Frozen for hundreds of years and brought back in a world unlike anything he has ever known, Silver finds himself in a strange futuristic world that blends science fiction, fantasy, and medieval elements together in The Last Oricru. Is it a particularly interesting world full of unique characters and memorable quests? Not really. In fact, even after several hours in the game I struggled to recap what I was doing, where I was going, and why anything was happening on multiple occasions. Other than the war between the two dominant species that inhabit the world, little context can be gleaned from much of anything for far too long. But The Last Oricru can, at times, deliver some moderate fun within its combat and RPG mechanics when it’s not struggling to be interesting with its story and characters.
For better and for worse, The Last Oricru is a large and open-ended game in a lot of ways. The freedom to run around, explore, battle with different enemies and unlock new areas at your own pace can feel liberating at times, but it’s when you try to make any sense of it that the seams begin to show. Characters that you come across and interact with often spend far too much time talking for how little they actually have to say, and your many redundant battles with folks from both sides of the conflict leave you feeling unattached and indifferent about how their war plays out. Mindless objectives also feeling disconnected from the broader story more often than not only detach you from the story even more.
"The Last Oricru can, at times, deliver some moderate fun within its combat and RPG mechanics when it’s not struggling to be interesting with its story and characters."
The tale of Silver trying to understand the world around him and his role within it felt relatable to me as the player only in that I had no idea what sort of story the game was trying to tell for most of my playtime. The setting is also hard to pin down in any logical way, as the medieval elements like candles and stone castles are so forcibly combined with mystical science fiction that it feels more like a clashing of ideas competing with each other than any sort of graceful melding. Some interesting agency is introduced with choices about who’s side you want to favor at important moments, but it’s too little too late to save a story that refuses to be compelling in just about every other way. Some decent voice acting throughout is also nice, but doesn’t make up for stiff animations, non-existent expressions, and the stuffy, bloated writing. The game does very little to create an enticing story or compelling characters, so it’s a shame to see the relatively good voice acting go to such a waste. To say The Last Oricru is some sort of substance-over-style game is not really the impression I’m trying to give though, as it has problems in nearly every area.
Combat itself can be satisfying when landing a final blow on an enemy after some carefully executed blocks and dodges, and the fairly steady pace at which you come across new weapons and armor feeds nicely into the gameplay cycle. Even though some of them require you to personally level up to be able to use them so they just kind of sit in your inventory for a while. This only seems to get better with time though, as more sorts of weapons and abilities become available as more enemies that require more skill on your part are presented.
This is dragged down a fair amount by a handful of shortcomings, though. Of them, the most prominent are the camera lock-on, which, when used, often presents more issues than it solves by making the camera angle tilt in an extremely unhelpful way that limits your view, and the fact that combos nonsensically trigger at times even if you’ve only clicked the attack button once, making the sort of kinetic rhythm that a game like this needs for combat to feel fun and responsive, nearly impossible. Combat is hampered further by enemies that are often extremely dumb and attack in the completely wrong direction and take such gratuitously long time to wind up an attack that it can almost feel insulting. Whatever bit of this that was supposed to feel like a souls-borne game is almost entirely overwhelmed by the distracting lack of cohesion or meaningful challenge in its combat.
That’s not to say the gameplay of The Last Oricru is without any bright spots, though. Local split-screen co-op is certainly one of them worth mentioning. It doesn’t change much about the core experience, but if you’re fine with not caring about what’s going on, and don’t mind the mediocre combat, some cheap fun can be had with a friend as with basically any other co-op game.
"The Last Oricru is not a game I would generally recommend. For everything I really liked, there were at least 2 or 3 adjacent blunders making my eyes roll into the back of my skull."
One thing I did consistently enjoy about The Last Oricru was the artistic acumen with which the game was designed. Putting aside the many unexceptional elements of the game, the sheer skill of the actual artists who designed the characters and levels is indisputable. While the clashing ideas do their best to distract from it, the detail, environmental effects, and flashy general presentation are on point. Seeing what the next area would look like quickly became my primary motivation to keep going in The Last Oricru, which perhaps says more about the rest of the game than it does about the art, but still, credit where it’s due. Also, while it certainly could still benefit from some optimization, I feel like it was running reasonably well for me all things considered.
The Last Oricru is not a game I would generally recommend. For everything I really liked, there were at least 2 or 3 adjacent blunders making my eyes roll into the back of my skull. While the negatives and positives do end up mostly canceling each other out for me, I’m not going to sit here and say it’s a complete failure or does nothing well. But given that it exists in a sea of other similar games where it so often fails to keep its head above the water let alone compete with the bigger successes of the genre, it’s a pretty tough sell. Hardcore souls-borne fans that consume every game that comes their way might enjoy its distinct art direction and steady progression, but upon comparing it to any other similar game they will likely walk away feeling neutral about it at best. To me, The Last Oricru basically embodies mediocrity. It’s not strikingly bad, nor is it what I would call good. It mostly lives on a very fine line between the two, only occasionally leaning towards one side or the other.
This game was reviewed on PC.
Great graphics; Decent combat; Above average voice acting.
Dumb enemies; Incoherent style; Meandering story; Boring characters.