Lost Sphear Tokyo RPG Factory / Square Enix

LOST SPHEAR HANDS-ON IMPRESSIONS

We go Hands-On with the spiritual successor of I Am Setsuna.

by Felipe Parada

 

I am a huge JRPG fan and still firmly believe that Final Fantasy VII is one of the greatest JRPG's of all time. (Grandia II is close at The #2 spot) JRPG's have a certain style and charm that really resonate with me. I can vividly remember pouring hours upon hours into Final Fantasy VII. The exact amount always alluded me because the playtime counter only reached 99:99.

 

When Lost Sphear was announced I was a bit surprised because the art style resembled that of an old school Final Fantasy game. The look, the feel and the sound are ripped straight out of late 90's and early 2000's and presented to us in stunning HD. Hence I felt like I was reliving my youth all over again. 

 

Being advertised as a spiritual successor to I Am Setsuna, Lost Sphear features the same Active Time Battle system found in games like I Am Setsuna, Chrono Trigger, Grandia 2 and older Final Fantasy titles. At first glance it doesn't seem like much of a JRPG but once you get used to the updated mechanics, you really begin to see why Lost Sphere is a very special game. Once again Square Enix has managed to successfully keep the nostalgia without sacrificing any other aspects of what makes JRPG'S so great.

 

The game follows a young male adventurer named Kanata, who along with his friends Lumina and Locke, is looking for a way to eliminate the "White Fog" that mysteriously appears. Embarking on a journey to save his disappearing home village, Kanata and his comrades set out to rebuild the world around them with the power of Memory by manifesting thoughts into matter." The simple and straightforward premise is what makes these games easy to pick up even is you are new to the JRPG scene. 

The demo starts you off in to the overworld with the goal being to eliminating the fog. There is very little explanation of what is happening at the current moment but with a little bit of exploration you familiarize yourself with the memory system. With each fog you eliminate you reveal more and more of the open world for you to explore and thus proceed forward through the story. You come to find out that you are sent to that location to aid the empire in rounding up some locals for questioning. So after several minutes of exploring the overworld you come to your first real area to explore.

The world map design mimics that of old school JRPG titles. 

Lost Sphear Tokyo RPG Factory / Square Enix

As you explore the mountain setting  you are introduced to the movement system and basic combat mechanics. The system is pretty straight forward as you are thrown into some fights with mobs so you can be taught how to use the system properly. As I fought through a couple of mobs I am transported back to the days of Chrono Trigger as I move around carefully planning my next course of action. With a little bit of exploration and making quick work of some more mobs, I came face to face with the leader of the group that we were sent there to capture. Once the leader was cornered it triggered a boss fight that took quite a bit of effort to overcome.

The Active Time Battle System in Lost Sphear allows each character to attack with a short cool down period before allowing you to attack again. Each characters attack can vary based on distance and positioning allowing you to attack one character at a time or several. Repositioning your character for max critical damage is very crucial in Lost Sphear and I never knew that those small mechanics could be so rewarding.

On top of the basic battle mechanics the new mech system can be deployed before you even engage any combat situation essentially turning your team into the power rangers. Each mech has its own unique abilities and attacks that can come in very handy during battle or when you are exploring. Some areas require you to use a mech suit to proceed forward so its a nice addition to have a mech suit that aids you not only in battle. The only downside to these mechs is that it uses its own special resources that have to be managed via potions and other items, so you can go around an entire area in just a mech suit. 

The combat system is simple and straight forward but there's always something new to learn.

Lost Sphear Tokyo RPG Factory / Square Enix

After getting in a good 5 hours with the demo, I am very excited to see the finished project. I loved every single element that I saw in the game. The fact that this game feels like a celebration of past JRPG's makes me interested to see how the final game will develop. The art style is beautiful, the combat is engaging and the addition of the mech suits is a real nice touch. With just a couple of weeks away from the January 23rd release date, the demo is currently available on Switch, Playstation 4 and Windows. I really wish the demo could have given us a bit more to play with instead of making it so short but I guess that's what a good demo is supposed to achieve, it makes me want to play the game. Thankfully we don't have to wait that long to get our hands on it.

Are you excited for Lost Sphear? Let us know in the comments below.

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