Lost Eidolons is a turn-based tactical RPG brought to you by Ocean Drive Studios. The game has a great cinematic narrative, that’s set in an empire where civil war has taken its toll. You control a mercenary captain named Eden and his allies. As you traverse through a journey that has everything you could ask for. There is death, betrayal, magic, weapons, and relationships. So let’s get into this epic cinematic narrative, with a lot of turn-based tactical action, when I wasn’t running around the camp. This is one of the games that will tug at your heartstrings in a way I didn’t expect! **May contain spoilers**
Developer & Publisher // P-Studio, Sega
Platforms // PlayStation 5, PC, Xbox Series X|S
MSRP & Release Date //$34.99, Nov 17, 2022
Reviewed On // Xbox Series X
Impressive Aesthetics and Visual Effects
One of the big things for me when it comes to a game is the aesthetics and setting. Being set in an era where civil war ravaged the lands was great and added to the story as well. Lost Eidolons is set on the continent of Artemesia. Artemisia was formerly home to multiple nations but united into a single empire some years before the game actually took place. However, the conquering Emperor Ludivictus is older, corruption is now rife throughout the world, and the empire is clearly on the wane. Set in a medieval era brimming with magic, its infusion with weapons and skills added a little extra to the world.
Heartwrenching Story in Lost Eidolons
Lost Eidolons follows Eden, the leader of a mercenary company. Eden was from the village of Lonetta which was part of the former kingdom of Benerio. After taking on a mission while locked up to rescue a woman from a local lord, he soon gets wrapped up in a full-scale rebellion that spreads across the crumbling empire. There are 27 chapters and throughout the story, you can recruit whatever character you choose when they visit your camp. I liked every person I encountered throughout my playthrough.
Since Eden is the leader, a lot of the important decisions will run by him. Naturally, his primary objective is to care for his group and keep everyone safe. He also suffers a lot throughout the story which builds upon his character. In return, players will be able to see Eden’s character arc throughout the game.
There are other great characters found in Lost Eidolons that are worth mentioning. Robere is one of Eden’s trusty allies from the beginning. He is always level-headed and provides the necessary advice when needed. Gilbert, who drinks ALOT, becomes one of our trusted strategists through most of the game and is very intelligent. It seems like Ocean Drive Studios took the time to make each character feel unique and like they added something to the story.
Evoking Strong Emotions Through its Story
A great story is one of the top things for me in a game. Lost Eidolon’s story is one of the few games that has made me scream out why, want to throw my controller and be like not them, why them? Most of this is all good. When there was a betrayal I was mad, especially if I enjoyed the treacherous character at first. When there was a death that happened and I enjoyed that character, I was taken aback, especially if I liked the character or they were very useful.
One particular mission was difficult, because multiple people had been pulled for story purposes, and I honestly struggled. More on that below. I will say though for some of these other scenarios to evoke that kind of emotion from me as someone who doesn’t get emotionally invested like that in too many games, Lost Eidolons was incredible. The game’s story had me invested at every turn.
Deep and Satisfying Turn-Based Tactical Combat
A big part of tactical RPGs is the strategic-nature battles and there are many great ones in Lost Eidolons. Each turn is turn-based where you select multiple options from attack, defend, swap weapons, magic, combat skills, use items, etc… Depending on your positioning or the enemies’, you can counterattack their attacks, so you always have to factor that into your combat as well. With all the different classes and equipment you have access to each battle is different. They do have kind of a rock, paper, and scissor system for which weapons are more effective against certain equipment.
Though it might sound like a basic system, it doesn’t take away from the combat at all. You have to factor in all the magic and different skills each unit might have which helps provide a unique experience. There were several scenarios where the rock, paper, and scissor system didn’t matter at all. The option to weapon swap between main-hand and off-hand equipment helps here. You can be mounted sometimes, go up onto walls, and even use ballistas.
Some battles even had some chests that contained some gear, which was good. Lost Eidolons also employs an undo option which is unique and useful if you want to redo one of your turns. Best of all you can earn more undo’s through minor quests. You will definitely be thinking about your strategies over and over. Especially since you want to mix up your strategy in every battle.
Using the Battlefield to Your Advantage
Battling on terrain with trees or water allows you to use the environment to your advantage. For instance, when an area gets set on fire you can see the flames engulf the area. Characters that move through the burned areas will begin to take burn damage. When people move through water and become “wet” they are vulnerable to lightning damage and even allow for the lightning attack to chain to multiple people. Forts and other buildings can provide cover for different strategic scenarios. If you are inside a fort/castle and multiple avenues get set on fire moving through it will cause damage. You have to rethink and move around. All this can lead to a multitude of unique combat experiences.
Anyone Can Be Any Class
Lost Eidolons has a unique class system. There were a variety of different classes once a character had met certain prerequisites, they could go into a better class. In the beginning, characters start as a Commoner, then you can go into beginner classes like Fighter, Mage, or Squire. After those there are advanced classes, and then after that master classes. My two personal favorites were the Templar and the Eden exclusive class Overlord. Templar is great because you get to be a tank that can deal out damage while being able to heal. Then, the Overlord class is awesome, due to the ability and skills it adds.
Any character can assume any class in the game which is great. If you don’t like the way a character looks or just don’t like the character you can have someone take their spot or change their class based on your needs. This adds a lot of replayability and variety to the game which is something tactical RPGs excel at. In my around 60 hours of the first playthrough, I didn’t even get to use all the classes. I do believe there is a class for everyone here to enjoy.
Gear and Customization
In Lost Eidolons there is a plethora of gear and item slots you get on your characters. Depending on what you have equipped, determines what you level and become more proficient with. This is important because certain classes require a certain level of proficiency in different skills or with equipment to be able to select that class. There are plenty of different paths you can choose when equipping your allies and your character. The gear system isn’t too complicated but provides plenty of variety. Based on what class you have a hero set determines what they should be wearing from different cloth, plates, or leather armor.
To add, there is a plethora of armor rarity levels from Tempered, Serene, Iron Plated, Legendary, and even unique. The same goes for the weapons and grimoires where there are multiple different ones as well like Cruel, Rare, Unyielding, Merciless, and the list goes on. Some of these special grimoires give your magic users extra spells when equipped as well like the Shadowquake I enjoyed so much comes with the “Book of Malice.”
It felt rewarding to go in and use a character as a tank by equipping this gear on gives more to the Guard stat or makes more to Critical Defense. Even with accessories and potions, you have a variety of choices. You can use poison to affect multiple tiles on the battlefield or even strength or magic potions to boost power. I always used recovery potions as I like to be safe and make sure I can heal myself. This also allows for each playthrough or even every battle to be unique while you play. As the saying goes “Variety is the spice of life” and this game does it in spades.
Players will be able to use Dark Magic with powerful spells such as Shadowquake and Lich’s Arrow. Shadowquake is my favorite which deals decent damage and can hit multiple targets. Then there is Elemental and Healing magic as well with Healing Light and Pillar of Fire being my favorites. Pillar of Fire is a useful fire spell that shoots out fire and that sets certain terrains ablaze. While Healing Light’s range is massive and proves very useful when you have to hang back from a fight. When you get a chance to see the spell cast, a shining light comes out and looks exquisite.
Lost Eidolons offers different types of weapons with my favorite being the unique sword, Dragon’s Dance. This sword granted a couple of effects with the one I enjoyed being called Levin’s Smash. It lets you unleash a short-ranged lighting attack that looks awesome as it can branch out to multiple people if they are the ground is wet. Something about the crackle of lighting, when the ability is used, is intense. The proof is in the pudding once you see the ground shake from being hit by a spell/ability or a person being hit. You can tell which spells are the most powerful ones.
A Difficulty Spike that Soured the Experience
There were some battles where there was a distinct difficulty spike, which did bother me. At certain points in the campaign, a character is gone for story purposes and that’s completely fine. Unfortunately, there was one mission where 3 or 4 powerful allies were gone due to story, died before the mission (unavoidable), or unconscious. On this mission, you had to escort a cart that carries the unconscious Eden and you have to protect it. This is made even more difficult because it’s a very narrow path and enemies continually spawn. While I eventually beat it on the 7th try after using all my undo’s each time, it felt like a drastic difficulty spike. I had to put the game down for a couple of days and come back to it. Maybe my tactical prowess wasn’t great, but that particular mission did turn me off Lost Eidolons for a bit.
The Camp and its Double-Edged Sword
A very significant part of your time in-game will be spent in between battles at the camp. You have a certain number of these kinds of “leadership points” when you are in camp. These points are what you spend doing different activities such as sparring, talking to people about certain topics, and giving gifts, among other things. In the beginning, you don’t start with a lot of them so you have to use them wisely. As the game progresses though you can accrue more, by building up your renown through optional battles and small quests. I would always use every point I had because the camp is a very big part of recruiting new people and building relationships or rapport with your allies. The goal is to build rapport enough with them so they become your close friends.
Every time you increase the rapport enough you get new dialogue. The double-edged sword of Lost Eidolons’ camp mechanic is the fact it can be very repetitive. In the beginning, I would read every line of text and listen to all the spoken dialogue. By the end of my first playthrough, I was skipping all text dialogue and only listening to the spoken dialogue. There are 6 romance scenarios that if correct choices are made. Then if you do that and get the Momento Box before the end of the game and give it to them you can get the romance ending with them.
I spent many hours in camp always using all “leadership points” to do as much as I could. Especially since I had in my head that if I could romance someone it was going to be Marchelle. She just seemed to make the most sense to me since she was with Eden from the very first mission and who I would have chosen for myself.
Superb Voice Acting and Great Cinematics
One of the main reasons I always listened to the spoken dialogue was I was drawn in by the voice actors. Whenever a certain expression was needed or a point needed to get across these voice actors nailed it. That was a big part that kept me enthralled in the story, whether happy, angry, or sad. I felt every voice actor was great, but my four favorites were Eden (Stephen Fu), Balastar (Chris Tergliafera), Andrea (Colleen O’Shaughnessey), and Gilbert (Kieth Silverstein). I could feel everything the voice actors wanted me to feel. Not only was the voice acting superb, but the cinematics were on point.
Each cinematic was well put together and did what it was supposed to, pull you in and evoke emotion. It didn’t matter if Eden was getting over-emotional and calling down lightning, or Balastar was killing one of your allies. Both the cinematic visual effects and audio design were done well and on a level of their own. This is something you don’t always get in games. Everything is put together well, looks great, and evokes the necessary emotion.
Tons of Replayability
Lost Eidolons is highly replayable with all the different class options you can select for Eden and your allies. There are a couple of different endings you can encounter, so if you want to see the different endings you will want to play again. Plus if you want to try the different romance options you will have to play it a few different times. The game has enough variety and uniqueness and warrants multiple playthroughs.
Final Thoughts on Lost Eidolons
Lost Eidolons has many great things going for it. However, it isn’t perfect by any means. Despite its issues, its positive aspects triumph overall. The story always kept pulling me in and evoking emotions that not many games can do for me these days. Lost Eidolons is a game that might take some time to get attached to. But once you get in the swing of things, it hooks you, and you’re in for the ride. Lost Eidolons is available on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC platforms. The game has an MSRP of $34.99 which is a great price for how much I enjoyed the game.