see more options. The fact that FFXIII and Nier weren't exclusive to one console is a step in the right direction, and Square-Enix is certainly publishing a decent number of PC titles.

Whitmore
15-09-2011, 05:18 PM
My actual first J-RPG experince was via a SNES emulator with Chrono Trigger(Had a SNES. Never had it. Go figure) But I'd love to have seen Nier on PC. I adore Nier and it's.. uniqueness, and would've loved a PC version, but alas! Technically, we have both Wii and PS2 J-RPG's on PC, via emulation. It's not the same, but it's something.

Still, Sqaure if you ever see this.. Please, publish stuff on the PC. We love you really.

Casimir Effect
15-09-2011, 07:33 PM
Interesting. I had heard that at the end of the game, the Japanese version has Rush say something to the effect of "Back to him," which would imply he wants to return to David. I had assumed that the subtext was a lot less sub in the original and had been downplayed for the dubbed version. As for the one-sided thing, I never got any vibe from Emmy, although maybe I didn't play enough. That said, one of Rush's (canned?) lines in response to an ingredients request from David is "Anything for you," which I found to be pretty telling.

Rush does say "Back to him" I think, which I think confused me a little bit but just put it down to them having become so close in a brotherly way. There's a chance that I just missed all the hints entirely on my subtitled playthrough; the English dub has David using quite a camp voice so things become a bit more obvious. If there was anything I'd still say it was very one-sided with David doing all the work as, aside from that very final quote, Rush doesn't seem to reciprocate much. Fascinating relationship though.

To everyone else: yes, Rush is a bit of a prick initiall and for a good half the game after that. But then something happens. Something so rare in games: a character evolves. He starts to become less whiny and more pragmatic. Takes more responsibility but assumes less self-pity. It's actually pretty impressive once you notice it, and noticing is the hardest part seeing as so few games have character arcs (off the top of my head I can only think of the Prince of Persia games Sands of Time and the reboot whose Princes subtly change to a decent extent during the game).
So in other words: he gets better.

I agree with the game being beautiful, although the V-sync problems sometimes make me want to punch a kitten and mean nHancer is a must. The look of the moves, the blocking, parrying and dodging, and the way the models all seem to interact seemlessly is all very impressive and goes towards making the battles so appealing for me.
Like you I wish there were more PC JRPG releases. There were rumours that FF XIII would be making it's way to PC but that seems to have disappeared.
My first JRPG was Grandia 2 on the Dreamcast and I tracked down the PC copy 2 years ago and had a lot of fun playing through it again. Great game and highly recommended.

cosmicolor
16-09-2011, 01:00 AM
(Why don't we get more PC J-RPG releases?)

The reason is that the PC, while not quite dead, has a tiny presence in Japan, seeing mostly indie releases (aka Doujin). This is more so since Koei and Falcom, the two devs in Japan who took the PC seriously as a platform, have both practically ditched it now.

deano2099
16-09-2011, 02:32 AM
The more confusing question is why The Last Remnant, of all Square/Enix's games, got the PC port. Seems a bizarre choice, especially as it got a muted reception on console.

Malawi Frontier Guard
16-09-2011, 03:34 AM
Probably because it uses the Unreal engine, which was an experiment by the company to reduce development costs. They weren't happy with how it turned out for them though for various reasons, so they dropped the engine.

deano2099
16-09-2011, 12:32 PM
Ahh, interesting. Thanks.

arathain
17-09-2011, 03:23 PM
This is really growing on me. I just fought that really big fight early on where David and his generals have a big scrap with some chaps at the entrance to the cave, led by Interesting Tatoos Man. Really fun, tense fight, with chaos and reinforcements and great animations. I can see when they actually give me a proper army to work with (rather than just three chaps right now) I'll be spending lots of time arranging them in interesting ways.

It's interesting how much you're expected to work for the game bit to get complex and interesting in games of this type. Anyhow, I put up with Squall in FFVIII and ended up finding his relationship with Rinoa and his subsequent growing humanity really touching. I guess I can give Rush a chance- Rush is only inadvertently a jerk, and he seems to mean well.

cosmicolor
17-09-2011, 03:40 PM
The more confusing question is why The Last Remnant, of all Square/Enix's games, got the PC port. Seems a bizarre choice, especially as it got a muted reception on console.

That's partly because the game supposedly ran awfully on console unless you installed the game - slowdown, texture pop-in, long loading times, the works. The demo of the PC version, though was pretty smooth to me and general wisdom suggests that it's by far the superior version.

Perhaps I should actually buy the full game if I get the JRPG bug again.

Drinking with Skeletons
17-09-2011, 04:18 PM
The demo of the PC version, though was pretty smooth to me and general wisdom suggests that it's by far the superior version.


If I remember correctly, it also seamlessly switches from gamepad to keyboard controls if you plug in/remove a controller. I know some people here loathe the idea of using a controller with a PC, but there are some games (and this is one) where the gamepad really feels like the most elegant way to play. That the PC is the best-performing platform is the real message to take away here.

Whitmore
17-09-2011, 05:14 PM
It's definently a game I personally prefer to play using my 360 controller, if only because it was originally designed -for- consoles, whereas a lot of ports were designed alongside or at the same time for PC, too.

Casimir Effect
17-09-2011, 05:24 PM
Tried keyboard but it didn't feel right. This handles like a dream with a controller plus you get the benefit of being able to sit back and put your feet up while playing it.

The 360 version of the game is just a joke: draw distance was tiny, textures could take 30seconds+ to load, long load times unless you installed it, and an often-poor frame rate.
PC version is the definitive one where the game runs beautifully, has far more graphics options (although the Frame Rate Limiter ones don't work and you'll still get tearing unless you force VSync), and has all the DLC added. They also changed gameplay to let you have as many of the more interesting Leader-type characters in your party as you want. And they tweaked many of the characteristics of the characters, weapons, Arts, enemies (some have 4x more HP as standard in the PC version) and quests.

But the game had a bad launch where people regarded the 360 version as indicative of the game and the PC version was mostly ignored in reviews and everywhere really. So Square seem to have dropped it and any other PC JRPG plans.

arathain
18-09-2011, 08:17 PM
Ah, I remember why I quit the first time. I'd gotten through an couple of big fights preceded by some very long unskippable cutscenes after several attempts, then forgot to save, and lost it when I died trying to do something else. The cut-scenes had been so long and so terribly unskippable that I'd gone off to do something else that wasn't so annoying and never came back. This time I got past that bit and saved.

Is there some arcane key combination that skips cutscenes? Are all the boss fights preceded by such long ones?

Casimir Effect
18-09-2011, 09:57 PM
They're all skippable as far as I know. For 360 controller press Start to pause during the cutscene (or whatever the pause button/key is) and then I think Select will skip it. It says on the Pause screen which button/key will skip it.

arathain
20-09-2011, 07:59 PM
Dear Casimir Effect,

You are the best thing ever for today.

All the best,

Arathain