Japanese role-playing games are usually console affairs, that only rarely get ported to PC. This Square Enix game is much better in the PC version though, mainly because the original release was extremely buggy. PC gamers have the luxury of being able to play this RPG as it was meant to be played, as most of the bugs and glitches have been fixed in the PC release.
Square Enix is not known for releasing anything but adequately tested and problem-free games, but when The Last Remnant came out for the Xbox360 it was surprisingly plagued by slow framerates, disappearing textures and several other annoying glitches. Thankfully most of these problems are gone in the PC version, which is great because this game deserves to be played.
In essence, The Last Remnant is an archetypal Japanese RPG, so if you don’t like this genre don’t bother. It has all the ingredients of the classic jRPG – strangely clad androgynous men, turn-based cinematic combat and just about everything else you’d expect from a Final Fantasy game. All of which look stunning in the high resolution, bug-free and fast-loading PC version.
The story in The Last Remnant is fairly generic, or maybe it just feels like that as my expectations are pretty elevated for a Square Enix game. The main character Rush Sykes sets out to rescue his kidnapped sister, but as you would expect he runs into trouble on an epic scale. Remnants are powerful magical items that inspire political conflicts, and if this wasn’t enough an entity known as the Conqueror seeks to.. well, conquer by controlling these remnants. In all, it’s a well-told story though, and it’s enhanced by above average voice acting.
The game’s turn-based combat system differs a bit from the Japanese role-playing game template, since you don’t actually control the individual characters. You control a “union”, which in turn consists of several characters that you have to recruit. The battle union pools the units’ respective HP and abilities before you take them to the battlefield, and this leaves plenty of room for experimenting with different skills and magical abilities as you try to piece together the ultimate fighting union. It has a pretty steep learning curve, but once you get the hang of it it’s really rewarding.
One of the disappointing aspects of The Last Remnant is that there’s not much room for free roaming. Compared to many other games in the genre, this one is fairly linear – there’s no huge world map to explore like in the Final Fantasy series. On the whole, though, The Last Remnant for PC is a highly enjoyable RPG, and if you like the Japanese RPG genre it’s one of a very limited supply of alternatives for the PC in recent years.