07th Feb2018

‘Lost Sphear’ Review (PS4)

by Xenia Grounds


JRPGs have evolved massively in the past decade and a half. We’ve gone from pixelated graphics, turn-based combat and no voice acting to amazingly high-definition art styles, real-time combat and a-list voice casts. However, there are RPG fans out there who miss the days of old. This is where games like Lost Sphear come in.

Lost Sphear serves as the spiritual successor to Tokyo RPG’s previous work, I am Satsuna. Lost Sphear does have the old-school charm of a JRPG like the older Final Fantasy games and Chrono Trigger. No voice acting, simple combat system and cartoon-esque graphics but this doesn’t ignore the game’s faults.

The most important of an RPG for me is its story. Lost Sphear is a very traditional JRPG tale. The main protagonist, Katana, discovers that he has this power to save the world and he goes on this journey around the world with a group of friends to ultimately defeat the villain. Yes, there are twists and turns in the story that are fine but this game doesn’t do anything particularly engaging until after the 20-hour mark. The characters in Lost Sphear are serviceable but they are rather bland and in some cases, act a little unrealistic. I won’t spoil too much but there is a moment when a massive betrayal happens but in the long run, it doesn’t impact the dynamic towards this person at all which is really odd given the magnitude of what this character did.

Further adding to the problem is the lack of side quests. Normally in an JRPG, side quests serve to build the world more or to develop characters. Lost Sphear doesn’t have any, which even in older JRPGs (at least ones I’ve played) was rare and it harms the game because you can’t take a break from the plot which as mentioned above, isn’t too engaging. The only time you can take a break is either to grind levels, travel for items or restore parts of the world to your benefit. However, the world in Lost Sphear is really devoid of things to do outside of the main story so this game feels empty most of the time. You’re open to travel wherever you want but there’s nothing to excite you.

Moving onto the more positive things, Lost Sphear’s combat system is refreshingly simple. It is turn-based combat. Some characters in your party can attack close-up, some abilities and weapons can hit multiple enemies at once, others can use magic. You can build up to double hits with the Momentum Charge or make certain skills stronger through adding an effect to an ability when used in Momentum Charge. I played on normal difficulty and there are moments of struggle. Mostly because there are bosses where you have to use characters that you don’t normally use but once you figure out the strategy to a boss fight, it’s pretty simple.

Graphics in Lost Sphear are not the greatest but in the case of this game, it’s more about that old-school JRPG charm and Lost Sphear captures it in spades so it doesn’t need to look realistic. If I had to summarize it, the graphics are like a polished version of an SNES or PS1 game.

The soundtrack in Lost Sphear is fine but mostly forgettable. The tracks that I remember the most are the ones for the Imperial Palace, Imperial City, the travel theme and that’s it. The reason for this is I spent a lot of time in my play through hearing those tracks, not because the tracks themselves were that great.

Overall, Lost Sphear is a flawed game. It has plenty of nostalgic charm that will appeal to many long-term RPG fans but it can feel like the game relies a little too much on that factor. I think it is worth playing as I still enjoyed it even though you can’t overlook this game and its problems. I wouldn’t recommend buying it at full-price but once it goes on sale then I say go for it.


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