Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Family Reunions and Monster Hunting (The Last Remnant)

the last remnant part 3 - 1
Enter The Conqueror, the latest big bad to come on the scene in my
playthrough of The Last Remnant.  I wonder what conditioner he uses for
that glorious mane of hair...
With the mysterious red robed man making his first appearance a little while back, I was more than a little curious what may be so important about him since the game was heavily implying that he mattered in a big way. So far, I haven't been disappointed. As it turns out, he's The Conqueror (I know, it's a pretty cheesy name, right?), and he's been making waves in the hinterlands, raising an army, defeating smaller kingdoms, and pretty much just living up to his name. He also appears to be extremely powerful, as he can bind himself with huge Remnants no one ever thought could be bound. It would also seem he knows Rush. Still, he's largely cloaked in mystery, but via some rather impressive cut scenes we can see that The Conqueror shouldn't be taken lightly.

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There's some serious badassery when The Conqueror does
his thing.
I'm curious how he'll face off with Wagrum and the gang because both parties seem like they may have sinister intentions of some sort, and they are most certainly not on the same team. It seems inevitable that the two camps will butt heads at some point and it will be very bloody when that happens. The Conqueror is already gearing up for war against the major dukes, so it shouldn't be long before this happens.

Rush also met up with his parents, finally. Things were brief with his father, John, because, well, a lot of bad stuff happened. When the two did chat John sure seemed okay with taking everything at face value that his son was working with the Marquis of Athlum. Rush's meeting with his mom, Marina, was a little better. At least she had some interesting nuggets of information about why Wagrum was so interested in Irina, as it turns out Rush's mother is a descendant of Marion Marshall, a figure from ancient times who had the power to bind even the most powerful Remnants. So, Irina also has this ability making her a very appetizing target for particularly ambitious folks. It also seemed awfully convenient that Emma knew exactly where to find Marina, as the two had met once many years in the past. A very weak plot tool to get Rush to his mom, but about on par with a lot of anime out there and pretty much what I've come to expect from The Last Remnant's story. There are just enough underlying hints of epicness for me to let a lot of this stuff slide.

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The Elysion sky as The Conqueror
binds with the Ark.
However, the part when David asked Rush how his meeting with Marina went was weak and I'm not sure I can accept it, though. Sure, the two are buddies, but David is a ruler. You'd think he would want to have a much more detailed debriefing of what happened. The fact that Rush and Irina are descendants of Marion Marshall seems pretty darn important, and something that a person in David's position would want to know about. For Rush to simply ask that his mother and sister be kept out of the upcoming war, and for David to say okay without another word is a bit of a stretch. I've just gotta assume that the two talked about this stuff off camera, as it just seems way too crucial a bit of information to not pass along to the Duke of Athlum.

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Approaching the Sacred Land looks amazing.
Anyway, the continuing highs and lows of The Last Remnant's story aside, there was an interesting mix of environments that I encountered. The way the pendulum constantly swung back and forth from the amazing to the mundane and back again was pretty spectacular not to mention impossible to ignore. Wandering around Elysion was pretty great. It feels very much like the center of the world. A booming metropolis smack dab in the middle of the continent, lots of buildings looming everywhere, bustling streets with lots of people living their lives, even tourist attractions. It's every bit the seat of power it makes itself out to be. So, it was a nice lead up to the scene where The Conqueror bound himself to the Ark, a massive Remnant with the power to teleport people. There were lights and energies flashing all over the place, earthquakes, the whole nine yards. Then Rush was wandering around the Sacred Lands while having some sort of vision, and the whole place dripped of ancient, highly advanced civilization goodness. Riveting stuff!

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So many glowing runes! ♥
After this was all done it was like the game decided people may be suffering from excitement overload, so it sent Rush and the game through some dank, dark catacombs in search of his father. The place was a very by the numbers dungeon and not much to look at. I think I would have become quite bored there if not for the monsters I had to fight while traversing the thing. Most of these were more powerful than my own guys so I had to use my head a lot more during battles, which was quite satisfying.

Once the catacombs were done, and a brief interlude of zappy, flashy Wagrum Magical Time, it was off to more poorly lit gray environments, as Emma and Rush went off to find Marina. Here the enemies weren't even all that strong, so it was a bit of a slog getting through the place. There was a pretty neat boss fight at the end of it all, though. A pair of stone golems connected at the shoulder. They weren't very difficult, but I quite liked their design. Very unique.

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You just know something ominous is going down when doors
open into a totally white room!
So, there was quite a noticeable contrast in the places I found myself exploring while advancing the story. When the game is running on all eight cylinders it can be amazing with this stuff, other times not so much.

After getting all these things done, I decided it was time to take a break from the main story line, and get components for weapon enhancements while maybe doing some rare monster hunting. With that it was back to dank, dark caves, this time running them over and over again in hopes that maybe this time the beast I was looking for would actually spawn. This was in Gaslin Caves, as I was hunting Bluejaws, a particularly powerful rare (in comparison to my group, anyway).

I don't know how many times I had to run through that place before he finally decided to show his ugly mug, but it was a lot. He was not easy to bring down, either. From what I can tell, these rare monsters can scale to your party's level to some extent, so there's no guarantee one will be able to grind for a while, and eventually out level them. Checking online suggests that there is a fairly wide level range for some of these creatures. I was a bit worried that I'd be a lot stronger than Bluejaws, as I'd put off hunting him for quite some time but no, he hit like a truck, and in some cases could one-shot come of the lest resilient unions in my overall party.

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After so much crazy awesomeness, it's back to reality with a dank, dark
dungeon.  ~ Le sigh ~
The first few goes, I was running with four unions, each with three characters in them. Usually this would work pretty well against regular enemies, as it gave me a lot more maneuverability on the field, sending unions to engage various packs of monsters, in turn opening up the possibility of more flanking maneuvers, or at least creating deadlocks, thereby protecting my own guys' flanks if nothing else. The problem this caused when fighting Bluejaws was that my unions just didn't have enough hit points to eat many of the monster's attacks. Just a normal attack would take off half or more of some unions' health, and the creature's main ability, Laser Breath, was a one shot kill more often than not. Only Rush's union had high enough health and defense to make a go of it for any length of time. I came close to downing Bluejaws once with this set up, even getting to unload Rush's super ability, Omnistrike (which is very impressive to look at, by the way), but in the end they just weren't strong enough.

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These bosses were easy, but I really
like their design.
So, a change of tact was in order. Instead of running four unions with three units in each, I decided to go with three unions and cram all of them with four characters. This would help beef up their hit points and hopefully they'd be better able to absorb all of the damage that Bluejaws was dishing out. Things went a lot smoother after this, as the unions now had deeper hit point pools, and could withstand stuff like Laser Breath as a result. It still wasn't easy, though. The beast still hit like a truck, and in one freak occurrence managed to decimate Rush's union, leaving Blocter and David's groups to pick up the slack. They did a great job, and in time we finally brought down Bluejaws. It felt damn good.

Emerging from the mines triumphant, it was time to head back to Athlum and claim my prize from the Golden Chalice, since Bluejaws was on their hunting list (these guys issue all sorts of challenges to would be adventurers that are well worth pursuing). That netted me a new formation for my unions that I can use (no idea if it's any good or not). After this, I went and sold the monster to one of the local merchants in hopes that he would be able to make better weapons from the creature's components. No such luck. I scored a couple thousand gold, and that's about it. Still, it was really nice to defeat the monster. These rare monsters provide a very good challenge, and in many cases it totally feels like you've earned your victory when they finally go down. The whole thing made for a nice way to close up my most recent foray into The Last Remnant.

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Defeating Bluejaws felt so good.  Eat it, $@%&!
Next up, I reckon I'll be heading to Nagapur for a chat with Lord Hermeien to see what to do next about The Conqueror. It looks like Emma has a quest she wants to do with everyone as well, so that may come first. We'll see. Anyway, until next time! \(^_^)/