Originally posted at Viera.nu ----
While this does not effect a large number of gamers, those who feel the need to get 100% on everything can only understand the tormented feeling I recently got when I found out I had basically screwed up royaly in The Last Remnant.
RPG's are the bane of my existence. I adore them so much, I just don't know when to stop. I will sit in front of them, grinding away, for days on end - forgetting my reality just for that next level. That treasure chest in the corner. Those side quests for that awesome sword. I am to jRPG's what World of Warcraft is to MMO players (aka Crack). I was pretty casual with gaming before I got Final Fantasy VII - which started the problem. I was happy as Larry with my action adventure titles, occasional FPS and puzzle games. Nothing could have prepared me for the tormenting addiction to an RPG. NOTHING.
After picking up FF7 off of the shelf to notice the Anime styled characters on the back, begging my mum to buy it and getting home, I popped it into my PS1 and gasped in it's graphical glory and FMV sparkly goodness. Of course, you look at FF7 now and it looks a pile of crap but back then... back then it was SO AMAZING. Oh man! Remember FF8 looking real? The dance scene in Balamb Garden, so fantastic. My mother never really noticed my gaming 'addiction' as at a young age a couple of hours a week was never a problem. Final Fantasy 7 was my first game to rack in over 300 hours of game play. I'd gone from thinking 30 hours was crazy to 300.
So after I progressed in each RPG I felt really accomplished. My friends at school would ask me for advice, I remember being asked about a certain boss in Final Fantasy X and me popping round their house taking control of the console and showing them what a real pro does. It sounds all very ridiculous but at the time this was serious business. If I was not to be popular for being pretty, cool or rich - I might as well be known for being bad ass at RPG's!
So it was not until The Last Remnant that I started to feel the strain of pre-planning my gaming. So basic jRPG conventions;
Train like mad. Level 100++++
Finish every side quest.
Get ultimate weapons.
Find secret characters/bosses.
Girly looking men.
You know the drill. The Last Remnant works with some of these conventions - treasure chests and side quests all weave together seamlessly during play. However there is one massive problem with TLR that is not well known. So much that it took me just over 30 hours of game play to find out and have to restart my game - The leveling system.
Welcome to the Last Remnant - Hosting most confusing leveling system known to man.
Okay so it's not that confusing but it sure as hell does not point you in the right direction. You see you are told many a time to link as many battles as you can together and train up. I read this as fight everything, get awesome items, kill of the bosses and don't afraid of anything! Like most people who I have spoken to about playing this game. After starting to struggle on a side quest fighting a large boss, I decided to hold it off till the end of Disc one. The side quest expires as soon as you hit disc two so I thought by the end of disc one I would be strong enougth to kill that boss. Apparently not. It seems that most people who power leveled through the game just did not have good enougth stats to pull through and defeat this beast.
I decided to investigate - surly there must be a way to victory! I found the answer, it was a punch in the face however. The Last Remnant has an odd leveling system. Instead of fighting everything you should just skip everything apart from boss battles and forced battles. Then you should just plough through the main story and some side quests until you recruit certain guild leaders, then head to one area to grind for an hour or three. The stat gains are different you see and you want to gain as many stats as you like before leveling up. It reminds me of the good old Myth of Soma days where you would kill yourself to loose XP before leveling up to gain some more stats. So yeah, unless you really know these things you are basically setting yourself up for a loosing battle.
Please man don't tell me I screwed up before BR70, because it is true that before that I tried to link as much monsters as possible. Damn, this is messed up, it is said everywhere that you have to link like crazy to get the best items and capture monsters to split them. So I did... There is no way in Hell I am doing this game twice and putting with another 80 hours of "Come on out !" that make me want to kill someone.
That was a reply from someone equally as frustrated as I was about the news. I had spent a large amount of time completing all the quests apart from the last one and was about to give up and head to disc two. I saw this and now everything I had worked hard to completed was pointless. I was going to have to do it all over again. A few others resisted, claiming they will just use the advice on disc two. It wasn't going to work, we were all screwed.
You can complete The Last Remnant rather easily without applying these new techniques, it's just if you want a god-like party who can kill all the secret extra bosses (like me) then you are pretty much digging your own grave. How frustrating is that? I've never ever had this problem with RPG's in my whole life and suddenly this quiet and underrated tale of politics and magic has just slapped me in the face and laughed.
I have a few forum threads open just while I plough threw my new game. You'd not believe how hard I raged before heading back to the start screen and starting my new playthrough. Thing is... I love the satisfaction of finishing an RPG 100%. So I am dedicated to doing this.
My advice - Go online and find threads about leveling and such before starting your game. It will save you so much frustration.