Winter!: Prepare for holiday gaming!
In 2008, Square-Enix wanted to do away with the JRPG ghetto by creating a game that would appeal equally to Western and Japanese markets. It was a lofty goal that shareholders surely welcomed, but considering the vast differences in the demands of the respective audiences also near impossible to attain. The result is predictably anticlimactic: The Last Remnant is a Japanese RPG adorned with some token Western elements. Square-Enix doesn't really seem to understand computer role-playing games. If you're not going for a seamless, open world, why bother with ditching the more cinematic camera angles found in other JRPGs for a player controlled view? Where are the important decisions? When viewed through this lens, and it seems quite a few reviewers did, The Last Remnant is a failure. Good thing there are other ways to look at the game.
To be frank here: The game takes way too long before it properly opens up. You'll wonder why you can't micromanage everything like you're used to, but the more you get into the game, the more what at first looks like dumbed down mechanics becomes something new and creative. By the end you won't control one party, you'll control up to five parties in battle. Too bad strategy only really begins at four. Since you can only give partially random orders, preparation and setup are key. The battles themselves are exciting and unusually unpredictable (thanks to the randomness) and, should you find yourself farming, a turbo mode is always just one click away.
Sadly the story doesn't help to keep you captivated during the slow start. It isn't embarrassing or anything, but it's rather bare bones for an RPG. It should be noted that Rush is probably the most likable Square-Enix protagonist in a long time and the voice acting is top-notch. All things considered, The Last Remnant surely isn't game changing or classic but it's fun and it's fresh enough to forgive its drawbacks. Just don't give up too soon.
Game Traits applied to The Last Remnant (PC) by pierben