Saturday, April 3, 2010

Ghosts of generations past.

I knew that Last Rebellion was not good going in. I also knew that it was not going to get played fore more than a day or two after just barely surviving White Knight Chronicles.

But damn.

Things did not start well. The update (or down-date?) that I mentioned a few days ago has gone live. I had no reason not to install it, so I clicked okay. This was before I remembered that updates on the PS3 take around fifteen minutes to complete. Fifteen minutes is not a long time, but it was a lot like sitting in the dentist chair while the dentist revs up his drill. What's coming is going to be unpleasant, and you just want to get it over with. After the update I started up Last Rebellion and it had a long initial load like most newer PS3 games have. I assumed that it was caching things to the hard drive, but while I was waiting (more) I noticed that my receiver was not running in 5.1. Every other game I had ever played on the PS3, or 360 for that matter, had run in Dolby Digital.

'Great, the update screwed up my settings.'

Yes, I said this out loud.

I backed out of the game and clumsily dug through the PS3 cross media bar until I remembered where the audio settings were hidden. Nope, everything is still correct. Last Rebellion is so budget that they didn't even bother to mix the sound into Dolby Digital. This was not a good sign. Trying not to be too elitist I started the game up a second time, only to be greeted by the same long initial load. The game had not cached anything to make future load times slower, it was just that slow. Pressing start and skipping the opening cinematic (strangely voiced by the Colonel from Metal Gear Solid) led to one of similar length. At least I could skip past the voice acting over poorly rendered stills to get to the combat tutorial.

I honestly knew nothing of Last Rebellion beyond its terrible reviews. The combat started out almost interesting, once I got past the PS2 jaggified look. It was a single player controlled character against monsters in a turn based style straight out of Final Fantasy VI. Each turn started out with me selecting any number of body parts on all the enemies and the order that I would like to attack them in. Order was important, as each monster is weak to a specific combination. After physical attacks damaged body parts are marked and can be targeted by magic in the following round. On paper, it sounds okay, but in super slow turn based practice, it is torture. Attacking different appendages producing identical animations. Enemies jump forward and whack your character as if you are calling them by name out of line. Yes, these same mechanics worked many, many years ago, but then there were good and bad RPG's, and Last Rebellion is like the zombie of one of the worst possible 16 bit RPG's returned from the grave to wreck havoc upon those looking for a PS3 exclusive after God of War III and Heavy Rain. Keep looking, folks, there is nothing to see here.

Here's a taste anyway:



Take it out. Turn it off. Move along.

Afterward I got back on that horse. That horse? It's a mean horse; mean, uncontrollable, pissed off that I came back. But in spite of it, I will improve. Or break another stick trying.

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