Games are hard to make. Successful games are even harder to make. The amazing medium that gaming is has transitioned from one man teams where the programmer of the game made everything, to teams of devs with roles that include artists, sound designers, level designers, environment artists, animators, writers, directors and producers (to name but a few). The Last Oricru is an ambitious undertaking as the first release for developer GoldKnights.
Respect the Ratvolution
The Czech based studio built the game with a fairly small team for the scope of this 3rd person action RPG.
Played here on PS5 the game is also available on Xbox Series X|S and Steam.
With no recollection of the past, players assume the roll of Silver who is dropped into the middle of a conflict between two factions. While navigating the hostilities between the two sides on the brink of war, your goal is to seek truth and unravel the mysteries of the advanced technologies that are thought to be magical objects.
Player agency is at the heart of The Last Oricru, where your actions have consequences with no do overs. How you decide to play truly shapes the way the conflict plays out. You are left to your own devices – who to trust, who not to trust and who to keep at arms length. While completing tasks for one faction can positively increase your relationship with them, it can at the same time negatively impact your relationship with the other side.
Combat here is a game of learning and understanding how your enemies attack and timing your strikes to deal the most damage. Initially the combat can feel awkward but you do become acclimatised to its feel. Jumping is a bit floaty and lacks the feeling of weight especially when landing. Speaking of the jump it is mapped to the X button, which is also the “interaction” button. It would make more sense to map interactions to the Square button instead, negating some inadvertent jumps when meaning to interact with an object.
A major issue I found was the lack of any map or waypoint/quest markers. This leaves you often aimlessly wandering around not sure where to go or what to do. Any semblance of intrigue that the story peaked in me was quickly eroded by the frustration of fighting the same set of enemies over and over only to realise you had died countless times because you had been trying to go the wrong way.
With only signposts around the areas to navigate by, you are left the explore by your own memory of the layouts along with trial and error. It becomes a real burden.
Another frustration is the inexplicable re-spawning of enemies that you previously killed when returning to an area. It would be nice if your hard work clearing groups of enemies was saved (which does seem to happen with the boss type enemies).
The game suffers from slowdown, texture pop-in and frame rate issues. The camera also leaves a lot to be desired with some odd disorienting behaviour. Enemy AI also acts strangely, often trying to attack you from a really far distance and sometimes not being able to navigate around corners where they know you lie in wait
Graphics & Audio
The world & environments that GoldKnights have created in The Last Oricru are excellently conceived. There’s a grandeur to it and the lighting of the environments is well implemented.
Character designs are also well done with some of the Ratkin designs being my favourite – they have an Uruk-hai (Lord of the Rings) kinda vibe. There’s plenty of variety in enemy and ally designs.
UI text is tiny and I was constantly standing to walk closer to my TV to read text in the menus. Also the HUD encroaches too much into the screen especially in co-op mode.
The fully voice acted performances are nice to have but everyone just talks way too much when you interact with them. If this was tightened up and more focused it would benefit the experience.
The score is great offering some nice ambience and adding to the mood. It has a Game of Thrones feel to it. Sound effects throughout the game are really well done. At one point walking across the battlements of a castle a howling wind swept by while I could hear waves crashing in the distance.
After a short amount of play time couch co-op and online co-op is made available. Whats nice is that your buddy can jump right into you save and play along the story with you. Helpful if finding certain sections tough or punishing. Inventory is shared in the splitscreen couch co-op meaning if one player has particular items equipped the other player is left with what items remain.
Players gain the ability to revive a fallen comrade, with the only cost being vulnerable to attack while the revival processes. While co-op is more fun it does not solve the major issues of having no map or waypoints so while you’re not alone, you still feel lost.
Upon quitting co-op the game returns the player right back into the continuation of the game as a single player experience which is a nice feature.
With player choices effecting how the story plays out, there’s opportunity for multiple playthroughs to see the different paths that one can take with different endings to see. The option of co-op also offers a different way to experience the the world and story.
As for trophies there are 31 to get – 12 Bronze, 13 Silver, 5 Gold and a Platinum. The aforementioned multiple playthroughs will be necessary to bag all of these trophies.
The old adage that “Gameplay is King” holds firm and true here. With some frustrating gameplay driving the story, players may find it hard to give this game a chance.
Like No Mans Sky, Final Fantasy XIV and Destiny before it, I hope that with time The Last Oricru can evolve and garner itself a passionate community of players. I would definitely like to return in the future to see updates and find out how my story pans out.
I respect the teams endeavours and applaud some of the work they have pulled off but ultimately I feel that the games current state does not live up to their vision for this title.
Unfortunately I therefore award The Last Oricru the Thumb Culture Bronze Aware.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.