The Last Remnant Remastered is a polished re-release of Square Enix’s multiplatform role-playing game from 2008. The game received a mixed response from critics back then, mostly for its different approach to turn-based combat that was more complex than other JRPGs. But does this return to the world of Mitras and Yamas on the PlayStation 4 change up anything from the original release of the game for the better? While the presentation of The Last Remnant is much better and there are a few small quality of life additions, everything else is mostly the same.
With the jump onto the PlayStation 4, the visuals and effects in The Last Remnant look pretty good. That doesn’t mean that the difference here is a huge leap, however, The Last Remnant still looks like a game developed back on the PlayStation 3. But character models look cleaner and brightened up in some areas. The environments you can roam around within the world can at times look a little generic, despite the action that might be happening within them.
Towns, on the other hand, look a bit more lively and detailed with all the buildings, NPCs walking around, and spots you can interact with. Once in a while however you can run into an area where everyone and everything does look to be standing idly by without much movement, which may or may not be a product from the time the original game was released. It would’ve been nice to see a little effort go into making sections like these fixed up for the remaster, but it’s a small nitpick compared to what was done everywhere else.
Besides the visual changes, The Last Remnant Remastered also has a few small changes during gameplay that some fans might appreciate. While roaming around in an open area, you can now run by holding down one of the triggers, which is great for exploring or trying to sneak around certain areas. Other small additions include markers on the map with locations for important characters and interactive objects. For combat and Unions, you can now have a normal soldier become a leader unit when customizing your party. But the best addition to combat would have to be the ability to speed up battles, which will make the long dragged out skirmishes feel a bit easier to deal with.
The story is a mixed bag of good and bad, so if you’ve played the game already then you know what to expect here. While the characters who appear look interesting and have some great moments, the overall plot can at times get a little confusing. Rush, the main character in the story of The Last Remnant, gets caught up in a very wide conflict that happens to involve his sister and their parents, which might come off as a little too coincidental at times. Other events throughout the story often tend to make things a bit more complicated, especially when they come off as a bit forced in order to progress the plot and underline the importance of what is happening to the whole cast. Anyone that’s OK with some Japanese role-playing game tropes being recycled and a bit obvious here, as well as how much info the game drops on you early on, then you might be fine with following through The Last Remnant’s story to the end.
One of the most difficult parts to get into with The Last Remnant is the turn-based combat, even with all of the new changes in the remaster. Unlike other role-playing games with simple turns between the player and enemies, The Last Remnant adds a lot more layers that overly complicate the battle system. Groups of allies are known as Unions and depend on a morale gauge at the top of the screen to dictate their strength in combat, which is stacked on top of individual stats.
This is only made more complex with battles having instances of Deadlock and Flanking, which allow you or enemies to deal more damage and take additional attacks during their turns. If this sounds confusing, it’s because it really is and the game is heavily dependent on it. Unions and the various states of a battle attempt to add a bit more strategy to the turn-based combat, but it can become a very big hindrance even for those that might have a good grasp on it. Rush and company might have decent stats and equipment before going into battle, but can also be decimated easily if you aren’t careful to mind the status of Unions and the attacks you execute.
Eventually, in later portions of the game, other JRPG staples become available that add more layers to the combat. This includes things like summons and party customization, which is referred to as Conjurations and Union placements in The Last Remnant. While these aren’t bad by any means, they fail to alleviate the overly complicated nature of battles that most people will harp on. By the time one gains access to more of these abilities and options, you will either be incredibly well-versed with Unions or still thrown for a loop.
Early on, The Last Remnant has many tutorials and help messages that try to walk you through combat, with each step focusing on a different aspect, but it still can be much for anyone to take in. Despite all of this, not having the emphasis on Unions would make The Last Remnant feel more like any other standard JRPG with turn-based combat, effectively taking away what makes the game so different. For some players, however, something like this might actually make the game a bit more fun and less confusing to play through.
The Last Remnant Remastered is good for anyone who enjoyed the original game back in 2008. There are some positive changes to the game that fans will appreciate, but they only go so far. The visuals are much better and allow the signature Square Enix presentation to shine on the PlayStation 4, but the combat may get in the way of your enjoyment with the game’s plot. If you never played The Last Remnant when it first released, this is the best version of the game to experience even though you’ll have to look past a few things to fully appreciate it.
This review is based on a digital review code of The Last Remnant Remastered for the PlayStation 4, provided by Square Enix.