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The Last Faith - Review


Always wondered how many lovecraft inspired games there are in the industry. I don’t praise the guy, I mean he was a Grade A racist, and I haven’t really read any of his books. However, I enjoy what he wrote and the media for which his work inspired. So let’s look over some games that are inspired by his work. Darkest Dungeon is one of the more well-known examples as it follows a team of unlucky adventurers guided by your hands diving into a dungeon full of horrors beyond their comprehension and discovering they come from a place beyond their realm. You can tell I looked up the ending, because I never finished Darkest Dungeon. Another recent example would be Signalis, a sci-fi survival horror game that not only pays respect to the past but also involves a whole lot of time loop elements and eldritch horrors in its plot. Darkwood, The Sinking City, No One Lives Under The Lighthouse, the list goes on depending on how much you know. Yet none of these have been talked about nor referenced in the same way as Bloodborne. Yeah, you knew I was gonna connect this back to one of my favorite games of all time. Probably one of the most discussed video games ever seeing how it’s lore is still being picked apart and it’s trending every single week on Twitter.


Bloodborne is not just a good lovecraft inspired game, it's just a well-designed game all around. It helped elevate the Souls series to new heights and was one of the main reasons to go purchase a Playstation 4 for a while. There’s a good combat loop, world design, atmosphere, everything about it is just so damn good. It’s one of few games I come back to regularly like Hades, because I can’t get enough of it. As much as I love future Souls entries nothing has captured the feeling I and many others had with Bloodborne. Mainly it's the setting and atmosphere. The only game I can really think of is Lies of P, which is a masterpiece mind you, but I wouldn’t say it has exactly the same feeling as Bloodborne since it does enough to form its own identity. A badass identity mind you, again. Please go play Lies of P. There’s also Vigil: The Longest Night, but the majority of that game had you exploring forests and damp places compared to a sprawling city with gothic architecture. So I guess there hasn’t been any game that captures the exactness of Bloodborne. That was until recently when a team of indie developers decided to make what was essentially 2D Bloodborne


A few years ago, an independent studio by the name of Kumi Souls Games decided to release a surprise teaser for their debut project The Last Faith. A game that advertised itself as a soulslike metroidvania. Taking influence from Castlevania, Blasphemous, and Bloodborne. It made it very clear as to what it wanted to be, and a good amount of people got very hyped for what was to come. It had the exact same tone, atmosphere, and setting as of Bloodborne. It looked epic and I too was one of those individuals who grew interested in The Last Faith. I kept a close eye on it, watched the development updates, and eventually they released the full game last year. Reviews for it are really positive. Saying it did a splendid job recapturing what made Bloodbrone great in a 2D format, and knocking it out of the park for the team’s first big project. I knew this was a game I had to try out and I finally got around to playing it. How was it? Really good. The 2D soulslikes, otherwise what I’ll dub soulsvania, are some of my favorites amongst the soulsike genre and I’m always down to seeing where they’ll take metroidvanias next. 


The Last Faith delivered exactly what I expected, and I slap a solid recommendation onto it. This is a game worth your time, but I will admit there are some aspects that may tick players off. It is the studios first game and not every aspect of The Last Faith feels extremely polished. A couple rough edges that make playing The Last Faith feel weird at times, and there are some moments that may either make you want to quit or realize it feels like a play by play of Bloodborne or the Blasphemous games. I still very much enjoyed The Last Faith and I’m excited to talk about it. So today we’ll be discussing why I liked The Last Faith and why it deserves your attention.


Story


The Last Faith takes place in a dark theocracy driven world. Religion rules overall and many of the inhabitants of the world dedicate their lives to either healing, researching, or praying to the ever-powerful gods from beyond. Everything is spent for the betterment of everyone, but not all is good as it seems. The laws of the world begin to change, and the high members of society start to abuse their power. Through enough prayers they start to obtain powers gifted from the beyond, but this comes at a terrible cost. They begin to mutate into terrible monsters, and these cursed prayers start to have an effect on the populace too. A terrible disease spreads through the streets and many of the city’s inhabitants either go insane or transform into husks of their former selves. The city is abandoned and those who remain are either corrupt with power, become monsters, or have been thrown into prison for attempting to revolt.


You are one of these revolters. Eryk has been sealed away for attempting to fight back against the ones ruining the world, and he’s been spending a lot of his time in chains. Forgetting who he was and his purpose in the world. One day he is mysteriously cut free of his chains, and he takes this as an opportunity to escape. Fleeing the asylum and fighting the people there who have all turned into monsters. He makes his way to a manor where he finds people who have not transformed or gone insane. The manor is a safe haven away from the city, and the people there explain that all has gone to hell. Someone must stop the higher beings of the land, and there’s only one skilled slayer who can do so. Eryk is infected, but he hasn’t begun to change like other people. He can control the infection and use the energy obtained from slain foes to increase his powers. So it is Eryk's job to hunt beasts, slay the higher beings, and bring order back.


Gameplay


If you’ve played a metroidvania or soulslike before then you’ll fall right at home with this game. You explore an interconnected world, unveil shortcuts and checkpoints to cut down the amount of backtracking you have to do, obtain new character abilities, defeat enemies, gain experience points, level up, and every so often face a boss who’ll test your skills. At first Eryk plays like any soulslike character. He can dodge roll through attacks using invincibility frames, backstep which does the exact same thing but allows him to follow up with an attack much easier, and since this is a 2D metroidvania he can jump to avoid ground attacks and navigate the environment. As you progress through the game though you’ll unlock new abilities to traverse the world and tackle stronger foes who may have attacks that can only be avoided using those moves. Grappling hook to zip to high areas, an air dash to traverse across long gaps, and late into the game you unlock the double jump to reach even higher areas. It makes progressing through the world much more satisfying instead of just killing, leveling up, and killing some more as it’s a better representation of how strong your character is by the end of the journey. Speaking of leveling up there are a good handful of stats to increase and help form the build you want so you can face future foes.


Vitality for if you want to increase your health and defense. Strength for heavy damage dealing playstyle, Dexterity for faster more reactive playstyles, and there’s Mind and Instinct for abilities like magic and elemental skills. Every weapon and attack in The Last Faith scales with different stats and some will scale better depending on their scale grade. I chose a strength build, but feel free to change up your playstyle especially when you unlock the ability to respect stats early in the game. Be careful when carrying around experience points though which in this case is called Nycrux. If you die you will drop your Nycrux and the only way to get it back is by backtracking to where you lost it. Die again before retrieving the lost Nycrux and it’s gone for good. That’s why you have healing syringes to quickly patch yourself up while out in the field. You can carry seven at a time and extra syringes looted will be sent to storage, so when you rest at an altar you can refill. You can find healing holsters hidden in the world to upgrade carrying capacity, and you can also find bullet pouches so you can utilize your guns more. There are other things to find like rare consumables, new gear, charms which grant your stat bonuses, and stigmas which are special abilities. Stigmas give you things like the ability to parry, block an attack, transform into a raging beast, or increase attack speed. However, they use energy, and it can only be refilled by attacking. Having a reactive playstyle is good especially with how relentless foes are.


At the end of almost every area there is a boss fight and they’ll be what stands between you and progression. They have a variety of attacks and will kill you easily if you don’t play carefully. So learn their attack patterns, find windows of opportunity, punish them for when they are open, and eventually slay the fowl fiends. You gain a ton of experience points for killing them and even get some of those important character upgrades. The path forward or to these bosses will not always be linear, so explore. Just be careful where you end up going. Besides that there’s nothing much else I have to say about the gameplay. It’s a pretty solid soulsvania and there’s a lot of exciting moments which we’ll touch upon shortly. Hopefully, you can slay the holy dictators that lie high in the land, bring order upon this cursed world, and be able to finally rest easy.


Thoughts


The Last Faith is a stellar soulslike metroidvania although a somewhat flawed one. It is a game that I really like, but there were moments where I was getting ready to give up. There’s a lot of things this game does well, but every so often there’s a minor annoyance that puts me off. What will sell most people on this game are the visuals. I am a huge fan of beautiful pixel art and this game certainly has that. The amount of details from the backgrounds to small simple objects. All the characters, creatures, and character portraits which is probably my favorite work in the game. I also like how ambient this game is. It understands what made Bloodborne work by having no music besides during boss battles. It allows the world to be atmospheric with only the sound of howling wind and battle noises echo through the room. The game is really dark for the most part and a majority of your time will be spent in gothic cities or places with gothic architecture. This game looks good and the audio design is great. Although I will say that sometimes the grunts of the main character get annoying after a bit. He does it every single time he attacks and it can get repetitive many hours into the game. This is expected of video games at this point and it doesn’t really hold this game down. Compared to a couple other aspects of The Last Faith.


Combat is very good. Attack animations are fluid, every weapon is fun to use, enemy variety is good enough, and bosses serve as highlights. I especially appreciate how none of the weapons feel like repeats of each other. Like you have these razor-sharp candle looking weapons, but it’s actually a whip and is good for attacking from a distance. This miniature club that deals shock damage each hit. There's a duel which fires quickly from a long distance. Scythe, axe, greataxe, summoning lightning, and much more. It’s fun to run around and slay beasts. It’s what I’ve been doing in Yharnam for years now, but something feels very off about it though. Like I did enjoy it, but it was lacking something that makes other soulslike games feel good. I think there are two territories when it comes to soulslike combat. The first is weighty and impactful.Combat is slow, but each hit feels like you're taking a meaty cut out of your enemies. Then you have the second which is fast yet satisfying. Combat doesn’t feel weighty but still feels great due to feedback and fluidity. One thing I’d like to mention is that both types can also be accelerated by good sound design. The thing about The Last Faith is that your attacks have an input display, but they don’t feel weighty. It feels like I’m cutting clean through something without any impact which feels off. I used a big old greatsword for a majority of my playthrough and it felt like waving a wooden stick rather than a heavy blade.


I’ve never played a soulslike that feels both fluid and sluggish at the same time. Input delays and your character doing things slowly can also lead to some frustrating moments as well. There are a few moments where I needed to dodgethrough an attack, and it’s either my character doesn’t do it fast enough or he doesn’t transition into a roll easily. I played through this game on consoles and the button to use the healing syringes is mapped to the left trigger. Sometimes it doesn’t work. Like it might take a hefty press or second press just to use a syringe. The item you need to use to prevent yourself from dying. I also hate how your character just stiffens when you inject a syringe. I understand you want players to find safe moments in a fight to heal, but some of the bosses later on are relentless. They give you very few windows of opportunity and stun you very easily, so trying to heal is suicide. Speaking of bosses, while I do really like them overall a few of them are just bad. So bad they almost made me quit a few times. One boss is a duo fight against a heavy hitting big and archer who is constantly hopping around the arena. My strategy was to target the archer since she keeps spamming arrows, but turns out the correct way was to target the big guy since you can open him up for visceral attacks. That’s when one of the harder fights in the game became absolutely trivial. Also that archer is reused later on as a separate boss which is really easy since you know what to do from the first encounter. Which brings us onto my next problem in that somewhere near the end The Last Faith starts reusing enemies because they ran out of new ones to introduce. These gargoyles they use as a boss fight early on become regular foes, and the last area has you cut through enemies you fought in earlier areas of the game but with meatier health bars.


The game has several difficulty curves, some of which aren’t in a fair way, boverall,all I’d say the game served a pretty satisfying sense of challenge. This is where we move onto the positive parts of the game. I think despite the controls feeling weird the game has really fun traversal options. By the end you can glide gracefully around the world, and secrets you couldn’t obtain before are now obtainable which makes progression and backtracking through some areas fun. Challenge ramps up to match new abilities so for example send out attacks that can only be avoided with a good double jump or air dash. I like how the game has five core stats instead of eight or more. It allows build creation to be very easy right from the get go and weapons give a clear idea of what you should and shouldn’t prioritize if you want to get the most out of them. There’s no armor to worry about and despite there being charms to increase certain stats you can pretty much beat the game just by focusing on core stat leveling. The soundtrack is epic, having the symphonic hums and ferocity the soundtracks of the Soulsborne series has. Despite the game having a vast world to venture through I never found myself feeling lost during my travels. Just open the map and you can see what paths you haven’t explored yet and some even are marked with red doors. They serve as a sign that they haven’t been opened, and maybe by now you have what is needed. 


I actually kind of like how The Last Faith went for the vial system Bloodborne has. It does not have the rallying mechanic which blows for a game with an aggressive playstyle, but I still like it because occasionally enemies drop vials for you to loot. Allowing you to keep going without the need to run back to a checkpoint and replenish unless it’s bad. I never found myself running out of vials because you unlock a merchant early on who sells them to you for a cheap price. Weapon upgrades on the other hand are not so much, because resources for them are scarce and the prices for them are the equivalent of one whole level up. However, I can understand why they did this to prevent becoming overpowered early on and trivializing a lot of areas. I also like how you got to search for blueprints to further upgrade weapons. Further incentivizes you to explore so you can get what you need to survive. Magic is very fun to use as long as you make a build that uses it well. Turns out whipping out specific elements at the right moment can make fights a tad bit more manageable. Finally the story is pretty well written for the most part. There’s some really intriguing history to the world and I like how the plot, much like Blasphemous, is exploring the themes of religious corruption and bringing an end to it even if it means there’s nothing left.


The only thing I’ll say is that at some point I stopped caring about the story. It’s good, but it’s trying a little bit too hard to replicate Blasphemous and Bloodborne to the point it can’t stand out on its own. I won’t say it’s bad. It’s good for the most part. There are some rough edges but overall, I say I had an amazing time with The Last Faith. The developers have done something amazing for their big debut and I’m excited to see what they have in store next if they decide to make another game outside of The Last Faith universe. In the end I am going to give The Last Faith a 9/10 for excellence at best.



This critique was written by the single man at Review on. Stay tuned for more content and feel free to check more reviews out over at my site!

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