Lost Saga Review Cel-Shaded, Chaotic and Hysterical
By Michael Sagoe (mikedot), OnRPG Journalist
Lost Saga is a casual online action beat 'em up game developed by IO Entertainment and hosted by OGPlanet, which features heroes of myth, legend, fantasy and sci-fi duking it out it various different locales in time. Lost Saga features 23+ heroes to choose from, equipped with various attacks and skills. Battles in Lost Saga are chaotic, hectic and for the most part, hysterical.
I previously played Lost Saga awhile back during its closed beta phase. I just started playing it again recently and have impressed with all the changes that have been made to it.
When you first start playing Lost Saga, you'll type in your desired player name and will instantly be given a shadow assassin as your first hero. After that, the tutorial starts up and will only take five minutes to complete. Afterwards, you're free to participate in any game mode you'd like.
There are 5+ different game modes available for up to 16 players. There's deathmatch, crown control, power stone, boss raid, prisoner, crusade and a couple others. Most of the modes available were only playable in teams and I also felt like most of the game modes were only slight alterations of each other. Regardless, I'm sure most players will find a mode they will prefer over the others. If you don't feel like battling others, there are social areas called plazas were you can talk with other players or battle them without any penalties. You can also spend some time fishing in these plaza areas and try to earn some special items and equipment for your heroes.
You can buy new heroes and upgrade them at the shop with different stats and properties as you level up. I personally didn't like the fact that non-paying players could not buy new heroes until they've leveled up to a certain point, and only then they can buy a temporary hero for two hours. If you want to get a hold of permanent hero, you're gonna have to pay up $10+ dollars in astros. I don't think that $10 bucks for a permanent hero is much, but I do think that since most players are going to want to buy several heroes instead of just one, the price should be cut in half.
There's also some basic character customization letting players change the hair, face, outfit and underwear (that's right... underwear! I'll talk more about this in a moment.)
Playing Lost Saga uses simple controls on the keyboard and also supports game controllers. During my playthrough, I used the default keyboard setup. The A, S and D keys are used for jumping, defending and attacking respectively. Pressing the attack button repeatedly lets you perform a simple combo and holding the attack button down lets you perform an extra attack. Each hero has about four different skills they can use. Performing strong combos will require the use of these skills. When your opponent's HP is low, they'll start to lose pieces of their armor until they're down to nothing but their underwear! Players running around in their undies can pick their armor back up by pressing the same key used for jumping. You can also pick up armor while changing their original look and replace some skills as well.
A cowboy knight that knows tae kwon do? AWESOME.
Lost Saga has three distinct hero types: Melee, Ranged, and Special. The melee heroes contain close quarters fighters such as ninjas and taekwondo masters, ranged heroes have marksmen such as musketeers and space troopers and the special heroes have characters with mixed skills like the crazy sapper and captain hook. My personal hero of choice was the Infantryman as he can fire off rounds using a rifle, set up barricades, throw grenades and temporarily command enemy players like a drill sergeant. You bring up to 12 heroes with you and switch between them at almost any time using the number keys. Being able to switch between heroes on the fly allows for creativity between the different skills and movesets of your heroes, allowing you to perform crazy juggle combos. Mixing and matching between your heroes in battle makes Lost Saga's gameplay unique and exciting.
Beat their pants off!
Visually, Lost Saga looks excellent. The different environments such as the Pirate Ship, Aztec Temple, Wild West and many others are all rich with color and have effects like rolling dust and light glowing effects. Small effects like these really help to make the environments feel alive. Cel-shaded visuals may not be anything new or special, but the cartoon styled heroes look great with sharp looking character models.
My favorite part of Lost Saga's presentation has to be its music. I could tell there was a lot of work put into the music as dramatic orchestrated tones were used to fit each map and area perfectly. Tribal beats on the Aztec map, Cowboy showdown music on the Wild West map and whatnot. All the different songs used in Lost Saga's soundtrack either made me feel relaxed or pumped for battle. Apparently, OGPlanet thinks that Lost Saga's soundtrack is excellent too, so players can download songs from the different areas in the game off of the official website.
As much as I liked Lost Saga's music, I can't say the same about the reset of Lost Saga's audio. The sounds of punching, slashing, shooting, casting magic, etc. didn't sound right at all. Maybe because the sound effects used were very low quality. There's also a bit of chatter that heroes make in battle and when players type in certain words while chatting. It's a bit annoying to hear the chatter sounds in-game and I kinda wish there was a way to turn them off.
I didn't have many huge gripes about this game other then some obvious issues like lag. Lost Saga uses P2P connections, so it means if one player is lagging, they will become nearly impossible to hit. Sometimes when you do attack a lagging player though, the hit might register late. I experienced this several times during a team battle match when I attack a player and a message popped up saying that I defeated an enemy play about 2 minutes later. Other then that, everything about the game feels right. The mechanic of being able to take armor from other players and use new skills from them is pretty neat since it allows for a bit of experimentation.
Being able to turn off the UI and play the entire game with a movie style action camera is a nice touch, but a bit disorienting. The gameplay controls don't conform to how the camera is angled, so you'll have to remember that your character will still move as if the camera is centered normally.
I do wish that non-paying players could get permanent heroes, but luckily, the heroes you do get with two hour limits do not start counting down until they're used in battles. The game also seems to hand you free two hour heroes often just for leveling up, so I guess that sort of balances things out.
As a fan of fighting game titles, this game really took me by surprise. Lost Saga is an excellent title that holds up well in a very scarce genre of online fighting games. It's filled with crazy action and wacky cartoon-esque moments so it doesn't take itself seriously. Overall, the gameplay isn't too deep and not too simple. It's a nice casual game and it doesn't make itself out to be anything more then that. Plus there's a pretty good amount of content available and with the promise of over 100+ heroes to play as in the near future, there's something for everyone to enjoy and look forward to. If you're into the genre of online fighting games like Rumble Fighter and Splash Fighters, you can't go wrong with Lost Saga.