Square Enix have announced that they're de-listing offbeat RPG The Last Remnant from Steam soon. Mysteriously stating no reason in their announcement, the publisher and developer say the game will be leaving the storefront on September 4th, although existing owners and those who pick it up now will still be able to play the game after removal. I'm sad to see it go. While the game was not without issue (and frightfully opaque at times), I always considered it one of the studio's more creative and experimental games, and vaguely reminiscent of their SaGa series.
Originally released for the Xbox 360 back in 2008 and 2009 for PC, The Last Remnant is a very different beast to Square Enix's usual RPGs. Set in its own fantasy world with a strange collection of races (including four-armed cat-people and lumbering fish-lizard folk), it was most notable for its strategic combat engine. Rather than control individual characters, you assemble a small army with multiple parties, and rather than have absolute control over their actions, you gave each party broad 'game plan' orders each turn, like "Intercept enemy group D" or "Cast support magic".
While there was a critical path to follow in The Last Remnant, it was more open than many JRPGs of the time, and with a lot of optional quest chains that could be accidentally broken or missed entirely if you went off exploring in the wrong direction. It was rare to see everything the game had to offer in a single playthrough, and had an odd difficulty curve due to a tiered difficulty scaling system that occasionally made things more challenging than they should be. It was also ferociously complex, with its phone-book-sized (and Japanese only) strategy guide not even covering it all.
The PC version added some useful quality-of-life features too, like a Turbo button that lets you fast-forward through combat animations. While a notable improvement, it still couldn't do anything to fix people wanting to strangle teen protagonist Rush, who fits in awkwardly among an otherwise more mature cast. While The Last Remnant was a divisive game (and one of Square Enix's weirdest since Vagrant Story) we can all at least agree that it had a fantastic soundtrack, right? Especially the very prog-metal battle themes, one of which you can hear below.
The Last Remnant will be de-listed on Tuesday, September 4th at 5pm GMT. It currently costs £8/€10/$10 on Steam.