Finding out that I’m quite the fan of the soulslike genre is nothing new. You can put in how I’m a general weeb into the pile of understatements of the century as well. So, when I heard that an anime game that is basically both at the same time, I was ready to hop on. The thing is, there’s already a game that does this so perfectly which has a special place in my heart. That game is Odin Sphere, both versions. The amazing animation, painted, layered backgrounds, tight combat, and great characters just made the entire experience unforgettable. In my opinion, that’s a high bar to reach. So what exactly about Lost Epic charms me so much that I’d be spending time talking about it? Well, sit down and listen.
You’re introduced with a character creator, so yeah, we’re going to have a blank-slate kind of character. Being given the standard fare sword and shield because that’s what we do in here soulslike country, I was feeling I wasn’t going to have any trouble adapting to how this game wants to play. You have your roll, jump, attack, and parry to start.
Traversal wasn’t trying to reinvent the wheel; you have a bit of platforming. But this could change since at this point, I’ve only finished the first Boss. I refuse to move on until I’ve unlocked everything in a stage unless I honestly think there’s nothing more to find, or I need something else to unlock something. It makes sure to introduce something more interesting by the next world as well, so I’m fairly sure movement will have it’s own set of surprises. Spoiler, stage 2 is a water-based stage, and it’s not annoying.
So we can see that it has a Metroidvania approach to it and adapts some soulslike combat, is there anything of note that sets it apart?
I don’t think it really goes that far in making any new innovations, but rather tries to blend everything well together. For a 2D brawl, it feels a much more refined than Sakuna, which is the most recent game I’ve played that I think shares some similarities. The odd thing here is that Stamina really quickly recovers and is only affected by dodging and attacking. All it really does is cap your ability to combo enemies endlessly. It’s not too bad since you get a ranged attack option later which is basically free hits but it doesn’t flinch enemies.
There’s Divine Skills, which will vary depending on your proficiency with a weapon as well as the kind of weapon you’re handling. Which are pretty fun to use thanks to it having just a cooldown instead of requiring additional stamina or any other resource. Being able to use them to counter boss attacks feels pretty rewarding as well, soon as you understand how to use the timing.
Most of the progression and crafting systems is pretty much Dark Souls, recovering your dropped shards included. But one thing that sticks out is the fact that you don’t get an Estus Flask, which is a healing item that refreshes every time you reach a major save point. Instead you can only make consumable healing items.
Granted, there’s a lot of them and some of them even include buffs if you can make them. But man, I wish I could just buy some healing items for convenience. Can you imagine having to face the same boss again because you couldn’t understand how to deal with certain attacks, but you may have to grind elsewhere simply because you burned through your healing item inventory? It’s really frustrating.
If it’s any consolation though, the combat is great but not too punishing, so having to use healing items to get through a section or two might mean you’ve played pretty badly through the recent areas. I mean I find it pretty easy so far, but it’s not like it’s not engaging. Most enemies are remixed versions of whatever you came across during your first 20 minutes but it’s not too bad. The developers seem pretty aware of how to balance fights. You know exactly which one the real threat is, but you wouldn’t ignore the rest of the enemy formation.
What’s most impressive about this game though, is how much there is to do. Exploration is pretty much where everything is centered around. Aside from looking for the boss of the zone, there are many little secret areas that you can find if you’re willing to look for them. There’s also quests that lets you get more familiar with crafting, combat, and more. There are mini-maze dungeons that gives you a little challenge with a considerable reward to find at the end of it. And like any good jRPG, there’s fishing.
Lost Epic is a game that’s still in early access, but I’m surprised how much there is built into it and I gotta say I’m quite impressed. It takes maybe half a day or more to clear the presently available 2 zones within the game. And 2 more zones are coming as an update this September 2021.
So far it’s been the kind of game that’s good at keeping my attention. It somehow coaxes me into exploring a little bit more every time just because I’m curious as to what kind of surprise it has laying in wait in the next area. I in fact hopped into the game an hour ago expecting to just check for some specifics and I somehow ended up killing a bunch of minibosses. I’m not sure how they swindled me into playing so much more than I had intended but I’m walking away a happy gamer.
If you want to be able to finish your game in one sitting, you may not want to play this yet, but I’d keep it on my radar. This game is available on PC, but I can totally see it making it to the Switch in the future.