So I got play The Lost Child, and the first thing I thought was, “Hey, this is totally Shin Megami Tensei”, and I was right; it’s basically SMT with a more generic art style, and that really isn’t a bad thing. The game still serves its purpose for being a cool dungeon crawler with some fun moments and characters.
The story follows the main character Hayato who’s a journalist for a paranormal and occult magazine – He essentially goes around chasing rumors and urban legends in the hopes of getting his next big scoop; he’s investigating a train suicide when suddenly he’s pushed into the tracks by a mysterious figure, fortunately being saved by some cute honey and is given a mysterious briefcase. The honey runs off while you take the case to your office where you meet a self-proclaimed angel named Lua, explaining that you’ve been chosen by God to fight demons or… Something… And reveals the contents of the case – A magic gun to capture demons with. Anyways that’s pretty much the whole gist of the story. You proceed to go and investigate more paranormal happenings with Lua, and you figure out some shady business going on behind the scenes… There’s a wide range of characters like angels, demons, human characters, and… OLD GODS.
That’s right; once I read the name Cthulu I was WAY more into this game than I was before. The story is fairly good and fun throughout and the characters are pretty decent too; unfortunately the whole thing comes across as a sub-par anime.
Now when it comes to gameplay, it’s your standard dungeon crawler. You go around different dungeons called “Layers” and descend deeper and deeper fighting more powerful enemies. Different areas are for different quests and you get the rest. Combat is turn-based and you capture demons using your magic weapon the Gangour, and I’ve gotta say it’s pretty generic but still pretty satisfying as my favorite thing about these kinds of games is collecting monsters and all. So, once you capture your monsters you still have to purify them using a resource known as Karma; a kind of special exp you use for your monsters. Once purified they can be put into your party and you can use them in battles and what not. If they die you’re going to have to purify them again, which can lead to some grinding – You also use karma to level up your monsters.
The game is also fairly challenging. It encourages you to use buffs and items a lot as well as learn that your monster party members are highly expendable… But losing them means using resources that you can only replenish if you leave the dungeon and come back another time. But leaving can also be a dangerous trek.
There is a pretty neat little mechanic where it essentially tells you which party member the enemies are most likely to attack so that you can influence your defensive options throughout battles making for a deeper experience. Other than that, though, the game looks pretty good when it comes to the artwork and the character designs. The game’s monsters are based on mythology and history so you’ll get some really cool looking monsters here and there, especially the ones inspired by Asian culture.
Where the game kind of ends up dropping is the really, really boring art direction it takes with the dungeons. They’re just not interesting to go through and I hate having to look at the color brown for a really long time. The boring dungeon design is made even more annoying with the fact that you’re going to be spending a lot of time in them… And even going back to them a couple of times. You’re in there grinding or trying to finish an investigation, either way, it’s gonna be a slog after a while.
The voice acting, for the most part, is solid. Both Japanese and English are great but obviously, I prefer Japanese cause I’m a giant weeaboo. Dual Audio is always a welcome addition to any Japanese game as it’s just a nice little feature for some. One of my favorite things about this game is this really cool feature that lets you auto-pilot on a map to where you want to go in a dungeon – This saves a lot of time and a lot of confusion in the larger areas.
Overall I had a good time with the Lost Child. If you’re waiting for SMTV or something this will definitely scratch that itch as well as give you a really cool and sometimes legitimately interesting story. Where the game falls flat is once again the odd art direction and diminishing returns of its dungeons and combat encounters. If they were able to spice up the game in that regard it would have been an almost amazing game. As it stands I give The Lost Child a 6.5/10.