Review – The Last Oricru
I appreciate whenever a video game tries to do something new. Bioware made a name for themselves with franchises like Dragon Age and Mass Effect, where your decisions would greatly affect the plot, as well as your relationships with others. Demon’s Souls forever revolutionized action RPGs by creating a brutal and punishing gameplay style that has since spawned its own genre: soulslikes. Elex married two seemingly conflicting genres, fantasy and sci-fi, and did so beautifully. The Last Oricru from GoldKnights sought to take each of these elements and put them together in one game. Did it succeed at what it set out to do? Let’s take a look.
The Last Oricru takes place in a strange world where a once technologically advanced civilization has been lost and all but forgotten. You play as Silver, a male human, who has a bizarre dream where he is murdered by an alien being and then is spoken to by a giant blue face who asks him to help it find the Cradle of Life, claiming that it is the only thing that can help him escape. He awakens on a strange planet and is told that he is one of only a handful of humans on this alien world, and that he is the last of them to have awoken.
Apparently, there is a civil war taking place between the races of the Noboru (who are the ones responsible for waking you up), the Ratkin (their rodent-like slaves), and the shadowy Broken Army. Humans, as it seems, have the unique ability to not die permanently, thanks to their glowing magical belts. Naturally, this makes them highly desired by the warring races to aid them in their quests. Right from the get-go you’re tasked with doing everyone’s dirty work to gain their favor. Lucky you!
Truth be told, the writing is without a doubt The Last Oricru‘s highlight. In fact, the entire narrative focus of the game is its only interesting factor. There are plenty games that boast “your decisions will impact the story”, but don’t really make much difference by the end. Telltale’s The Walking Dead games are a prime example of this. The Last Oricru on the other hand, actually delivers on this promise. It’s clear right away that certain decisions carry real weight, with loyalties between races being instantly affected based off your dialogue choices and actions.
What I wasn’t expecting was for many of the smaller, seemingly insignificant decisions to impact the story in unforeseen ways. NPCs I met later on in the game would either welcome me with open arms and thank me for something I had done earlier, or they would be completely closed off to me because they had heard about something I had done. Out of curiosity, I restarted the game on a separate file and made different decisions, and was shocked to discover that there were entirely different ways to progress through the game based off my new choices. And I do mean completely different. Certain paths you take will only be available when siding with one race or the other. It honestly felt like two different games, which adds to the replayablity factor. That is, if you actually feel like going back and replaying it.
This is where my high praise for The Last Oricru ends. Unfortunately, just about every other aspect of the game is a mess. Its combat is particularly bad. The Last Oricru designed its combat after the Souls games, but it’s nowhere near as effective. There’s no punch and little weightiness to your attacks. The controls are janky, with jumping feeling floaty and actions not always responding right away. Hit detection is unreliable at best.
Then there’s the camera, which goes from running smoothly over your shoulder, to randomly whipping around at breakneck speeds with no warning. It’s even worse when there are multiple enemies onscreen. This is largely in part to the lock-on system, that will ferociously toggle back and forth between enemies when there’s a group of them. Since the game can’t decide which enemy to stay locked on, the camera will dart back and forth between anything that moves. Obviously this makes trying to dispatch a group of foes much more difficult, and can cause moments of nausea for anyone with motion sickness. Hopefully there’s a patch in the works to remedy this.
The only positive feature to The Last Oricru‘s gameplay is the option to play in couch co-op. Truth be told, this is something I miss dearly from most modern games, since there plenty of times I want to play a new release with my friends and family, but there aren’t enough TVs or separate consoles to make it happen. So a couch co-op option is always a huge plus in my books. I played a good chunk of The Last Oricru with my husband one night, and we had a good time figuring things out together and getting past some of the larger clusters of enemies easier. In fact, I think that was the most fun I had with the game, but that’s more because of the company than any slick game design.
Visually, The Last Oricru is a bit of a mess. Its cutscenes look decent, for the most part, but the character models are very hit and miss. Textures are muddied at times and hair looks like it’s made of straw. There’s also horrible lip syncing, which is often distracting when watching characters have long dialogue exchanges with one another. Then there’s the framerate, which is rarely consistent and plummets whenever there are multiple enemies onscreen.
Many of the area maps are fairly bland and boring, but there are a few that are quite striking. The level designs themselves aren’t bad, but they can be extremely confusing to navigate at times. This brings me to my biggest complaint with The Last Oricru: there are no maps. There’s no world map, no mini map, no quest markers, nothing. Because of this, you can expect to waste tons of time desperately searching for where you’re supposed to go next. I like when games don’t hold your hand, but this is one area where a little guidance would have been appreciated.
The sound design is mostly fine throughout. The soundtrack is serviceable, but unremarkable. Most of the voice acting is decent, except for our protagonist who doesn’t fit the role at all. The voice acting isn’t the worst thing ever, but the delivery is so jovial and sarcastic that it doesn’t fit in with the gravity of what’s happening around him at all. It just feels like an incorrect take on the character, but then again, the writing I’m sure is also partially responsible for this.
GoldKnights had an ambitious vision with The Last Oricru. Honestly, too ambitious for a small studio. There are some good ideas in here, but they’re lost beneath a myriad of flaws. It’s a shame because the story is genuinely interesting and each of your decisions and actions greatly affect the story in unforeseen ways. I can appreciate a game with some jankiness if its world is rich, the characters are well fleshed out, and the story is compelling. I loved GreedFall for this exact reason, despite its flaws. Unfortunately, The Last Oricru feels like it’s still in early access, and none of its other attributes are strong enough to make up for its shortcomings. As it stands right now, I would have to recommend waiting for it to go on sale or until more patches are released to make it more playable.
The cutscenes look decent, but the character models are very hit and miss. A few of the areas are visually appealing, but most of them are fairly bland and boring. The framerate plummets when engaging with more than one enemy at a time.
It has soulslike combat, but much simpler. Unfortunately, it lacks the punch and polish of the Souls games. The controls are janky, the camera is frustrating, and its hit detection is unreliable. However, it does offer couch co-op, which makes the experience a bit better.
The soundtrack is serviceable, but unremarkable. Most of the voice acting is decent, except for our protagonist who doesn’t fit the role at all.
Fun Factor: 5.0
There are some good ideas in here, but they’re lost beneath a myriad of flaws. It’s a shame because the story is genuinely interesting and each of your decisions and actions greatly affect the story in unforeseen ways. Unfortunately, it feels like it’s still in early access.
Final Verdict: 5.0
The Last Oricru is available now on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series S/X.
Reviewed on Xbox Series X.
A copy of The Last Oricru was provided by the publisher.