Never did I think a turn based game would really win me over. I have a huge appreciation for the Final Fantasy games, I even bought Final Fantasy XV but alas, I didn’t get on with it and to this day I still haven’t finished it. I was apprehensive about playing Lost Sphear because of the combat system, (I’m generally in favour of combat systems that require minimal thinking or fore-thought #noshame) however I know it’s important as a well-versed gamer to try things out of your comfort zone and I’m happy to report this is one turn based RPG I can recommend.
In Lost Sphear you follow Kanata, Locke and Lumina, as well as a host of other characters, in a world that is slowly disappearing. Buildings, people, objects, are becoming ‘lost’ and without relevant memories to restore them they are gone forever. This first occurs in our heroes’ town where Kanata discovers only he possesses the ability to revive these missing pieces. (Suprise, surprise.) The plot thickens at each turn point and players discover this is not just affecting their town but the whole world in which they live. With the Imperial Army’s help they must journey forth and discover the cause of this worrying phenomenon.
Although the story doesn’t surprise, it’s certainly not bad. It’s effectively Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey, but then which RPG isn’t in some way? I could say its characters are stereotypical of a JRPG, (Lumina’s the pretty powerful girl, Locke is the funny ditsy one, and Kanata’s our hero) but then again I don’t play a lot of games like this and maybe that’s what the players like? (Stick with what you know eh?) None of the 3 main characters have parents either which of course easily waves away any questions about their families or parents and why they’re aloud to just roam about on their own. I’ll leave it up to you to decide, whether you think something more inventive could’ve been thought up there.
But despite the plot being a little predictable in my eyes, I haven’t stopped playing or gotten bored. I actually want to see what happens in the end.
Players can have up to 3 members in their team as you traverse the world but you can’t choose who you control, that’s done for you. At first I was a little annoyed I’d have to control Kanata the whole way through but actually the game does switch it up depending on where you are in the story. Similar to other RPGS like Lost Sphear, you can only heal your entire team with a Medicine Kit when at a save point otherwise you need to shell out some dough to rest at an Inn. (This is also where you’ll get more VP for your vulcosuits, and that could have been made clearer in the beginning.)
Vulcosuits are cool, futuristic suits you can equip a little later in the game to give your team an edge during battles. However I will say VP, the power you need to fight in these things, disappears fast at present and I must be about half way through the game. I also didn’t learn how to recover VP until I’d been using them for a while so that was frustrating.
Quicksave is also an invaluable feature with these types of games, especially when you can see an enemy encounter round the corner and you’re not sure you bought enough potions from that merchant. The world map is very cool and unlike anything I’ve seen before. Rather than a loading screen, players take control of miniature versions of their team and are free to explore to a certain degree. This means you can pick up plenty of ingredients to make super charged meals that you can buy in your local inn. (I’m not entirely sure these make a huge amount of difference though, picking up ingredients is more like a side quest with no real reward but I found it enjoyable for the most part.)
Using a 3D-design the graphics looked good on my PS4. Lost Sphear’s character design is anime themed so obviously beautifully drawn, however detail is somewhat lacking in the character’s facial expressions when it comes to gameplay. That being said, general hand movements and a shake of the head here and there fill in the gaps.
The music, a clear representative of classic JRPGs was beautiful and I found myself humming the tunes even after I’d stopped playing. There are different songs depending on the area you enter and that not only adds character to the place but also intensifies the atmosphere and makes for an altogether more enjoyable experience.
For someone who is usually so resistant to turn based combat , this game made me less defiant. The spells and skills are cool, and the momentum feature, though not always reliable it seems, helps indefinitely. Momentum builds as you attack and activating it before an attack gives you a little extra boost. This, coupled with the passive effects and buffs you acquire from restoring artifacts across the map, means that you start packing a punch after a while. I’ll admit I ran into a few minor bosses on occasion that I really couldn’t seem to beat and had no idea on what I was doing wrong, however, for those of you also struggling I would say that momentum charge really makes a difference and remember watch your health! Speed is also key and if you’re not sure why you’re not winning I would suggest taking less time to make your mind up before your enemy recharges.
Value for Money –
GAME (New) £37.99
Amazon – practically the same.
Switch – £40.
Steam – £34.99
You get the jist. In my opinion it’s not worth that much dough. I hear the complete story is, ‘barely 20 hours’ and for that I say 40 quid is far too much. I would not consider this an AAA title, more an indie, and as such would say a retail price of £15-£20 pounds would be more reasonable. Call me old fashioned but I remember the good ol’ days when new games weren’t an exorbitant amount.
It’s not a bad game, and thankfully I enjoyed it more than my last review of Inner Space. However, as you’ll see from the steam responses, its been met with mixed response. If you love JRPGs despite their common flaws then give it a go, if you’re looking for an JRPG with something a little different from your collection, maybe give this one a miss.