Admittedly, it’s a little difficult to describe the combat of this game in just a few sentences. In essence, you control a ‘Unit’ of people during combat. You build a personalized team from dozens of choices and that unit does the actual fighting. As a unit, you select what types of attacks you want the entire unit to do which is usually centered around magic, melee, or special attacks. The people inside the unit share a pool of health along with a pooled defense and strength stat. The enemies move like this as well, with their units being anywhere from one thing up to six in a single unit. These battles feel epic on a scale that wasn’t at all common back in 2008. Your team of 18 people going up against hordes of enemies and cutting them down like it was a real battlefield is one of the greatest things about this game and something that it just nails. You feel like you are in a real battle with so many different groups involved and some of the larger scale battles involve up to 100 enemies. The skills that you can learn changes depending on your playstyle that leads to what I believe to be the greatest system in an RPG that I have ever played. Character Customization.
In most RPGs where you play as a character that is already established – i.e., a character that you don’t create for yourself – it tends to feel like you’re playing someone who has their own progression path and you can do little to change that. It isn’t a bad thing, but it always leaves you wanting something a bit more. The Last Remnant starts Rush off as a completely blank slate. Whatever weapons, skills, abilities, magic, combo arts, etc. you want him to learn you can. I played through the game twice. Once to do a 100% run (which I will talk about that mistake in a moment) and once as a pure magic caster build. During the first run, I built Rush to be a dual-wielding, Axe-holding Barbarian that runs into the fray and can put up some huge damage numbers. In the second run, I built him as a chancellor, waving a stick around and raining hellfire onto the battlefield. There are six different weapon types and four different schools of magic that each requires you to put time into and unlock its special ability at the end of its progression. These progression cycles aren’t short either as each of them takes roughly 40 hours to finish; even then it will probably be another 20 if you want to unlock their full power from the weapons needed in each class. That 60-hour commitment should give you a fair idea as to what you are getting into when you decide to do a 100% playthrough.