The Latest Oricru Review
I like weird facts. You know, like cats have 32 muscles in their ears, or there are 293 ways to give change for a US dollar. Here’s one for gamers: a new Soulslike comes out every 7.5 seconds. If you’re a fan of Dark Souls-inspired action RPGs, you’re probably surprised the number is so low. This brings us to The Last Oricru, our Soulslike of the day.
Narratively, FromSoftware’s games are known for being opaque and full of mysteries to solve. The Last Oricru takes a different approach to its story that feels much more like an Elder Scrolls game. There are plenty of voiced NPCs and quite a convoluted plot that drives the action. You play an Outsider, an amnesiac – where have we heard that before? – which conveniently allows NPCs to expose you at every turn. You find yourself on an Earth-like planet called Wardenia, ruled by a disembodied talking head called the “Spaceship.” Once awakened, you realize that you are in the middle of a planetary conflict between three races.
The Naboru are descendants of a technology-driven people. As the ruling class, their cities are filled with medieval-looking towers. Ratskins are, well, humanoid rats and fall somewhere between slaves and a permanent underclass. Finally, there’s the Shattered Army, a shadowy alien race whose purpose in the conflict isn’t clear at first. You play as the last Oricru, the potential hero who will resolve the conflict, quell the “ratvolution” and unite the races.
As far as action game storytelling goes, it’s not bad. However, it swings wildly between satire and seriousness. The humor mostly comes from the game poking fun at familiar FromSoftware tropes, while still remaining mechanically very close to the template. For example, the blacksmith notices that it is strange to forge while a battle is raging around him. The player character is able to be reborn through a fashion accessory. Finally, the game developers suggest that the secrets of The Last Oricru are only revealed over multiple playthroughs, and player choice shapes the story arc. However, there is no character creator, so every run is the same. We get it, voice actors are expensive.
A not-so-well-oiled machine
Every developer releasing a Soulsborne game knows its combat will be compared to the classics. After all, Dark Souls, Elden Ring, Bloodborne, and Sekiro are the benchmark for action RPGs. Getting this right doesn’t depend on budget or production values. There are plenty of indie 2D souls with fantastic combat and relatively simple visuals.
It’s hard to mince words here. Last Oricru’s combat just isn’t very good. Nothing has much impact, hitboxes and i-frames are a mess, and the camera gets in the way more often than not. Enemies aggro from long distances but will run into invisible walls and stop their pursuit just before attacking. Blocks and parries are less of an option than just walking past an enemy. The combat animations are stiff and many of the frames are less than convincing. In other words, combat in The Oricru is pretty much the opposite of everything you love about FromSoftware’s games. That said, light and heavy attacks, using your shield, and magic work as intended.
The mechanics surrounding combat are also frustratingly less successful imitations of Soulsborne games. Limited healing items, corpse runs, weight encumbrance, remote terminals (bonfires), and stat-limited weapons: check. One of The Last Oricru’s mechanical “innovations” is that rings increase one stat at the expense of another. For example, if you want a Strength buff, you take a Dexterity hit. Equipping certain weapons or armor drains your mana pool. I guess the devs thought they were creating more “challenges”. If Elden Ring has taught us anything, it’s that you can have tough fights on top of gameplay convenience.
It’s a whole world, okay
Although its combat is underwhelming, The Last Oricru deserves some praise for its level design. Again, taking the Soulsborne games as a model, there are plenty of shortcuts to open and explore. Overall, the art style seems heavily influenced by the Elder Scrolls. All three races and the game architecture would be right at home in Skyrim or The Elder Scrolls Online. Of course, the idea of the rat race is as old as the Warhammer universe. Are you starting to get the idea that The Last Oricru is cobbled together from other better games? You wouldn’t be wrong.
The Last Oricru includes both online and split-screen co-op play, and after launch it should be possible to play the entire game with a buddy. While it might not be the preferred way to play the game, there are magic spells and other mechanics that are built around co-op. Playing with a friend definitely helps in crowd control situations.
Action RPGs from small development teams often have glitches, glitches, and technical glitches, and The Last Oricru is no exception. While nothing stopped the game, there were a lot of graphical glitches, pop-in issues, and frame rate slowdowns. The game definitely feels rough around the edges, if not at its core.
There are so many Soulslikes to choose from that no player has time to sample them all. While it can’t find a cohesive tone, The Last Oricru has a much better story arc than either the action or the gameplay. Whatever small attempts at originality there are, they are offset by deeply unsatisfying combat and poorly implemented mechanics. Only rabid Soulsborne fans who have to play every game in the genre should check this one out.
***PC code provided by publisher for review***
- Interesting story
- Some of the humor is worthy of laughter
- Decent level design
- your incoherent
- Unsatisfactory fight
- Frustrating mechanics
- very derived
- small cart