Thursday, July 1, 2010

Last Remnant - Part Two

Last time, I established that Last Remnant desperately lacks a quality villain. But what it does have is a couple of likable protagonists in Rush Sykes and Marquis David (pronounced dah-veed...think French).

Rush starts the game on a quest to find his kidnapped sister. They have absentee parents (scientist/scholars who are too busy in the field to raise their kids), so Rush has understandably developed a "guardian" relationship with his sister. He blames himself for allowing her to be kidnapped (he fights the abductors but is overmatched), so it isn't hard to see why he's so driven. He reminded me of a more good-natured Fox Mulder (shout out to the X-Files fans), in that he wants to help people, but he doesn't want to get too side-tracked from his mission.

As for David, he's a young man (I'd guess late teens, like Rush) trying to fill the shoes of his recently deceased father, the former Marquis of Althum. Apparently dad was a pretty great ruler, much loved by his subjects, and David is struggling to cope with the loss and the weight of following in his footsteps. David is a good person who wants to help those in need, but he has to balance that desire with the needs of his kingdom. All the while, he has to deal with the fact that Althum is pretty low in the pecking order of kingdoms (they aren't even fully independent from another nearby country). It's a precarious position, and not easy to handle for a young prince that took the throne too early and is filled with self-doubt.

Now here's the kicker that makes these two such good characters: Rush and David end up complimenting each other perfectly. Rush is cocksure and confident, but he lacks the resources and political acumen to get his sister back. He'd "rush" headlong into danger without someone like David reigning him back a bit. As for David, he has the will to do the right thing but lacks the confidence. So through their friendship, Rush learns to fight for something greater than himself (the well-being of an entire kingdom) and ultimately recovers his sister, while David gains the confidence to lead Althum in its hour of need, saves the kingdom from a war, and gains its independence.

The best part is that everything I'm describing about their relationship is subtext, rather than explicitly stated. In most games (and movies), the writers worry that the viewer is too stupid to pick up on a subtle undertones, so they spell everything out. In this game, there's no specific scene where Rush and David express the fact that they depend on one another and cover for each other's shortcomings. They interact like normal just get to know them over the course of the game to the point where you can detect these things yourself. Mark me down as a person who prefers the more subtle route in storytelling.


One last bit of "subtext" that I felt was present in Last Remnant - there were more than a few hints that Rush and David had deeper feelings for each other than just friendship. They have a very close relationship, well beyond what even most very good friends would develop. Some of the comments that they exchange have a flirtatious undertone (example: when David requests an item from the party's inventory, Rush responds "Awww...I could never say no to you.") At one point, an openly gay bartender blatantly hits on Rush, so it's not like homosexual themes would come out of nowhere.

Again, this is all subtext. It's certainly never explicitly stated that the two share a deeper relationship. But I think most people who are perceptive when it comes to personal interactions would definitely pick up on at least the possibility. Compared to the atrocious homosexual themes in the equally-atrocious Enchanted Arms (featuring a screeching drama queen stereotype), Rush and David are handled with class and subtlety. Whether I'm right or not, I enjoyed them both as characters.


  1. UPDATE: Typing "rush david last remnant" into Google yielded several forum threads related to the themes I brought up in the last two paragraphs. Apparently I was not the only one to pick up on this...

  2. *shouts back*


    I was back and forth as the game progressed but the reaction after the death pretty much sealed the deal for me. These two were a couple, and an excellent one for all the reasons you list re their relationship.