No? Yeah, I don't think anyone asked for such a thing, but here it is.
StoryAs you can probably tell, The Lost Child is an odd game. The most recent RPG published by NIS America sets you into the world of a green-eared occult journalist in a modern-ish Japan. Think Parasite Eve but not in New York. Nevertheless, The Lost Child wastes no time getting you, Hayato, involved in some weird stuff from the get-go. In a nutshell, Heaven and Hell are in the midst of fighting each other, but are doing so on Earth. You are saved from a potential freak accident by a mysterious lady, who leaves a case with you because...just because.
Here’s the thing. I can appreciate an out-there approach to a plot, and enjoy experiencing the supernatural as much as the next guy. Alas, The Lost Child is not the type of game that will be a memorable or enjoyable ride from a story standpoint. The characters are not fleshed out and nothing really makes a whole lot of sense. Some might make the excuse that a surreal adventure like this should always leave the person guessing about what is going on, and I agree to an extent. However, the execution must be sound, otherwise your entire plot ends up just being a slog to get through.
Let’s talk about Parasite Eve again. While two totally different games mechanically, they share a lot of similarities thematically. Both are investigative pieces that take place in modern cities. One protagonist is a journalist while the other is a cop very much in the detective role. Whereas Parasite Eve has a way of gripping you from start to finish through its worldbuilding, interesting characters, and incredibly unsettling atmosphere, The Lost Child seems like a children’s bedtime story in comparison. Unless you are taking the satirical approach (Cthulhu Saves the World is a fantastic game, by the way), any game with Lovecraftian inspiration should at least be able to evoke some level of unease in the player. The Lost Child fails to be interesting in its presentation of the world or the characters inhabiting it.
Dungeon DivingLuckily, there are some things I was able to enjoy after looking past the underwhelming story. The majority of your time with The Lost Child will be spent delving into dungeons from a first-person perspective. Many people have compared it to a series like Shin Megami Tensei, but having little experience with any modern dungeon crawlers, I will leave that for you to investigate on your own. All I can say is that it plays very much like older first-person dungeon crawlers, such as Shining in the Darkness and Warriors of the Eternal Sun (sorry for being a geezer, but those are the only legitimate comparisons I can make), complete with traps, treasure, puzzles, and the occasional enemy encounter (more on those later).
All in all, I’d say that the dungeon diving in The Lost Child is adequate for someone like myself who hasn’t played this type of game in ages. Veterans to the sub-genre may yearn for more though, depending on if these kind of games have evolved beyond the features I have outlined earlier.
CombatCombat is of the turn-based flavor, and plays out in a first-person fashion, most often initiated via random encounters. This setup is great for those moments when you want to grind out experience or money, but makes the dungeons themselves feel a little flat. I don’t know, I just feel like part of the first-person dungeon delving experience is not knowing what horrors might await you in the next corridor. That sense of dread is lost when you just get into a random battle every few steps rather than physically seeing them on the map.
Either way, the combat itself is good despite being pretty easy. I played the game through normal, and had little to no hiccups whatsoever. If I had it to do over again, I would have probably opted into the harder difficulty. I can only image the easy setting being a literal faceroll, considering the absence of heavy resistance in normal mode.
It is worth noting that the actual command you queued will not be executed should that particular unit spark a new ability, likely leading to frustration to those either not familiar with the system or if those moments when you’re really down to the wire of a more difficult encounter. I, for one, enjoyed the combat system in The Lost Child as a whole, and can’t very well be upset by the lack of genuine challenge on normal when there are other options available to tickle that fancy.
Gotta Catch ‘Em AllThe main protagonist, Hayato, has one more combative trick up his sleeve. As the Chosen One and the wielder of the Gangour, he has the ability to capture both angels and demons alike. Capturing such things in The Lost Child is simply a matter of using a special ability in combat. While there is no cooldown attached to its use, you will inflict much more damage if you time your catches with its respective gauge that fills as you perform other actions in combat. Actually capturing a creature boils down to inflicting the killing blow on the enemy, so the ability’s damage is an important thing to consider.
GraphicsSo, The Lost Child doesn’t necessarily look bad, but it does have a cheap, sort of half-baked feel to it. I don’t know if its due to the hyper-stylized character and enemy portraits that are offset by the lackluster dungeon visuals, or something else entirely. Something is just off, and unfortunately, this is one of the main reasons that the whole monster collecting aspect didn’t really appeal to me.
Loot and CraftingThe looting and crafting systems did manage to grab my attention, however. You can find stuff from treasure boxes placed around dungeons as well as various vendor trash and sundries from enemies. Later on, things get a bit more interesting when appraisable drops come into play. These are very much the same as unidentified items you would find in a Diablo game, complete with random modifiers and waiting to be curated by a weird old man.
These kind of drops become commonplace quickly, and give you access to the most powerful equipment in the game. I wouldn’t worry about RNG much, as the droprate is pretty generous (not to mention the ease of difficulty in the game already). When you find exceptional pieces that you want to hold on to for a while, you can upgrade them by sacrificing other pieces of equipment. That sick golf club you just discovered that can strike three times in one turn can be made exponentially stronger with this system.
ConclusionThe Lost Child has the ability to take you on a roller coaster ride, complete with highs and lows, when glossing over the structure and execution of its systems. On one hand, it does well with its dungeon diving system, though possibly playing it safe when viewed by those who eat these kind of games for breakfast. The combat itself is engaging enough, backed by a decent crafting and loot progression system.
Building up your demonic companions is fun although it leaves a little to be desired when compared to its obvious source of inspiration. The story and its characters are not great and will be a definite point of contention to those who count on an engaging story experience. Plus, it lacks the appealing aesthetic and sound design that one may expect from an older styled RPG, especially at its price point.
There apparently is a massive post-game dungeon that will really test your mettle, but that does nothing for those just wanting to experience the base game. Setting that aside, the game is a bit on the short side for $50USD. Therefore, I feel like it is in the best interest on a consumer-wide level to rate The Lost Child appropriately by weighing its pros, cons, and price structure despite the potential for some people to get lost in its systems for hours on end.
Great: Must Play.
Good: Worth your time.
OK: Some notable flaws.
Editor. Indie Developer. Weight Lifter. Pit Bull Advocate. Tattoo enthusiast. Lover of Final Fantasy IV. All Around Nerd.
Nintendo Switch Friend Code: SW-3166-1959-0010
July 3, 2018 03:55:05 AM
|Thanks for the review, totally confirm that I will wait for a significant drop in price before dwelling into this game's dungeons.
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