The Demo Man

The Last Remnant: I’m Speechless

Before I downloaded and played the demo for The Last Remnant, I had no idea what it was. I didn’t know what kind of game it was, what genre it fit into, what the story was about, or how to play it.

After playing the demo, all of the above is still pretty much true.

Most demos are in some way tutorials: lots of on-screen instructions, pop-up hints, maybe a little movie to explain who you are and what is happening in the game world. The Last Remnant just dumps you into a throne room without a single word of explanation. At least the other characters appear to be as speechless as I am.

Okay... I know Im in a room.  And my name appears to be City Map.  I guess Ill take it from here.

Okay… I’m in a room. My name appears to be “City Map.” I guess I’ll take it from here.

“City Map” seems an odd choice for a hero’s name, but as far as I know, it makes perfect sense in this game’s universe, about which I’ve been told nothing. City Map manages to select one of the NPCs, and finally I get some on-screen instructions: it tells me to press “A” to talk. Clicking the “A” key, however, makes City Map run to his left. Eventually, I realize the demo assumes I have a gamepad controller, and after several WTFs sent via IM to my friend Greg, who is also playing the demo, he tells me how to get the instructions listed in Keyboardese.

No, I dont.  I really dont.

No, I don’t. I really don’t.

The guy on the throne informs me my name is not “City Map” but “Rush”, which is a little bit of a letdown, frankly. I think I’m gonna call him City Map anyway. I’m told I have to visit some place I’ve never heard of via some other place I don’t know about. Eventually, as I do in real life when I’m sad and confused, I wander into a pub.

I talk to a monster in the pub, and he tells me to meet him in some caves once I’ve finished the rest of my business. I don’t know if I have any business, or what what kind of business it would be if I did, but it’s moot because I’m instantly teleported to the caves anyway. I see the monster thing there, who says something about how we’re going to work together and then vanishes, leaving me completely alone. Okie-dokie!

I run through a tunnel until I find a couple of oversized insects, also known as The First Monsters You Always Get To Fight In Video Games. Good! A basic fight to sort of slowly ease me into how the combat works and how to fight and what sort of abilities I OH JESUS WHAT THE GOOD GODDAMN IS ALL THIS

what the shit

what the shit

This all just slams up on my screen with no warning and no explanation. One minute there’s me and two bugs, the next there are like forty people I’ve never seen or met and a bunch of other bugs and a metric buttload of words and icons and status bars on the screen. Where the hell did everyone come from? What is happening? Who is everyone? And why? CITY MAP IS CONFUSED

What?  No!  God no!

What? Are you kidding? No! Good God no!

What?  Huh?  What does that mean?  Whats happening?

What? Huh? What does that mean? Is that a good thing? What’s happening?

Okay!  I know those words.  Do I... should I... do I have to do anything?  Are you even talking to me?

Okay! Okay! I know those words. Do I… should I… do I have to do anything? Or is it… should I uh… are you even talking to me, game demo?

Um, yay?  Yay, we -- meaning some things I dont know, and me -- did, um, it.  And 5 chains! Thats... thats a certain number of chains.  Uh.

Um, yay? We — meaning some things and City Map — did, um, it. Whatever it was. And 5 chains! That… certainly is a number… of chains. Uh. Um.

Okay, so, the battle is over, and the several people or things that appeared suddenly to help me fight have disappeared again. I really am just completely baffled.

Luckily, things start making sense soon after the battle, when I touch a stone and a magical goblin pops out of my butt, gives me a blowjob, hands me some weed, and vanishes up my nose. If you think I’m kidding, or if you can offer some other interpretation of these events, please watch this YouTube video I uploaded and let me know.

Just so you know how I felt during all this, please enjoy this random series of images from the demo. I thought about animating them into some sort of Clockwork Orange-esque video, but I don’t want to be responsible for rampaging droogs.

i think that goblin in my ass gave me something

what are these things

more things I dunno

i’m too slow try ur too slow

that’s the biggest one of those i’ve ever seen

Thankfully, I died at some point, which was pretty easy to understand, for a change. I know games these days are often criticized for too much hand-holding, but I think some amount, especially in a game like this, is necessary. After all, every game is someone’s first game, and every demo is someone’s first demo, and if The Last Remnant demo is someone’s first demo, then I wouldn’t be surprised if it was also their last. Demo.

I don’t know how to rate this demo — I don’t even know what this demo is or what it means or who I am or when I ever was whatever I were.

Eight speechless speech bubbles out of eight speechless speechbubbles.

Eight speechless speech bubbles out of eight speechless speechbubbles.