Current gaming addiction: The last remnant vs Fable 2

June 15, 2009

Right now I am playing a game called “The last remnant” on PC and I have to say that despite the story being full of bad direction and some dodgy graphics issues (vsync fail) I am loving the gameplay. In the typical JRPG you follow an unlikely hero who gets caught up in worldly affairs after some sort of accident prior to or during the beginning sequences of the game. This game unfortunately is no different from that tried and true formula. You will also have to rescue an unfortunate maiden of some sort in the due process of the game. Tick that one too. Add some invincible badass villain who kills a party member or someone dear to the main character and you have “The last remnant” in a nutshell.

There are a few glaring issues which I am having trouble coming to grasps with, one is that the main character is magically teleported away from his island without us knowing how or why; and there wasn’t even a cutscene! Secondly, one of the main characters David is so inconsistent with his behaviour that it just pisses me off when they try to develop him as a character. He chooses to sacrifice one of his soldiers in the opening sequence who is seemingly a mother figure to him and doesn’t seem to have much emotion overall. Personally I think this may have something to do with the terrible voice acting even when using the original Japanese VOs.

Where this game differs entirely is in the gameplay. Instead of having godly characters who seemingly take on hordes of enemies as is the usual, the game introduces to us “unions” led by members of your party. So you have a few leader characters and you hire or recruit soldiers to fill up those unions. At the end of the game (of which I am only halfway) you can have up to 5 unions and 18 characters split between them which is a pretty epic amount. So in any one battle you can control up to 18 characters on the field, although not individually.

Each individual unit has different skills and stats which build according to what skills you focus on which makes it a bit hard to control a perfect party, but this is why the game is so addictive for me. The sheer level of customization is just amazing and I can sit there hiring characters and individually changing what skills I want them to learn. Don’t get me started on the formations available as well! There are dozens of formations you can put your unions in and for example the catapult formation is great for spellcasters whereas the arrow of athlum is good for melee. Then there is the weapon customization and forging which is absolutely impossible to find all the items for! The choices are limitless really, which makes me lose myself in this game. This game is truly for the hardcore of hardcore with its emphasis on gameplay over story.

In comparison, I was playing Fable 2 just last week and have pretty much reached the end in a few days of gameplay. The key to Fable 2 is to have lots of money and lots of experience, there isn’t much depth in the gameplay besides zapping the living shit out of everything with Lv5 lightning after casting some ghosts and watching everything electrocute around you.

I have found that the trusty sword is a very boring instrument to use in Fable, since you can only target one enemy at a time with melee attacks (flourishes are very pretty but). The gun is better when you can target body parts to decapitate all your enemies. But what takes the cake is being a magic user because the game is then transformed into a barbeque fest once you level up lightning and have a level or two in summoning the dead. Summon yourself some minions and then cast lightning Lv5 and watch as the stupid enemies target your invincible monsters while you charge up an instant kill spell! To prevent death just buy yourself some resurrection potions which restore you automatically to full hp when you die.

Don’t get me wrong, watching your enemies fry is great and I love how fun it is, but it just doesn’t draw me in like The last remnant. The fault really lies in the fact that Fable is too short for its own good lasting at a rough total of around 30 hours if you power through the story. I have put an entire week into The last remnant and I am only halfway to the end and still with a million sidequests to complete! There hasn’t been a rpg that drew so much of my attention since KOTOR2, which says a lot about the gameplay. The story is seriously lacking, but if you can stomach weak plot and subpar voice acting and like JRPGs, then this game is right up your alley.

I will leave you guys with a few images from TLR because I cannot capture my gameplay images from xbox.

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