The Last Faith is a 2D pixel-graphic scrolling platformer Soulslike. Developer Kumi Souls pays homage to multiple incredible games like Castlevania and Metroid while finding a voice of its own. A deep, rich backdrop is bolstered by a story filled with intrigue, excellent music, and surprisingly good voice acting. Decent quality of life is paired with occasionally brutal combat, which isn’t the best feeling out there but enough to get the job done. It all comes together to make something worthy of your time, though how much so?
You awaken beneath a cathedral, cursed with a rot in your core that will slowly turn you mad. Over the course of 12-20 hours you’ll jump, swing, cast, and explore your way through a surprisingly large map. This is a world of death, decay, and maybe a little hope. This is a Soulslike, and you’ll begin by choosing your class. I went with the melee-focused brawler, though I ended up putting quite a few points into magic as I leveled. After quickly making my way out of the cathedral I was struck by the animations.
Most of the time the game looks at home on a Sega Saturn. During boss fights, while performing finishing moves, and during big set pieces you get some incredible animation work that reminds you the year the title was made. The world of The Last Faith is a somber one, full of gothic-inspired architecture, abominations, and the occasional friend. Those friends will slowly fill the Manor, your base of operations. Each serves as a different style of vendor and are part of a grand narrative and power ramp that felt great.
Throughout your adventures, you’ll have your typical city, cathedral, swamp, ice cavern biomes and more. Some of the later areas are stunning, and the bosses look fantastic every time. They’re not always the most fun to fight though, which we’ll hit on in the next section.
The Last Faith combat is ok most of the time, and occasionally extremely cool. You have two main hand weapons, which are your typical sword/axe/dagger etc. Governing those are your Strength and Dexterity stats. In your off-hand, you can have range weaponry like a pistol or various spells that you’ll find/buy throughout your playthrough.
Weapons have a jumping attack, standard hit, and charge move. Holding Right Bumper and using X will do a special move, specific to each weapon. These moves use up your “mana”, which can be replenished by easy-to-find consumables. Health consumables are also available aplenty and do not operate on a flask system. You’ll find them everywhere in each level and eventually can purchase them for a small number of Nycrux (souls). Every enemy drops this souls equivalent and it is the main currency you’ll use. Weapons can be upgraded with it along with a specific set of items that are found mostly as drops and eventually on vendors. It’s all familiar and works well.
My main issue is the simplicity of the combat. B is a dodge backward and a roll, depending on whether you’re pressing a direction or not. A jumps and you can go quite high. In an attempt to feel soulslike, the game is deliberate. Animations on swings aren’t nearly as slow as in the From games but are still long for a 2D platformer. The jump feels good though it took me a bit of time to properly judge just how far I could go with it. In typical Metroidvania style there are movement unlocks you’ll get over time, like a wall jump in specific spots and a grappling claw (again for certain points). You’ll unlock a parry early, which is damned powerful but tough to use. Having to press rb+y each time took a lot of muscle memory practice for me.
Most hits will stun enemies out of attacking, but not always. Knowing when it would happen took a bit of practice with each new weapon. Bosses are never stunned and you’ll have to time your jumps and dodges to avoid hits, which felt like a crapshoot on some of the larger ones. You fight a lot of large bosses and the hitboxes could feel a bit bigger than the pixels on screen. Few things are as frustrating in a Soulslike as a bad hitbox. It didn’t happen all the time, but when it did it drove me crazy.
Outside of fighting you’ll do a lot of running and jumping in The Last Faith. The map system will immediately feel familiar though the layout can be annoying. I felt lost far too often, and aimless. The hodgepodge nature of how progression was achieved started to make me think that things were almost random in how they were placed at times. The game has no waypoint system, so you’ll just have to look for any area you haven’t explored, go there, and look in every nook & cranny. If I knew where to go via waypoint I would have beaten the game in roughly half the time.
There’s a nice variety to the biomes, though I was not too fond of the Ice Caverns section. Falling icicles, exploding ice structures, annoying enemy types, and a massive boss with a broken hitbox were not fun. It is also one of the least visually pleasing areas in what is otherwise a beautiful game. The Last Faith rides the line of new and old well for the majority of the time, but a few of the areas are drab to the point of visual boredom.
The music is great, as are the sound effects. The mix on both can be off, with music cutting off outright when you transition between areas. A simple fade in and out would keep it from being so constantly jarring. When it’s playing though, the soundtrack is fantastic. Proper bombastic orchestral voiced tracks add to the gravitas of each boss fight, and the voice acting is mostly great. A few characters don’t keep up with the quality of the rest, but they are the exception.
Bug-wise I had no major issues, outside of Quick Resume not working. The game has no accessibility settings either, so if you’re not looking for a challenging title this won’t be a good one for you.
Wrapping Things Up
The Last Faith is a mostly good game, with a few moments of brilliance, and a few more that drove me into a rage. It’s a beautiful, great-sounding game with decent combat and a world I found intriguing. In a year of stellar releases, this is one to ,at the very least, add to your back catalog.
The Last Faith
Xbox Series X
- Beautiful Pixel Art
- Great OST
- Solid Voice Acting
- Great Build Variety
- Meandering Exploration
- Some Boss Hitboxes Are Broken
- A Few Boring/Unfun Biomes