Lost Sphear is out now on PS4, and in times of turmoil and uncertainty, we always know that Square Enix will keep those RPGs coming. This is a game from the developers of I am Setsuma, which was an enjoyable adventure that ended up getting a little tedious come the later hours. The director had promised that they had impacted all feedback from the previous title so I was intrigued to see if they had.
This new title’s biggest problem is it’s lack of identity – it encompasses elements of so many Square Enix RPGs that it never feels like an entity itself. Unlike some reviewers, this didn’t put me off as much as it may put off others. Personally, throughout a lot of my gameplay, I was wishing that the upcoming Final Fantasy VII remake would have taken this approach.
Lost Sphear is like most other RPGs, and is a based around some close friends and the adventure they go on. There are some corrupt people in high positions and some odd goings on in the world. Everything is becoming lost (technically it just looks like someone has erased it with Tippex!) and only Kanata and his bunch of oddly assembled heroes can restore life to the fading world. Of course, having to restore the world isn’t easy and will put your characters in some compromising positions. Naughty!
Making your game look like a modern version of Chrono Trigger/Secret of Mana seems very important for the developers of Lost Sphear. Some people may suggest that this comes to the detriment of the graphics, however I found this game quite beautiful at times. Yes, it could be said that the graphics are dated but they have clearly been used to generate the feeling of the times when RPGs were amazing. The graphics come second to the story, but particular backgrounds will leave you dumbfounded. The characters look a little bit like sprites that a 4-year-old made on Scratch. Throughout the game, colours will draw your eyes to different areas of the screen and the glare of the obtainable items made the puzzle of hunting a little bit too easy for an RPG. Saying all of this, we must be honest and say that you shouldn’t judge such a game by its graphics – take Final Fantasy XV as your reason.
One incredibly enjoyable (although still reminiscent) element of Lost Sphear is the sound. If you closed your eyes whilst playing this game you would be sucked into a complete RPG atmosphere. The tinny orchestral sounds are a constant, and speed up in the most dramatic moments, while sloiwng down at the story-based areas. The sounds you hear are Japanese, but I found myself not bothered by them at all and having played a number of games ruined by corny voicing, I was pleased to hear that this wasn’t going to be the case. This title has a fantastic atmosphere and gorgeous aura and this is partly due to the music and sound.
Some areas of the gameplay are a little bit more complicated than they had to be but I found that this didn’t massively affect the gameplay. For example, by the press of the button your characters can all wear these stupid suits which allow for co-operative attacks like in Chrono Trigger. However, these attacks (unsurprisingly named xstrike) are a complete waste of time and tricky to navigate.
Your attacks will range from the standard attack, and a range of magic attacks which will be developed by gathering more spritenite. The further you get in the game, the better spritenite you will get. You can also gain momentum attacks which add more power to your standard attack. These are simply about timing the press of a button but feel a little bit tacky.
You’ll continue to obtain and buy new weapons and armour, then equip them with added bonuses. This was all quite simple and I was constantly checking if I had accidentally picked up any items that were better than my currently equipped ones.
The controls were simplistic and exactly how an old school RPGs should be, and mirrored that of the aforementioned Final Fantasy VII.
Overall, I had much more fun than I was expecting playing Lost Sphear. After reading over reviews, it seemed clear that a lot of critics disliked how the game is a copy of a number of different games – this did not bother me in the slightest. Every element they had borrowed from previous games enhanced the game and made it enjoyable. Every moment of the game kept me wanting to find out more and the music was he best soundtrack I’ve heard on a game since FF7.
Sometimes, games come out and surprise you and Lost Sphear was definitely one of those games. It’s one of those which will go missed this season, but is well worth a play.
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Players: single-player
- HD options: up to 1080p
I have been a video game player since 1993 and a music fan since I can remember. I studied Film and Journalism at university and ended up becoming a Primary School teacher. Video games changed my life and sent me on the right track and have stayed with me ever since.