Retro is always better. That’s what I’ve told myself a lot when it comes to RPG’s recently. With the release of Final Fantasy XV I thought that perhaps Square Enix had lost their charm. Then came the retro inspired World Of Final Fantasy which made me incredibly happy throughout my entire 30 hour play through. So with this in mind I was incredibly happy when asked to review Lost Sphear – Another retro inspired JRPG from the masters of the craft.
But is it any good? Or does the retro feel only happen to be skindeep?
One thing that cannot be argued when it comes to Lost Sphear is this:
The game, as a whole, is charming as fuck. Everything about the game just oozes this same charm I felt growing up with the genre, the same charm I experienced with World Of Final Fantasy. From the incredibly stellar visuals right up to the menus and general gameplay I found so much nostalgia and charm with my experience with Lost Sphear.
One thing worth noting with Lost Sphear is that the game is 10000% a love letter to old school JRPG fans and I noticed that as I was playing through the game I was having to tap through my memories to recall some mechanics that were featured heavily on the games of the time, this might put off a few newcomers to the genre. For me however this worked incredibly well as a hark back to the old and gold days for the genre.
In the very beginning of Lost Sphear your village (alongside many other places) have been wiped from the map and it is up to you (the protagonist Kanata) and two childhood friends (Locke & Lumina) to find out what has happened and restore your town and the rest of the world. Very early on into this adventure you start to meet other characters such as the elusive Van who seems to know what is going on but you are not sure whether he is friend or foe. This is where the story of Lost Sphear really shines through, the relationship of these characters really hit me in the feels and showed me what Tokyo RPG Factory (And Square Enix) are really capable of with their writing styles.
The battle system, in all honesty, is your standard turn based fare that has you picking from a select set of moves with all the standard JRPG elemental weaknesses. At first I thought this might great on me a little bit and feel a little outdated and boring but it only ever felt classic and nostalgic as fuck. When I DID start to get a little bored of it… it did the one thing that all JRPG’s should do to freshen things up. IT ADDED MECHS.
Okay, Okay they’re actually called Vulcosuits in Lost Sphear but they’re mechs. When a character equips a Vulcosuit (Can I just call them mechs?) all the stats of the characters increases dramatically and also gives you the ability to use specific abilities available only to the mec… Vulcosuit.
And finally the bit you have all been waiting for… How does the soundtrack compare to the classics? Well never fear my dear people! The soundtrack happily sits up there with the greats for me. Each piano medley and violin stroke stronger and more heart wrenching than the last. To put it completely into generalised terms – I have been listening to the soundtrack the whole time I have been writing this review – It’s THAT good.
So here I am, gushing over a nostalgia filled love letter to classic JRPG’s when all you really wanted to know was: Is it any good? Well that depends on you as a person really, Lost Sphear is one of those game’s I have found really difficult to score. For old school fans of the genre I would say that Lost Sphear is an absolute must play however as a game on it’s own merits it relies a little too heavily on nostalgia to really come out on it’s own.
…But I AM an old school fan of this exact genre and this is MY review and opinion of the game so with that in mind I LOVINGLY bestow my score of:
An absolute charming piece of art that made me feel like a child from beginning to end.