A war between a medieval humanoid race and a tribal race of giant rats brings widespread destruction to an alien planet. Add to that a group of amnesiac immortal humans to further exacerbate the chaos. These elements will play a role in determining this world’s future. Welcome to The Last Oricru
GoldKnights created The Last Oricru, a Soulslike Action RPG, which was published by Prime Matter. You play as Silver (the protagonist), a human trapped between two warring species – the Naboru and the Ratkin. Choices you make throughout the game have drastic consequences that change your relationships with each group. The Last Oricru‘s combination of grinding, difficult, often unclear decisions and sarcastic dialogue makes for an interesting experience.
Silver is an immortal warrior who awakens in a temple run by the Naboru, a humanoid species. He has no idea who he is or how he got there. Silver is immediately thrust into war preparations against the Ratkin race. The Ratkin are a race of sentient rat beings who were enslaved by the Naboru and are fighting for their freedom. While the Naboru fight to implement their version of medieval law and order across the land. The decision of who to support subtly begins in the early stages of the game. Even during the tutorial, your dialogue choices begin to influence your relationship levels with each group.
Without giving too much away, be aware that you will frequently believe you are making a dialogue choice that will benefit the faction with which you are siding, only to be horribly mistaken. One of the issues I had with the story was this – the writers appear to enjoy the quote “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
The plot twists and turns and the dialogue is oddly funny at times. For example, if you have the option to kill someone, you might make a snide remark right before killing them in a dramatic manner. Overall, you’re on a quest to discover how and why you’ve ended up here, and how to get back to where you came from.
The Last Oricru‘s gameplay is a mash-up of action-adventure, souls-like, and RPG mechanics. Those who have played souls-like games will recognize this. Outside of major bosses, the enemies respond whenever you die or enter the alternate dimension nodes (bonfires). Only human immortals have access to the nodes, which allow you to level up your stats and upgrade your gear. There’s gold, essence, and collectibles to be found. Essence is obtained through combat and is dropped when you die. You can return and collect them, but if you die again on the way, they are gone forever. You can trade in your essence to get more gold and use it to buy gear from various merchants.
The controls are straightforward, but each weapon has its own attack pattern and speed. Polearms, for example, take longer to swing than short swords. There’s also magic, or as one of the humans refers to it, “Science.” However, this is where I ran into some difficulties. I’m not the best at souls-like combat, but I’m not a slouch either. Any military weapons specialist would be envious of how the enemy attacks track. Basically, the enemies have a ridiculously powerful lock-on ability. Also, while locking on, my camera would frequently shift to above my character’s head, making timing my attacks/defense difficult.
Enemies are placed in some of the most punishing areas of the rooms. There was one fast-moving dual wielder, an invisible healer, and a slightly slow-moving high-damage dealer in one area. This was a brief encounter sandwiched between several other fights and a boss room. Power leveling or mastery of parrying is highly recommended due to the way some areas escalate to brutal difficulty levels.
While playing, I encountered a number of glitches and wonky lock-on mechanics. Flames and a few other light sources were not present. A boss fight mechanic was broken to the point where I couldn’t complete it.
The overall sound of this game is atmospheric; the background sounds change depending on where you are. The combat music is reminiscent of music from chases in stealth games. The voice acting is excellent, especially for the Ratkin characters. Sarcasm dominates the protagonist’s tone, regardless of how sad or serious the situation is at the time. It is unclear whether the developers intended for the main character to serve as comedic relief, but that is how he appears throughout the game.
The game has a multiplayer component, and how it works fits in nicely with the game’s narrative. I didn’t play enough multiplayer to form solid opinions. But from what I’ve seen, it creates new ways to combat difficult enemies. A split screen is also available for couch co-op. This is a feature that I wish more games would use.
The Last Oricru Overall
The Last Oricru has a ton of layers and replayability. Not only from your approach to combat and leveling, but also from the decisions you make. One decision at the start of the game can haunt you ten hours later. A map and fast travel would have helped this game. It wasn’t necessary for me to get to the end of the game, but it would have made for a less stressful experience.
At times, the combat, which was clearly inspired by Souls games, was far too brutal. There is a story mode that slows down the enemy’s movement, but you will still die from time to time. Some of the issues that a patch could potentially fix include lock-on issues and boss fight bugs. This title was created with great care, and it is unquestionably a “AA” game. This is worth a look if you like games like Elex and Thymesia. Available now on PC, Xbox Series X|S, and PlayStation 5 for $39.99. I rate this game a 6 out of 10.
Review code provided by the publisher. Reviewed on an Xbox Series X
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