TGS 2008: The Last Remnant Hands-On

We had the opportunity to take a closer look at the battle mechanics for Square Enix's upcoming RPG.

TOKYO--Square Enix games are taking up quite a bit of real estate on the Tokyo Game Show floor this year. The Last Remnant, a new franchise for SE, was available in Japanese for us to play for the very first time. We jumped ahead to a save file to get a feel for the game's battle mechanics. Even though the battles are turn-based, there is a surprising amount of depth to the system so that you can coordinate your battles effectively. In our short play period, we managed to get a feel for how the battle flows, and we are eager to learn more.

Battles are fought with squads or unions that consist of five people. Our squads were already created and were well balanced, but a lot of strategy comes into play when you have to create your own. Depending on what kind of situation you're in, you'll want to ensure that you always have a healer in your party and that some of your weaker characters hang back in the formation so they don't get pummeled in the front lines. We were told that there will be situations in which you'll have to change around the squad depending on what your goal is.

We wandered around a rather barren mountainside and ran headfirst into some giant lizards to initiate a battle. As you get closer to an enemy, a symbol will appear over its head, and if you press the right trigger exactly when you see the exclamation mark, you will gain an advantage in battle. Once the battle starts, you select what you want your squad to do. If you choose to attack, your entire squad will attack one by one. If you choose to heal, only the members in your party who can heal will cast the spell. You can't give individual commands to the squad, but your strategy revolves around creating the most efficient team.

You'll take turns with the enemy and engage them head-on or from the side. You'll see your characters and the enemy rush up to one another and fight. Once in a while, you'll get a prompt to hit a button at the right time to increase damage. If you're familiar with the timing of the ring in Lost Odyssey, it's similar but doesn't happen all the time. Sometimes all four buttons will appear, and you won't know which button you need to press until it lights up and a ring narrows in on it. Sometimes it's just a trigger. This keeps you on your toes and forces you to pay attention instead of selecting your commands and letting the fight work itself out. Once the enemy is defeated, you can apparently harvest body parts to upgrade weapons, or take the whole carcass and sell it. An intact monster will go for a higher price, so you'll have to decide what to do with it.

There is a morale bar at the top of the screen when you begin a battle, and depending on the flow of the fight, the morale will fluctuate like a scale. Morale increases if you're doing well, but if you miss a few attacks and the monster lands a special attack, your squad's morale decreases. The fight gets harder if you have lower morale, but if your morale bar is overpowering the monster's bar, your damage will increase.

We really enjoyed what we got to play so far, even though we didn't get a chance to tinker with squads or see how the story unfolds. The battle mechanics are fun, and there seems to be a lot you can do to customize your own perfect battalion. The Last Remnant is set to be released on the Xbox 360 worldwide on November 20.

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52 comments
juiceboxhero_x
juiceboxhero_x

Hazzerz, Haha. I've been saying that for months now. Every preview is getting you pumped for an awesome game, then the review comes out and they call it a pile of crap. What happened to loving it so much before the review? Never made much sense to me. This whole new .5 increment thing for game ratings is really making me mad too. Sometimes a game doesn't really deserve an 8.5 OR a 9, but rather somewhere in between. Sometimes a game is just a little better than another, yet they both get the same score. I think they're just getting lazier and lazier as the days go by.

ebgamesnake112
ebgamesnake112

I agree with Hazzerz. The review system is whack. I understand they rate it on past games, and if the game surpasses them. But they shouldn't base the score off of that as much. Games should be scored more on their individual merits. If a game is fun, it shouldn't really matter on if there is another game out there like it. That decision should be based on us as a consumer, do we want more of the same, or something different. The scores just keep getting worse and worse. I don't even want to buy a game with such a low score.

B1G_DADDY
B1G_DADDY

I'll get no matter how good it is, i'm an RPG nut =p

Iqen
Iqen

Game looks stunning... hope it lives up too its expectations!

Hazzerz
Hazzerz

Hands on my a$$. GameSpot couldn't find a quality game if it pissed on them. Why is every game they play in the hands on sections so "Wow!" and "Awesome!", yet when the game actually comes out it receives lackluster reviews. So full of bull, you guys effin' suck.

cjohnson007
cjohnson007

Shadow_Fire41 i know it wasnt made by SE but with its name on it a lotta people would think it would be pretty good. I played Lost Odyeesy and within 5 hours i was into the story. When it comes to RPG's its all about the stroy then everything else comes next. But in any event. Its lookin better everyday and the trailer thats on XBL looks really nice.

Marder-I
Marder-I

I may have to get this one I think!! Cheers Tom

stan105
stan105

hope this will be good because i dont want to waste 60 bucks on a game that turns out to suck. but i think this will be a really good game

clarkspark
clarkspark

Didn't play Orge Battle but I'll still give this one a try. I too enjoyed Infinite Undiscovery, despite its obvious flaws.

Shadow_Fire41
Shadow_Fire41

cjohnson......Infinite Unidiscovery is awesome, it also is not made by SE, only published, Tri Ace made IU. also.....in the second screenshot on this site, in the back it shows many battalians fighting in a army clash.......maybe more than one battalian can fight in the same fight.

DecadesOfGaming
DecadesOfGaming

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Paynee
Paynee

The game really has an epic look to it, and the battle system just looks plain awesome to me. Stop the teasing and start the pleasing!

Tyrant_o_Terror
Tyrant_o_Terror

This game will be fantabulous! BTW It's a TIMED-exclusive for 360 because the U3 engine is simply hard to develop for on the ps3.

cjohnson007
cjohnson007

This will make up for that Infinite Undiscovery I so can't wait.

soycookie
soycookie

I'm excited. Turn based with some spice. Yum.

lokesc
lokesc

It's hard to get a good RPG but you can have a sense of how much depth & detail they have put in if u consider the timeframe this game is in development. FFXIII started from early launch of PS3 but not even out yet considering a game like MGS4 took in development. U can b pretty sure FFXIII will be polish. Infinite Undiscovery,..hmmm...how long was it in development? Barely. I can bet White Knight Chronicles will be better. So Last Remnant would be your truly last if it's rushed.

lostn
lostn

I hope this game will be better than Infinite Undiscovery. That was a waste of money.

PhantomPhoot
PhantomPhoot

This game looks just plain awesome. I love in-depth turn-based combat. You don't just select moves, but you also have to interact with them. It makes you feel more at one with your party. November, get here already.

LordReithgar
LordReithgar

GunGriffin Posted Oct 10, 2008 10:58 am PT Uh GameSpot has it wrong this game is only on Xbox360 as an Excluisve not the PS3, or Wii. Please fix the link so you don't confuse people thanks. --- You got it wrong, this game isn't exclusive at all, it's both on Ps3 and X360. Side Note : finally turn based game are getting some love

Gadeos
Gadeos

I hope this one brings some real Japanese-RPG experience to 360

lightwarrior179
lightwarrior179

I am optimistic about Last Remnant's battle mechanics and it seems to merge quite well with the actual turn-based battle system. It looks great..

GunGriffin
GunGriffin

Uh GameSpot has it wrong this game is only on Xbox360 as an Excluisve not the PS3, or Wii. Please fix the link so you don't confuse people thanks.

Saphire_Kitsune
Saphire_Kitsune

Graphics look pretty good, though a little sharp around the edges (man, those are some funky looking eye lashes.) Overall the game looks like an interesting blend between FFXII, Star Wars and Stargate. :/

Olaoye_tw
Olaoye_tw

Still over a month away......damn!

adders99
adders99

turn based is a ... turn off.

Senor_Kami
Senor_Kami

Sounds like a game i'll definitely play. I like turn based JRPGs.

lithiumink
lithiumink

Sounds interesting, just hope it all melds well together and doesn't become too repetitive.

Axe_336
Axe_336

Sounds good to me. I heard about it about a year or so ago when Square-Enix was saying "We're trying to make characters that appeal to Japanese and American audiences here." so we'll see if that ends up working.

code305
code305

maybe this game is like FF series

Vrygar777
Vrygar777

This sounds like an awesome game. Hope i'm right.

Axelnomad
Axelnomad

Sounds like Soulnomad, which I wont mind because I enjoyed that game quite a bit, but I am also sure there will be a bunch of differences that havent been announced yet.

Miteme
Miteme

sounds interesting. better than reusing the same turn based fighting system

DahlVaughnni
DahlVaughnni

This preview makes it all too clear.. Clarkspark you're partly right about the game partially playing itself, but listen to what he said: It's building the squads that hold the real strategy here. That being said, this is, in no way, a bad thing. Was there a single person who disliked Ogre Battle? That's EXACTLY what this game reminds me of. The strategy was in how you formed your units, and the battles took place mostly on their own, while you gave vague commands as to basically what the unit should be doing, such as focussing on killing the Leader, evenly dispersing the damage, or picking on the softies. Final Fantasy, meet Ogre Battle. Ogre Battle; Final Fantasy. I only hope that this game is very difficult, so that you can't just tack on whatever units you please and still win. People complained for a long time that new RPGs are getting too easy, but lately I've noticed a few got really really hard, so I hope this follows that example. Lost Odyssey and Final Fantasy IV DS were nice and refreshing. "Well nothing new or really innovative, but that's not really a bad thing." No, I wouldn't say it's "new", but it has not been done since Ogre Battle 64 in the 90s, and some of the younger gamers haven't been around that long, and Ogre battle was a rare game, so not everyone knew about it.

clarkspark
clarkspark

No micro-managing? wierd...whats next? the game plays itself? I don't know...

madd_hatter
madd_hatter

wow. sounds a bit morbid with the whole selling of carcasses and stuff but I LOVE IT!!!

rad2071
rad2071

I'm really liking this game, but we'll have to see what its like. Kind of reminds me of Suikoden

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

My interest went from 0 to about 90 in about a month's time for this game.

centuryslayer
centuryslayer

sounds like some nice battle mechanics to keep that old jrpg turn based combat interesting. excellent news indeed! I peronally loved the Rings in LO ^^

Prequel2Sequel
Prequel2Sequel

Okay thank you very much Solidus_Mute. That makes more sense. I was worried it was you say attack and all your squads attacked.

CoRiNi
CoRiNi

excellent , Turn based , Aaaaah that's what am looking for , eagerly anticipating the game.

Solidus_Mute
Solidus_Mute

"Can someone clearify this for me: It says you can't give individual commands. They mean to the five members of the squad correct? But you can still give individual commands to each of your squads." You'll have squads under your command. You issue a command for each squad which will consist of a few people. It just means that you can't issue a command to a particular person in that squad. If you say fight... all the fighters in that squad will fight. Say heal, all the people who can heal will heal. I hope that clarifies it.

Prequel2Sequel
Prequel2Sequel

Can someone clearify this for me: It says you can't give individual commands. They mean to the five members of the squad correct? But you can still give individual commands to each of your squads.

CureForLiving
CureForLiving

Well nothing new or really innovative, but that's not really a bad thing.

Sodney
Sodney

Maybe this won't be boring. Lookung forward to it.