Combat and Modes
Once you have your roster of characters or heck whatever character you were just paid by the quest system to purchase, you’re all set to jump into combat. I give one final warning, even if the cash shop system isn’t a turn off for you, you better also brace yourself to get stomped on… a lot. Remember that learning curve I mentioned earlier? Well unfortunately plenty of the OGPlanet players are present and have been power leveling since launch date so you’re going to not only be facing opponents that know the tricks of the trade, but also have superior characters to your own, making straight damage trades with them unfavorable.
Beyond this I found the blocking function to be rather useless in any situation that doesn’t involve your allies coming to your rescue within 5 seconds of going on the defense. Most characters have enough of an animation delay between switching from blocking to attacking that as soon as your drop your guard, the enemy will be pummeling your face and stun-locking you all over again. And continuous blocking will just make you a sitting duck for one of your opponent’s abilities that break through your defenses. Thankfully a more skillful block exists by gaining temporary invincibility while using one of your own skills, though if all your skills have long cool-downs or require targeting an area prior.. you’re totally out of luck until the enemy knocks you down and grants you temp invulnerability to make a quick escape or counterstrike.
That being said, this is only a real concern in the more competitive modes like the new Champion match that pits you in a 1 on 1 in a simplistic map to duke it out arcade fighter style. Or if you’re not paying attention and step into that odd 4v4 team battle room that has 4 high level players all stacked on red team ready to pounce on the four random noobs that stumble in to join the blue side.
The majority of the maps and modes are pure chaotic fun and players especially seem fond of Boss Battle in which one player at a time becomes an overpowered boss version of their hero with longer attack reach, more HP, harder hitting spells, and the ability to regenerate health when KOing another player. There aren’t really any winners or losers in this mode; everyone gets their rewards and character exp at the end, and a good time is had by all whether you’re a novice or a veteran.
Interestingly enough, if you’re willing to test out as many characters as you can and learn how each of their special moves works, the same RPG elements that might leave a new player helplessly outmatched against veteran players can be utilized to turn the tides against the veteran players. How this works is once a hero runs out of HP, they will begin losing armor pieces when taking damage until they are naked and open for being KO’d. This dropped gear stays on the ground for a set time in a free for all waiting to be picked up. As such if you play cautiously and bide your time on the sidelines, you can run in and snag your foe’s overpowered gear and turn the tides against them. But this is entirely dependent on putting in the time to learn the various abilities and how to combo with them as simply spamming skills you don’t know in Lost Saga is a great way to paint the ‘noob’ target on your back, attracting your foes over to you for a free kill.
Balancing Issues and again… the RPG element
As you’ve probably gathered by now, Lost Saga is more designed for the frantic button smasher than the hardened arcade warrior. While it is possible to pull off impressive combos showcasing your immense skill and knowledge of the game that most players wouldn’t be able to imitate, in most modes/maps you’re going to find yourself smacked by an enemy or have your target randomly hit by an ally before said skillful combos are ever demonstrated. And this is where I feel the balance issues come into play.
In Lost Saga I didn’t just lose, they made me bend over and accept my shame.
See heroes are defined as melee, ranged, and magical characters with melee offering the best damage output in big gang bangs. Ranged characters certainly do well, especially on some of the trickier maps as they can force the normally overpowered melee characters to jump through hoops before they can even get into striking range. And one lucky shot can send you over the edge, with fall damage often sucking out a good third of your HP bar. Yet mages carry crazy long cooldowns that are typically slightly more powerful than ranged characters, but also less accurate and as a result less effective over all. Sure when you hit, it’s a big deal, but missing can essentially take you out of usefulness longer than your HP bar might last against an aggressive melee fighter.
While the RPG elements allow you to balance these weaknesses with reduced cooldowns on set spells or higher damage or movement speed, it’s clear that the complexity involved with putting three incredibly different combatant styles into so many modes makes pure balance an impossibility. So as I said before, if you’re just looking for an insane beat-em-up, Lost Saga delivers. But those arcade quarter warriors of old might not be too happy with the results.
The fact that a player’s account rank doesn’t necessarily dictate the strength of a hero they’re using makes trying to make characters of similar strengths against each other an impossibility. The lack of an elo system and small community sees to it that luck of the draw overrides balanced battles most of the time.
Stressed? We have You Covered
If you’re one of those people who can’t help but take PvP seriously and are on a bad losing streak, Lost Saga offers some calming PvE elements to let you continue progressing your account without hitting your little brother with your keyboard in the process. This comes in the form of fishing, treasure hunting, and plenty of other non-combat related events that players can just chill in a no skill required mini-game of chance while chatting with their fellow players, calming their nerves.
In fact these modes not only offer stress relief, but a method of acquiring powerful equips to customize your heroes and get a leg up on the competition. The experience provided also makes it a great way to put some RPG stat points into a character you’re not having much luck with to pump them up prior to real PvP battles. You can even skirmish with other players in duels to test out various combo and combo breaks or just to kill time while waiting on your friends to sign-in.
The owner would pay more for 2 hours renting Shadow Assassin than he would for his Lost Conscience? What a jerk.
I’m Still Here Ain’t I?
Despite the numerous drawbacks I found playing Lost Saga over the weekend, there is a seemingly equalizing element to each that keeps me coming back for more. The unique manga art style makes those hard to acquire fashion sets so worth it in the end. The frustration of playing a mage in PvP suddenly isn’t so bad when you get stuck in that 1on1, teleport behind the enemy and double tap your knock down melee attack into a 9 hit magic combo finish that blows the enemy off the edge.
The developing storyline and witty questlines counter some of the unpolished edges of the localization and give you that extra incentive to keep leveling your character, fishing that extra fish, and mining up that 10th rare artifact. There’s just a charm about this game that doesn’t let me put it down, and takes the edge off every complaint I have for it.
I guess the overall unique feel that it brings as a F2P online brawler makes me just want to tell WeMade to shut up and take my money at this point and hope that as I learn the tricks of the trade, I’ll eventually become one of those cool kids with the multi-star badge that knows just the right move to bust out of a four man pile-up and turn it around into a quadra-kill. I’m still but a wee grasshopper struggling to understand one character at a time while the masters use hotkeys to swap their characters on the fly to unleash Marvel VS Capcom style uber combos in Champion Mode.
Graphics: 4 (The artstyle is an ideal match for the chaotic gameplay and the goofy customization options make playing each match enjoyable just to see what odd toon is going to beat your head in this time)
Controls: 3 (They feel slightly clunky and at times unresponsive. The ASD keys being the same for both skills as well as jumping, blocking, and attacking make for plenty of d’oh moments as your character does the opposite of what you want. Once mastered though you can manage some impressive plays)
Features: 5 (From dozens of modes, matches ranging from 1v1 to 8v8, quick join features that work impeccably well, RPG elements, training, quests, fashion and gear customizations, and even fishing and treasure hunting? Lost Saga’s bread and butter is its features)
Customization: 5 (Although partially locked by the cash shop or intense hours of gameplay, the level of customization both cosmetic, skillwise, and stat-wise combined with the ability to raise as many heroes as you can afford to rent pushes Lost Saga’s customization to the top of the class)
Community: 2 (The community is small and not super talkative. That said less than 5% of the players seem to be competitive trash talkers which seems quite low for such a PvP driven title. I felt comfortable dealing with others and don’t have much to say other than that this game needs more players so that we can get more skill-based matchmaking included)
Want a visual look at the game? Check out our sister site MMOHut’s First Look Refresher by JamesBl0nde!