Last Faith Review – Imitation Breeds Success in This Gothic Metroidvania

8.2/10

A solid entry in the Metroidvania genre, The Last Faith wears its influences on its sleeve, and provides a fun hack-and-shoot-and-spell adventure while doing so. It isn't particularly original - but it's fun, so who cares?

If imitation truly is the sincerest form of flattery, then The Game Kitchen and FromSoftware should feel quite flattered by The Last Faith. The debut PC and console title from Kumi Souls is an unabashed mashup of Bloodborne and Blasphemous, borrowing equally from both games with its aesthetics, mechanics, and narrative stylings. I had some trepidation about The Last Faith, as at first blush it’s a title seemingly bereft of unique ideas — but I love the games it imitates so much I couldn’t resist checking it. 15 hours and one final boss later, I’m very glad I did. Turns out, if a game borrows enough ideas from great games, and successfully implements them, it can end up pretty darn good in its own right.

The Last Faith (TLF) is a standard modern Metroidvania in every sense of the word. There’s an absolutely massive map to explore, full of secrets, branching paths, and pits full of spikes. While exploring, you’ll unlock new traversal abilities that allow you to reach that just-a-bit-too-high loot, and progress further into the game. Since most Metroidvania devs also seem to love Soulslikes as much as I do, you’ll drop your held currency when you die, and lose it if you die before making it back; you’ll also be able to rest and teleport from rest points, which were called… well, I know they weren’t called bonfires, but I honestly don’t remember what they’re called in TLF — and besides, you already know what I’m talking about.

bonfire equivelant the last faith review
Altars! I think they were called Altars.

It’s all going to be very familiar to anyone who played Blasphemous, Hollow Knight, or any of the other excellent Metroidvanias that have come out in the last few years. TLF makes no real attempt to introduce anything complex or new to the tried-and-true formula — but each of the standard pieces of said formula are used effectively.

Many players will no doubt be interested in The Last Faith due to its aesthetic, and I can comfortably say that the game follows through on what the trailers and promotional images promise. You’ll hack and slash your way through impressive cathedrals, creepy witch-filled swamps, and spooky crypts, with the oft-freakish denizens of these places glorping their way around and even sometimes taunting you. The sound design is decent, though the music got pretty repetitive and I eventually turned it off.

I won’t pretend to have completely followed the story, but I believe that’s at least in part by design, as TLF is definitely doing a Soulslike with their approach to narrative. After the opening cutscene, you’re left to your own devices when it comes to figuring out the plot. Reading item descriptions and speaking to NPCs is how you’ll learn most of what’s going on, but naturally the NPCs often speak vaguely (or else use too many proper nouns for someone with a limited attention span like me to keep straight). What I could glean of the narrative seems to be a passing fair combination of the Bloodborne and Blasphemous plots.

thats not very nice npc dialog the last faith review
Should I be… offended?

We aren’t really here for plot though, we’re here to kill monsters, and on that front The Last Faith does very well indeed. Combat feels responsive and tight, and while the variety of weapons and spells isn’t mind-boggling, it still allows for a variety of playstyles. You can equip two melee weapons and two ranged weapons at once (although you can only use one of each at a time), plus a special Stigma that lets you do stuff like parry or use a shield, and draws from its own resource bar — I didn’t use this much, but it seemed strong enough.

Ranged weapons can be pistols or spells, and since the pistols use bullets and spells require (the TLF equivalent of) mana, it’s possible to take out most of your foes with ranged attacks if you so choose. Though you’ll need to purchase bullets and mana regen items if you want to play this way, fairly early on in the game you’ll unlock some merchants that sell unlimited quantities of all the basic consumables (also mitigating the frustration that the Bloodborne-style healing system might otherwise cause).

One pain point I had with the game is one I have in all games that use the standard RPG attribute-based leveling system combined with weapon upgrades and attribute-based scaling: new weapons suck unless you grind a bunch of currency and upgrade materials. Even if you do that, if the weapon’s scaling doesn’t match your current build, it probably won’t be very effective. To be fair, there might be a respec option, but if there is I managed to miss it. And even if there was, the need to upgrade a new weapon to have it be useable in the game’s later stages would still be present.

last faith throwing pots
To The Last Faith’s credit, there is one relatively unique mechanic (at least for the genre) — you can regularly throw environmental objects at enemies

Perhaps I should have just used the cool new weapons I found anyway, and accepted that enemies would take twice as long to die — overall, the game isn’t particularly challenging, at least compared to similar titles. I died way more to Blasphemous bosses than I did to bosses in TLF, and the same is true with regular enemies and platforming: I didn’t even come close to dying in the first few areas, excepting the time I spent learning the controls vs the tutorial boss. Of course, depending on your path, difficulty can vary wildly. I did manage to wander into what I thought was the “correct” next area and get pounded into the dirt until I decided that there was probably another way forward that wasn’t so difficult (there was).

Still, the regular enemies are interesting and varied, so even though I was mostly just kicking their butts, it was still fun. While a few of the bosses were straight up too easy, I’d say more than half of them were satisfying fights, albeit ones that didn’t offer too much of a challenge once I’d learned the patterns.

the last faith first boss hard
This guy may or may not have kicked my butt a few times

Exploration is well-handled. Progression around the map strikes the right balance between intuitive and “where the heck do I go” — although if you don’t like backtracking, or don’t enjoy needing to re-examine any suspiciously useless statues after every boss, you might not agree. The game lets you put pins on your map, and this is basically a requirement to progress, as if you aren’t noting spots you can’t reach, or mysterious rooms, you’re going to have a bad time.

If you are paying attention, however, you’re well-rewarded for your efforts. Secrets are satisfying, as you’ll often discover useful and/or unique loot — no spending 30 minutes searching for the final hidden altar just to pick up a minor chunk of change.

Speaking of secrets, I was very impressed with a couple of the puzzles in The Last Faith. Two in particular had me stumped for a minute or two, and when I figured them out it wasn’t thanks to brute force or luck, but because the solution is right there for you to find once you think your way around it. Good puzzles are hard to design, and they were a welcome surprise in a game mostly about platforming and killing monsters.

exploring snow last faith review
None of the environments made me gasp in awe, but it was still fun seeing a new tileset and discovering the unique quirks of each area

A special mention needs to be given to the art department. The backgrounds are very detailed, and do a fine job giving you a sense of place (rather than the game world feeling like a series of levels). An absolutely incredible amount of effort clearly went into the item design as well. I mean, just look at this key:

fancy mechanical key the last faith

Besides that, there wasn’t much that The Last Faith did that really stood out to me as unique or excellent — but everything works, everything is fun, and I really enjoyed my time with the game.

And so, all of this was just a longer way of saying that if you enjoyed Blasphemous (and/or similar Metroidvanias), and you think the Victorian, Lovecraft-adjacent aesthetic of Bloodborne is cool, you’ll probably enjoy The Last Faith as much as I did. It rarely blew me away, but it also rarely disappointed, and so it’s easy to recommend for fans of the genre and style.

The Last Faith is available now on PC via Steam, PS5, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox One for $27.99 USD.

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DanielD
DanielD

Unabashed FromSoftware fanboy still learning to take his time with games (and everything else, really). The time he doesn't spend on games is spent on music, books, or occasionally going outside.

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