Archives by Day

The Last Faith

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: PlayStack
Developer: Kumi Souls Games
Release Date: Nov. 15, 2023


As an Amazon Associate, we earn commission from qualifying purchases.

PC Review - 'The Last Faith'

by Cody Medellin on Nov. 29, 2023 @ 1:30 a.m. PST

A dark, gothic fusion of metroidvania and soulslike, The Last Faith thrives on merciless and precise combat with a huge range of weapons, firearms, and custom executions at your disposal.

Metroidvanias are popular and abundant on about every platform. The same can be said for Soulslike or Soulsborne games, whichever moniker you prefer for titles that feature precision combat and high levels of difficulty. The idea to put them together into one game isn't new, and we've seen that combination, sometimes with brilliant results as in the duo of Blasphemous games. The Last Faith is the latest game to meld these subgenres, and the result is good but not without issues.

If you're already familiar with Soulslike titles, then you already have an idea of the story. The game is set in what can be best described as a Victorian-like city, where the blessings of an all-powerful being were bestowed on the wrong people and the land has become cursed with monsters and other plights. You play the role of Eryk, an amnesiac with a mysterious past. After being suddenly freed from his prison by killing an unwitting guard, he ventures out to seek the truth behind his past.

The premise is fine, but the major problem is how purposefully obtuse it wants to be. The opening cut scene does a good job of introducing you to the world, but every character you run into muddies the narrative. Everyone speaks eloquently but manages to say nothing until the very end, after several dialogue screens have passed. Other characters present their concerns but fail to address your questions when you ask. Some may argue that stories in games like this are mere window dressing, but their presence is tiresome for those who are interested in the lore and trying to figure out what's happening.

The game starts by having you choose between four different character classes, but this is where the game starts to show some cracks. No matter which class you choose, you'll always have access to the same weapons, so the choices are more stat-related than anything else. Most of the stats are easy to understand, but others, like Instinct and Fate, subscribe to the game's ideal of remaining obtuse and hoping you'll figure out things via guesswork. While you may have the opportunity to level up those stats, you can't re-spec them, and when you consider how you aren't able to level up very often, making one wrong upgrade can feel devastating.

As mentioned before, the game is a merger of two different adventure subgenres. When it comes to the Metroidvania side, The Last Faith sticks to the classic hallmarks of that genre, such as large environments with hints that many passageways exist if you simply had the tools for them. A decent number of checkpoints ensure that backtracking isn't much of a slog. There's the ability to place your own markers on a map, but that's been done in other titles before. The game feels more linear than others in the genre, as you can't really get lost since the game practically dictates where you need to go. The lack of innovation in this area isn't bad, though, as the game handles the basics well.

The Soulslike subgenre makes up a good chunk of the game, with the source of inspiration largely being Bloodborne. Your arsenal consists of both a melee weapon and a projectile weapon that can be switched out for magic. You can find a wide variety of weapons along your journey, from swords to axes to gauntlets in addition to items to augment your abilities, like adding fire to your bullets. You need to find bullets for your gun and healing items, and while you can buy them from vendors, the game isn't stingy about doling them out from dead enemies. You can conceivably stack a ton in your arsenal, even though there's a limit to how many you can access at any one time. Enemies hit hard enough that even the weakest foes can whittle down your health meter with a few good blows, and this is doubly so for bosses that can easily decimate you if given the chance. Checkpoints refill your health but also make enemies respawn, and death means having to return to the spot of your demise to recover funds.

This is where you realize that the game doesn't completely take everything from the Soulslike category. Mana is still drained when you use magic or special moves, but you don't have to worry about maintaining stamina because that meter doesn't exist. You don't have to worry about being tired or stopping to let it refill. Falling from great heights won't kill you, and weapon durability isn't something you have to worry about. The same goes for your inventory; you still have a limit to what you can carry, but it never feels limited, and you won't feel like you're encumbered with too much stuff.

At the same time, the implementation of some things isn't as strong as hoped. There's some inconsistency when it comes to enemy attacks. Some projectiles that foes throw will go through objects in the environment, while others stop where they should. You can duck, but you can't attack while doing so. Gunfire and magic spells are fine but seem like a last resort attack, since your melee weapons tend to be more powerful. The same goes for special attacks and charged ones, as the basic attack can inflict just as much damage without using any resources or leaving yourself open for a counter. Perhaps the most perplexing part of the system is parrying. Not only do you need precise timing to pull it off, but doing so also requires you to use a two-button combination, which is awkward to do. Even then, pulling off a successful parry isn't advantageous, since you don't get an opportunity to quickly unleash a killing blow.

Despite these issues, the combat remains fun enough to keep playing. The standard attacks mixed in with your dodge make combat feel good once you get into more of a Metroidvania mindset. Even though they don't inflict massive damage, magic spells are good for punctuating attacks or making them feel more varied. Enemy attack patterns have good tells as long as you aren't spamming attacks, as those effects tend to hide enemy movement. You can even use objects like boxes and chairs as impromptu projectiles, something that few games do, and you'll want to do this often since the damage inflicted can almost equal your own melee attacks. There are just enough good elements to outweigh the bad, and it's just enough to drive you to finish the game no matter how many times you die.

This is a journey with a good amount of content, and while the main quest line can be satisfying, especially with the multiple endings, the same can't be said for the various side-quests. You may be tasked with retrieving things like a teacup or flowers for someone, and the items are far away and take some work to reach. Completing the side-quests provides materials for upgrading yourself or your weapons. Unless you're a completionist, the advantages gained from completing side-quests never feel substantial enough to make a difference.

Graphically, The Last Faith looks quite nice. The cut scenes show off some great pixel work with hints of animation that make scenes pop. During gameplay, the environments are rich with details that might escape your view mostly because of the purposefully drab color scheme being used. This isn't a knock, as anything brighter would've robbed the game of its creepy undertones. The character animations are also nice thanks to the attention to detail, and the designs are rather fetching despite them not being more imaginative than what's in other titles. There's not much to complain about aside from that little nitpick.

As far as audio goes, it's flawed but still good overall. The music is excellent, as each track fits the mood perfectly, whether it's pure exploration or getting into a big boss fight. The only issue happens when you transition into a new area that uses a different track; the transition is not only sudden but also includes a noticeable pause before the track change occurs. Likewise, the voicework is excellent. Regardless of your feelings on the dialogue, the performances stayed true to what one would imagine the characters to sound like. The drawback is that it seems like all of the dialogue was recorded without a filter, so the delivery doesn't sound as refined.

For Steam Deck users, The Last Faith works very well on that device. The game may not have any options when it comes to changing its graphics, but the title runs at the native 1280x800 with a locked 60fps at all times. From a full charge, the game hits a little under five hours on the original Steam Deck, and it never gets to the point where the system's fan needs to spin up to audible levels. Text is also legible without the need to use the system's magnifying glass. In short, it's difficult to find any flaws with the game's performance on the device, and there isn't any real need for most people to tweak the game settings to squeeze more performance or battery life from the system.

In the end, The Last Faith is good but not great. The weapon variety makes the combat system feel very nice, while the special moves and parrying can be safely ignored by most players. The side-quests feel like unnecessary fluff, but at least the main questline is good enough to keep players engaged. The misuse of classes and lack of the ability to re-spec your character feel like missed opportunities when more modern games in the Soulslike genre have started to adopt this. The obtuseness in various areas gives off unwarranted but pretentious vibes. While it may not be the kind of game you should immediately launch into, The Last Faith is a title that makes for a good time when you want to get into hardier fare between other titles.

Score: 7.0/10

More articles about The Last Faith
blog comments powered by Disqus