With a bleak atmosphere and dark, gothic settings, The Last Faith is the unholy culmination of Metroidvania meets Soulslike, which fans of either genre should enjoy. If you also like Castlevania and other gothic horror renditions, The Last Faith should be right up your alley.
But the danger of drawing inspiration from genre-defining cultural hits is failing to set oneself apart from the crowd. So, does The Last Faith carve out a unique path for itself, or is it merely a tribute paying homage to the greats? Stick around to the end of our The Last Faith review to find out.
The Weight of the World
The Last Faith kicks off with our protagonist, Eryk, arising from the ashes to contend with a world on the brink of destruction. Ancient religion takes center stage. An external higher power recruits minions to fight for his cause. Strange alien forces battle against the natural balance of society. Meanwhile, deadly secrets creep into the dark corners of a corrupt world as Eryk races against time and the decadence of his own mind.
You can knit a sense of urgency and gore in the story here. Yet, like many Soulslikes before it, it maintains a cryptic undertone to its progression. In any case, all you need to know is which side you’re on and the bad guys that need to be put down. As for more curious minds, feel free to piece together the mysterious dialogue and notes found within the environment and let us know the plotline, will you?
You’ll traverse a non-linear world; that's pretty intuitive. Rarely do you lose your way and have to backtrack every so often, except when you’re exploring for hidden treasure and uncovering secrets. The latter takes center stage in The Last Faith’s journey, often feeling a tug to venture off the beaten path into the unknown.
Some walls break, paving the way to unlock special goodies. Other hidden paths open up to the more keen eyes, leading to encountering hidden bosses and picking up extra loot. The environments are beautifully rendered in 2D-pixel art, inviting you into an immersive tread on ancient architecture.
It’s quite like what you may have seen before in Castlevania, yet you can count a few locales that truly take a minute or two to breathe in. Overall, the settings are heavy Catholic body horror with Victorian-era underpinnings. Nothing original, but surely atmospherically thrilling.
A decent bunch of players will focus their attention on the gameplay. Fortunately, it’s pretty entertaining across its 12- to 20-hour playthrough. Typically Soulslike, The Last Faith will push you to perform merciless, precise swordplays on all manner of monstrosities.
You’ll choose between four classes: rogue, stargazer, marksman, and brawler, each with unique playstyles: gunplay, elemental propensity, swordplay, and so forth. While the belief is that each class kicks off tailored to its prowess, the starting skills seem to all be the same across the board.
It makes little sense that, no matter which class you choose, each will launch with the same starting weapon: the Nightfall Blade. Well, at least as you progress, you get access to a variety of weapons and spells. Whether long-range guns, swords, whips, daggers, heavy weapons, or arcane spells, you’ll soon begin to expand your arsenal in a whopping variety of ways.
Some swords shoot out fireballs. Some shoot six blades at once. Arcane spells vary, too, with flashy and fun types like blasting out a fire tornado or a nail hellfire. With lots of options at your disposal, you can enjoy an all-around toolset to hone your individual playstyle. Thereafter, open up even more options with the dodge rolls, air dashes, double jumps, and grappling hooks that unlock progressively along the way.
Also, thanks to a relatively leisurely early-stage playthrough, you have enough time to get in touch with the combat system, unlike Soulslike standards. Gradually, difficulty spikes up as you meet more tenacious enemies and inevitably die a tad too many times.
But even so, it never feels punishing. Well, except for when you fall off a ledge or headfirst into giant spikes that cause instant death. Your venture through The Last Faith is challenging and satisfying to stick through to the end.
Speak of the Devil
The Last Faith’s thrilling run-through is in part due to the sheer variety of enemies you encounter across the levels. Everything goes here, whether ghouls, cultists, or humanoid beasts, and none ever get bland enough to hack and slash through them. Some shoot out long-range projectiles. Others seem too cheesy, waiting to pounce on you on a ledge or push you off to your death.
Still, you can’t seem to shake the feeling that you may have seen most of the monstrosities in The Last Faith before. Despite being horrific, they seem all too familiar, much like the settings themselves. Still, some bosses put up a brutal fight, putting you down a few times before you can master their attack patterns and weaknesses. I would have loved to see The Last Faith forego playing it too safe, though.
Music to My Ears
Splendid job on the music score. The orchestral melancholic sound rhymes perfectly with the bleak atmospheric settings and hopelessness within. It seeps through your ears in a perfect symphony, culminating in a beautiful extravaganza blasting through your headphones.
What’s more? Sound effects marry well, too, from the crisp cracking of your whip to fast-approaching footsteps pumping up instinct. Each weapon sounds incredibly satisfying, fueling the adrenaline on par with combat.
The same goes for voice acting, albeit with a few cringy outliers. It transports you into its moody adventure, seeped in blood, and holds your attention despite hardly making out exactly where the story is taking you.
While at it, The Last Faith’s pixel art is a marvel to gaze upon. It perfectly unleashes the varied stages, unleashing a vast, detailed universe filled with secrets. Every single location conveys its melancholy gothic atmosphere perfectly, and the character models, too, add to a superb gothic ambiance.
Bloodborne to a Fault
Whether in combat, movements, or settings, The Last Faith is Bloodborne, if not Castlevania, to a fault. It’s almost like the decisions made rely heavily on Bloodborne and Castlevania having done the same. But never questioning why they did them in the first place or putting those ideas to good use.
It results in a restrictive creative space to put out a drastically genre-changing masterpiece. But for now, The Last Faith merely gets the job done, a fact that may sustain one playthrough but barely multiple.
Speaking of replayability, not every weapon is the same or equally powerful. Sure, they play differently—guns for long-range and so on. But you’ll almost always stick to your melee-focused swords, daggers, and axes. Why sweat it out with firearms when you can take down an enemy in a fraction of the time with your sword? Spells, too, apart from being flashy and fun, hardly make a good case for reliability.
So, you wound up upgrading melee weapons, and swords in particular, and, as a result, making them even more powerful to forego switching them out when facing the more tenacious bosses. Other issues may be more specific to personal preference, say, a level of simplicity to the combat, particularly at the start.
To that effect, you may find the learning curve inconsistent. Some fights may feel too easy, and other consecutive ones may feel too difficult. Thankfully, it never gets frustrating; it is often rewarding instead.
Lastly, you don’t have varying difficulty settings. It’s a go-hard or go-home affair. So, it was sculpted solely for top achievers. Overall, though, you may find yourself nitpicking the cons, as the good parts far outweigh the bad ones by a mile.
From gorgeous pixel art to challenging but satisfying combat, The Last Faith does almost everything right. At first, it’s easy to be hesitant to take it out for a spin. However, once you do, it quickly latches onto your heart and brain, extenuating quite playful dances with darkness and decay.
While the story may stumble upon itself merely for the thirst to remain cryptic at all times, it gets the job done by introducing a decadent world in need of saving. Meanwhile, you’re also striving to avoid losing your own mind, presenting two dire goals to make sense of the brutal battles you’ll soon face.
As expected, combat delivers top-notch, merciless, and precise justice. You run into a perfectly balanced enemy variety and progression. However, switching playstyles too far into the game can cost an arm and a leg. So, you may want to go for an extra run, but hardly not too many, especially since The Last Faith tends to feel a tad too similar to FromSoftware’s Bloodborne and Castlevania.
With the influx of games like The Last Faith, it doesn’t hurt to give it a try, especially if Metroidvania and Soulslike are right up your alley. However, you may want to limit expectations to a tribute well done to avoid coming out of it displeased.
The Last Faith Review (Switch, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Linux, PC, & MacOS)
Bloodborne Meets Castlevania
I can’t stress it enough: The Last Faith hardly does anything original you won’t have seen before. But for its inspired setting and gameplay, it manages to deliver a highly satisfying run-through to fill your afternoon spare time. The gorgeous pixel art graphics create an imposing gothic atmosphere. It’s accompanied by an excellent soundtrack that keeps the momentum and your instincts on high alert. Over familiarity aside, The Last Faith offers a fun time, perfect for fans of its source inspiration.