We're all waiting anxiously for more news regarding Final Fantasy XIII , but chances are, Square-Enix is going to wow us all before FF XIII. Earlier this year, they introduced their brand new next-gen franchise, The Last Remnant , and all early indications are…yeah, it's gonna be good. Australian game site GamePlayer has gotten a chance to "go live" with an early build of the highly anticipated RPG, and their comments are both welcome and encouraging.

First off, it seems all the battles are "free-flowing affairs," as we'll be able to push our characters far behind enemy lines during major conflicts. However, common-sense army tactics apply, as driving too deep and getting your comrades surrounded by foes is definitely a bad idea. To get into the specifics a bit, they talk about the crucial Morale meter, which is just what it sounds like: the better your army's morale, the better your units will fight, and the better they will coordinate their attacks. It seems Morale is dictated by how many units each side has remaining, which makes perfect sense. Furthermore, if you find yourself falling behind, you can always call in reinforcements and even those summoned creatures – ala Final Fantasy – we've all come to know and love!

Obviously, though, The Last Remnant won't be anything like the old-fashioned turn-based combat Square-Enix (and Squaresoft) were so well known for. No, this one is going to be fast and furious, perhaps even similar to the Dynasty Warriors franchise, and that's proven by the Quick Time scenarios. These sound like a cross between the Context Sensitive Attacks from God of War and the Quickenings from Final Fantasy XII . With "correctly timed button presses," you will be able to chain together massive attacks or even perform "environmental-specific movements." This is exactly the kind of thing that could separate a strat/RPG from the rest of the pack; we're looking at you, PC gamers.

And as if there was any question, the game evidently looks fantastic. Earlier this year, Square-Enix licensed the powerful and effective Unreal Engine 3 for use in this game, and GamePlayer says Remnant is "simply astonishing to look at." On top of it all, despite some of the issues other developers have encountered using the UE3 engine, it seems Square-Enix has really taken to the engine. Everything is running smoothly, and the game is actually ahead of schedule! We still don't have an official release date, but it should certainly arrive some time next year (perhaps during Q1 or Q2), and that's great news, especially if Final Fantasy XIII gets pushed into 2009.

This first look at The Last Remnant makes us all the more excited, because Square-Enix is certainly capable of delivering a truly amazing – and even singular – experience.

Related Game(s): The Last Remnant

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