They Aren’t Lying About the “Epic” Part…
HIGH Exciting and addicting combat.
LOW An unhelpful map.
WTF Wait, that grueling ordeal wasn’t the final fight?!
Lost Epic is a combat-focused 2.5D sidescrolling title with anime aesthetics and light RPG elements.
Mechanically, it borrows from the Souls series (there are corpse runs, a stamina bar, and jolly cooperation with up to two other players) and Devil May Cry (attacks easily string into combos that keep enemies in midair) but it easily finds its own voice and establishes a somewhat unique rhythm of play. While the story failed to keep my attention and a pair of late-game bosses prevented me from rolling credits, the good parts here are really, really good!
Let’s start with Lost Epic’s most likable quality – the delicious flow of combat that never got stale, even after my 30-ish hours with it. Soon after we create an avatar by selecting from a list – a choice without gameplay ramifications – we study basic enemy movesets in the introductory areas. The baddies use melee, arrows, and spells. Some of them fly, some teleport, and they’ll also attack in squads while supporting each other. They also signal when using special, stronger attacks. These alerts manifest as glowing exclamation marks above their heads, which might be yellow or red. Logically, the red ones lead to unlockable attacks that must be dodged, but the yellow ones — which are far more common — turn out to be excellent combo opportunities for a quick player.
Add to that the knight’s ability to double jump, dodge in midair and map up to five “Divine Skill” power attacks at once, and it’s easy to see how gripping this concept is. The more weapons I came across while uncovering the map, the deeper the well of available moves got, with new ones constantly competing for well-deserved attention. Also, not all of them were offensive strikes, as there’s a good chunk of supportive buffs and defensive maneuvers to utilize as well.
The real draw here, however, lies in how Lost Epic acknowledges a player who’s mastering its risky counter-based system. This becomes far more significant once we reach the halfway point and advanced enemy groups start filling up the screen and piling on the player.
When facing stronger opposition, the screen became littered with flashing symbols of enemies about to execute a devastating attack, and the space where I could safely catch a breather dwindled. Of course, it was easy to succumb to panic, as keeping an eye on all on-screen events can get daunting. However, after steadying my senses, I noticed how countering multiple enemies at once (with the right Divine Skill) is the true language of Lost Epic. After executing my first dopamine-inducing “super” counter – the camera zoomed in on my character for a split second in the spotlight, and all the nasty enemies around me were left floundering.
Lost Epic, unfortunately, doesn’t fare that well in aspects outside of combat. The map doesn’t show nearly enough, and I couldn’t place markers of my own. In a world of its size, finding a particular NPC who demanded some particular item quickly started to irk me. Equally worthy of note is that completing NPC quests is essential for making progress. This busywork did come close to grinding me down at points, but the flashy combat system kept me going.
The cooking and crafting systems weren’t exciting in the slightest, and they were made irritating by the fact that the player must collect herbs to be prepared for the next major boss, rather than having a stock of health potions that regenerate at a save point.
Looking at Lost Epic’s bosses, I’d rate them fair and well-drawn. However, they’re also my biggest gripe with it, mostly due to a certain late-game sequence where I had to face two bosses that were approximately the same size as the player – and we all know that same-size-as-the player bosses are usually tough fights that bookend an experience. The difficulty here was such that I practically had to re-learn the game and change my equipment to have a chance, on top of unskippable dialogue I had to suffer through on each and every one of my dozens of attempts, and there’s no rest or recuperation between the foes!
I won’t lie, I was close to quitting in frustration.
So, while I eventually prevailed over that grueling fight and waited for the credits to roll, Lost Epic surprised me by continuing on, sending me on yet another main quest and asking me to defeat stronger versions of previous bosses to be able to face the real final boss… and that’s where I tapped out. Instead of finishing strong, the game strung me along and I’d already seen everything I needed to.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Disclosures: This game is developed by Team Earthwars and published by One or Eight Inc. It is currently available on PS4/5, PC and Switch. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the Switch Lite. Approximately 30 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was not completed. There is the option for co-op at certain areas of the game, and I spent roughly 45 mins with the help of random online players during my playthrough.
Parents: This game has received an “T” rating by ESRB, and contains Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood and Language. The game features 2D anime-like characters depicting humans and monsters. The combat is designed around building long chains of attacks and keeping the enemy in the air. The player can use melee, ranged, magic and cooldown-based special attacks called Divine Skills. The fights are not gory and most of the enemies disperse into debris instantly upon defeat.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: The vast majority of the conversations and narrations are recorded in Japanese audio, and there’s written text for everything communicated to the player. I found the subtitles’ size easy to follow. Sound is completely unimportant for playing and beating this game due to the total absence of audio-only enemy attack cues. I played for about 3 hours with the sound completely turned off and had no issues. This game is fully accessible.
Remappable Controls: This game does not offer a controller diagram and the controls are not remappable. This is a 2,5D game action title where the analog sticks are for moving the character while holding the left bumper button in conjunction with a direction results in a special move. The bumpers are also for parrying and dashing, and the face buttons are for jumping, light/strong attacks and interacting with the world.