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The Last Remnant

The Last Remnant

The Last Remnant

The Last Remnant is a role-playing video game developed and published by Square Enix. The game is directed at both Japanese and Western audiences and had a simultaneous release in Japan, North America and Europe, on November 20, 2008 for the Xbox 360. It was released worldwide for Microsoft Windows in late March and received an international release through digital retailer Steam on April 9, 2009. A PlayStation 3 version was originally announced, but was never released. The game is set in a fictional world divided into multiple city-states inhabited by four different species and has "Remnants", mysterious and coveted ancient artifacts of varying shapes and sizes which uses magic powers, and a war sparked by a secret group high up in the academy and The Conqueror, and the search by Rush Sykes for his sister. It features a unique battle system in which the player command multiple groups, or "unions", of characters rather than individual units.

The game was directed by Hiroshi Takai and was the first game developed by Square Enix to use the Unreal Engine 3. It was intended by Square Enix president Yoichi Wada to "become a cornerstone for worldwide strategy". Art direction was overseen by chief artist Kimihiko Miyamae and art producer Yusuke Naora. The game's soundtrack was composed by Tsuyoshi Sekito with assistance by Yasuhiro Yamanaka. It was later released as a three-disc album. The design and dialogue of the game were created to appeal to international players as well as Japanese players, and the motion capture for the main characters, including the lip-syncing, was done with Western, English-speaking actors.

The game received a weak reception by reviewers, though it was better received by Japanese reviewers than by Western ones. A common complaint, especially in the original Xbox 360 release, was of graphical problems including low framerates and "texture pop-in" where higher resolution textures would suddenly replace lower ones several seconds after a scene had started. Other issues included complaints about the game's storyline and battle system, though these were not as universal. The Last Remnant received praise for its art direction and music.

The Last Remnant Plot

The game opens with Rush running through a forest, trying to find his sister Irina, who the player later learns has been kidnapped. He comes across an army led by David opposing an army of monsters, and at the battle's conclusion rushes forward as he sees Emma in the crowd. After he generates a powerful shield with his Remnant pendant, he is interrogated by David and his generals, who decide to help him find Irina. When investigating a Remnant that is about to collapse, Rush and company come across Wagram and Irina, who escape. After chasing Wagram and Irina for several missions, the group attends the Congress meeting of the leaders of the city-states in Elysion, home to the Ark Remnant, which can transport users to the Sacred Lands. The city is also home to the Academy, a research institution devoted to studying Remnants, and the place where Rush's parents work. The Conqueror arrives at the Congress, and, after binding the Ark, demands to be given a massive Remnant of the type that each city-state has. After finding only Rush's mother, the group learns that the Conqueror, with his demands rejected, has started a war and is marching his army with the support of the "God-Emperor", a 1000-year-old legendary figure.

David decides to take the lead in opposing the Conqueror in hopes of earning independence for Athlum, which is currently a vassal state to the city of Celapaleis. The party succeeds in stopping the Conqueror's army from attacking Celapaleis, but the Conqueror himself attacks Athlum in their absence. He kills Emma, who had remained behind to defend the city, and takes the massive Remnant of Athlum, shrinking it to a normal-sized sword. The party then returns to Elysion to rescue Irina from Wagram. Irina is revealed to have a special power, that of unbinding bound Remnants, and it was for this reason that she was kidnapped. They discover that Hermeien is trying to use the Conqueror and Wagram to spark distrust in the people for Remnants and the city-states' ability to control them, so that he can then use Irina and her power to prop himself up as supreme ruler. While the party are successful in retaking Irina and killing Hermeien, Wagram escapes while revealing that he and the Conqueror never planned to support Hermeien. Confronted by the Conqueror, Irina uses Nagapur's Remnant to protect her brother, destroying half of the city in the process.

Four months later, the player learns that the council city-states are now trying to find Remnants all around the world to use to fight the Conqueror, who is in turn binding and transforming the Remnants of the city-states, even those that are already bound. Rush's mother and father, once found, reveal that their research at the academy had been to create tablets that can transform Remnants, and it is through one of these that Wagram stole that the Conqueror is able to do so. When the party travels to the God-Emperor's city, Undelwalt, to try to determine why he is supporting the Conqueror, they find Wagram, who tells them that the Conqueror is a Remnant himself. Wagram and the God-Emperor are supporting him in his quest to destroy the people of the world, who are misusing Remnants and destroying the balance of the world.

The group heads to Elysion, which is under attack by the Conqueror's forces. The Conqueror ascends the Ark and binds it so that no one can follow him; after defeating his army, the protagonists find a second Ark, even though no duplicate Remnants have ever been found. The party chases the Conqueror through the Sacred Lands, which are revealed to be the birthplace of Remnants, and confronts him. He informs them that he is trying to release Remnants from the control of man, and that the task was originally supposed to be Rush's, as he is also a Remnant. He believes that their purpose is to take back the Remnants from the world that in his opinion is misusing them for warfare and destruction and allow them in turn to destroy the people of the world. Rush disagrees, and instead destroys the source of the Remnants, sacrificing himself. The game then ends, as the Remnants all around the world dissolve, but after the credits, Rush is heard talking with the Conqueror, saying: "I'm going back. They're waiting for me."

The Last Remnant Gameplay

The game is split between a world area, a battle area, and a world map. The player controls Rush Sykes, the protagonist, and moves him around the world screen within an area, with the camera floating behind and slightly above him. Within the world screen, the player may talk to NPCs, enter buildings and other areas, or exit to the map screen. The map screen allows instant travel between different cities and areas, or between different areas within a city. The battle screen is shown only during combat, and is a three-dimensional area like the world screen with a setting reminiscent of the location the player is at in the world. There are no random encounters; instead, the player enters a battle and separate battle screen when they touch an enemy on the main world screen. The player may choose to enter a battle with multiple enemies at once by activating a "time-shift" system in which time slows down and they may run up to multiple enemies before commencing the battle.

The game features a battle system labeled by director Hiroshi Takai as a "turn-based, command-based system using symbol encounters." During a battle, each enemy from the world screen is represented by a group, or "union", of enemies ranging from one to five individual units; similarly the player's forces are composed of multiple unions of three to five units each. The skills of the units in the player's unions, which include both story characters and hireable units that do not appear outside of battle, vary according to different parameters. One parameter is the "morale" bar, which is affected by the events in battle and can have positive or negative effects on the battle forces. Each unit can also learn different attacks, which are divided into categories such as blade attacks and healing magic. At the beginning of each turn the player selects from a group of choices what attack types each union will perform; the player is unable to select the individual attack of each unit. Special attacks require "action points", which continually accrue during each battle. The player selects at the beginning of each turn which enemy union each of their unions will attack. As the enemy makes their selections at the same time, it is possible for a union to be "deadlocked", or forced to fight a different union than the player or enemy had selected. When multiple unions are deadlocked onto the same enemy, some of the unions can flank the enemy or attack from the rear for extra damage.

In addition to battles, there are numerous quests which the player may undertake. Many of these quests take the player to an area immediately upon acceptance and return them once completed, while "guild quests" do not require acceptance and may be turned in by the player whenever the accomplishments listed in the quest are completed. Rush and the other units may equip many different weapons and items. Rush's equipment can be upgraded to many different options, while other units request materials to upgrade their own equipment, which can be purchased at stores, acquired in battles, or found in the world area using a creature called Mr. Diggs. Mr. Diggs can be upgraded as well to find more or higher quality materials.

SettingThe game is set in a fictional world featuring a number of distinct humanoid races: the Mitras, human in appearance, the Yamas, strong fish-like people, the Qsitis, small reptilians, and the Sovanis, feline people with four arms. The world itself is broken up into multiple city-states, each with their own unique culture. The story of the game revolves around "Remnants", mysterious and coveted ancient artifacts of varying shapes and sizes which possess magic powers and have been the cause of several wars throughout the game's history. Each Remnant is "bound" to a specific person, who is the only one who can then use their power; powerful Remnants that remain unbound for too long have the potential to cause a "collapse" and spawn monsters. As Remnants come in varying forms, all cities throughout the world have at least one that their ruler is bound to that assist to govern and bring peace to their assigned realm.

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