The Lost Child is a recently released JRPG from designer Takeyasu Sawaki, the creator of El Shaddai, is a far cry from his previous works and brings out some of the best in modern day JRPGs and light-novel games. Let’s take a look at what The Lost Child has to offer with our official review of the game.
When you think of El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron, you would almost expect something a bit closer to what the previous title was, not something like what The Lost Child is, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Many design choices such as relatable characters, storytelling elements, and even the art style have made their way back from the creative genius that is Takeyasu Sawaki.
Our story opens up with leading man Hayato, an employee at a supernatural investigative agency, which is actually an interesting premise and works rather well with how the game plays out. After all, this game does involve fallen angels, demons, and spirits of many kinds, something similar to that of the Shin Megami Tensei series of games.
In a series of unfortunate events, Hayato becomes the companion to the angel by the name of Lua, one who we become acquainted with during the games introductory minutes. Unfortunately, this is where things take off rather quickly. We get little chance to really see Lua, Hayato, and the antagonists they encounter throughout the game. Their adventures will see them investigate abnormalities that spring up around the city in various areas, some of them in areas such as the land beneath Mt. Fuji itself.
Sadly, that’s as far as my invested interest in the story began to wane. Not because the story wasn’t solid up to that point, but more so to the fact it felt like it dragged on, rarely picking up a pace or offering more than it already had. While I’ve come accustomed to this through my time with anime and manga franchises ranging from Ghost Hunt to Tokyo Majin, this title, unfortunately, suffers from character building and an overly strong narrative.
Luckily, not all is bad when it comes to The Lost Child there is a rather strong sense of RPG elements at its core. Combat itself is the games strongest suit, one that offers up gameplay elements we should be rather familiar with when it comes to RPG titles except for one major change. Your party doesn’t consist of other NPCs you will meet throughout the game. Rather, your party consists of demons, fallen angels, and various spirits that you will encounter throughout the game. Each coming with their own abilities, evolutions, and stats that can be altered as you level them up.
Much like franchises such as Shin Megami Tensei and Pokémon your party also changes, grows, and evolves as you do. Each creature you possess does have their own unique abilities, but also, each come with their own weaknesses. Some of them being stronger than others in certain fields such as damage or support. Several of the creatures also have the ability to do AoE attacks that can help remove large groups of enemies from the field but at the cost of weaker single target attacks.
If a demon falls, they can be swapped out with “party members” on your bench, allowing you to have a large party with a wide array of abilities at your disposal. The most unique aspect of this game isn’t just the large parties, the unique demons, and their alignments, but the process of how one brings back a party member once they’ve been knocked out from combat. You’ll have to purify them once again, allowing them to re-enter the field, and even requiring the essence you use to purify them once before.
But you might be wondering one simple fact – how do I capture them? That’s where things get a bit more tricky. You’ll have to charge up Hayato’s Gangour, which if used during combat once its charge is properly built, can capture a demon on the field. Of course, you are rewarded for your efforts. Players do earn loot by defeating foes, exploring dungeons, and even completing specified tasks.
Like most RPGs and JRPGs, some loot carries no beneficial use and can only be used for a monetary value. Other items can be equipped by either Hiyato or Lua herself in order to improve one of their stats. The gear you’ll use yourself isn’t as common as one would like – rather – it’s rare and is mostly rewarded through finding better gear or items to identify at the local shop. Let me make this clear. Don’t let this discourage you. Gear – even though it’s rarely updated – is still extremely important and serves its purpose.
One of the biggest problems this game faces isn’t actually its story by any means, but rather, its erratic difficulty spikes. As per the regular difficulty – being medium – you should expect your games difficulty to be moderate if anything at all. You’d expect a rather easy experience, one that lets you take on the story in an enjoyable manner, but rather, it doesn’t work that way. Instead, the difficulty spikes rather painfully when a boss is placed before you, some even being quite a bit higher than one would expect.
Because of this, you’ll need to consider leveling up your party, evolving them as much as you can before considering moving on. But remember, due to how hard bosses are, you may have to consider backtracking, clearing out the mobs before you and moving your way through the area once again. It doesn’t get easier at any point in time and you’ll have to adjust to the games difficulty spikes.
Outside of the dungeons, there’s a world map to explore, one where you will find your office at the LOST magazine will serve as your central hub. Sadly, there isn’t a lot to the game’s world that you will explore. It’s empty, there’s not a lot there, and besides talking to very few people, there isn’t just a whole lot to do. You’ll find that the world is almost stagnant and unchanging outside of the few events triggered by your story progression.
The Lost Child – Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita
Publisher: NIS America
Release Date: Available Now
Oddly enough, it’s all nicely presented, given intricate designs, beautiful art, and details that certainly pop in comparison to other games, something that’s carried over from El Shaddai. The character designs, models, scenes, all of it is astonishingly well presented and is only an icing to the already crafted cake thanks to the game’s animations and amazingly well-done soundtrack. But when summing it all up, The Lost Child is a prodigy, one that deserves a chance despite its need for a better-balanced difficulty and slightly more character development.
Even with the minor irritations put aside, The Lost Child is an amazing title, one with tons of potential and given time – one that could go down as one of the best dungeon crawling titles designed to date.
Our review is based upon a retail version that was provided to us by the publisher of the game. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 7 out of 10
About the Writer(s):
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.