A Fresh Look at the RPG Classic The Last Remnant Remastered

Hello dear readers and thank you for joining me in celebration. For the rest of this year, and possibly into next, I want to celebrate my time at Game Industry News. And there is no better way to start than by sharing a breakthrough I have recently achieved. Longtime readers (and every one of my annoyed friends) know I love Square Enix’s classic RPG The Last Remnant. I have mentioned it in many columns as one of my favorite RPGs of all time.

For the past year, I have promised myself that I would earn the PlayStation platinum trophy for the remastered version of The Last Remnant. As you probably know, platinum trophies are normally only given out when someone has earned every single other trophy that a game offers. For The Last Remnant, it has been a difficult road, but I am about to earn that trophy finally, and I wanted to celebrate and talk about what I enjoy so much about it. Maybe talking about it will convince you all to purchase it as well. Additionally, I want to show you all why I needed to sink so many hours into The Last Remnant.

The Last Remnant has a pretty tarnished reputation to overcome. Initially, it was released for the Xbox 360 and proceeded to bug out and kill numerous Xbox 360 consoles. Mine was killed and got the infamous red ring of death after playing it, and the same thing happened to GiN Columnist Vincent Mahoney. When he got his Xbox 360 fixed, he went back to try playing it again only to find out that a critical quest was not populating. So, that was not a great look for the game to be honest. To this day, Vincent still will not touch The Last Remnant no matter how much I advocate on its behalf.

I’ll skip over the battle system as I have discussed it ad nauseam in previous Fresh Look columns and GiN Lounge podcasts. Instead, I want to talk about how The Last Remnant avoided mistakes made by other Japanese RPG titles. As I am approaching the last boss, I can still get in and out of a battle in about three minutes. By contrast, near the end of Tales of Arise, the battles were starting to take ten minutes or even longer to complete. Tales of Arise just raised the enemy’s health to a ridiculous level without increasing the actual challenge level. And this made me stop playing it, despite enjoying it up to that point because the battles became tedious and time consuming.

The only time I grew frustrated with The Last Remnant was when I needed an item to unlock a weapon upgrade. The enemy that was holding it was a rare monster and the item only had a 3% drop rate. After a while, I could feel myself getting frustrated but finally got it and everything was better. Also, this is an old school RPG where you need the wiki open because you will miss a lot of content and story otherwise, and The Last Remnant does not apologize for that. It reminded me how old school titles used to put very little effort in making sure players didn’t miss anything.

While the story itself is not bad, the world really drew me in. I would like to see more titles or even an animated series set in The Last Remnant world. The characters you meet (like Nora, Khrynia, and Caedmon) are unique. Learning about how Nora was experimented on or how Caedmon took over a vigilante group after a mentor was murdered are the sort of backstories that could be the basis of titles set in The Last Remnant world themselves.

Then there is the AI and item claiming system. Rather than making you optimize everyone’s equipment, they have characters claiming items after battle or asking for items on the world map. I liked this mechanic because unlike modern games, I didn’t have to constantly stop and adjust everyone’s pants and tie their shoes for them. With the 38 people in my party for The Last Remnant, that would have taken forever. That item automation really makes things go more smoothly, and the technology behind it was really advanced for its time.

So now, I am likely a few hours away from my crowning achievement in The Last Remnant, earning that infamous platinum trophy, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I have spent so many hours on this goal, and now it might be over. I guess the best way to describe this feeling is melancholy. I feel happy about the achievement for sure, but then I will likely not look at The Last Remnant again after so many hours and the one hundred percent achievement. At the end of the day, I probably should allot that time for other hobbies, but I wanted to pen this column to write about my excitement.

The Last Remnant has provided me with unparalleled happiness lately. I got back into it while recovering from my foot surgery and have been nonstop living in its world ever since. Even as there were days where life felt like too much, I had The Last Remnant to get me through it. I’m thankful to Square Enix and Sony for remastering it and putting it on the PlayStation. If you haven’t yet, please give The Last Remnant a try, especially if you have some free time during the upcoming holiday. And by the way, I wish you all a wonderful Turkey Day and hope you get some good gaming in.

And no, sadly, I have still not beaten Final Fantasy XIII.

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