By Chris Melchin / September 4th, 2017
Lost Sphear is the follow-up to Tokyo RPG Factory’s first game, I am Setsuna. I had the opportunity to try it out at PAX West this year, both the PS4 and Nintendo Switch versions. It showed off the first part of the game, up to the first boss battle.
The demo showed some of the differences between Lost Sphear and I am Setsuna. Perhaps the most immediately noticeable is that Lost Sphear is a distinctly less somber affair than the latter; from the more lively characters, to the more substantial music, to the change from snow imagery to blankness and fog. The combat system has been changed as well, combining the ATB system with freedom of movement and taking advantage of attack areas to maximize damage. In some ways the system reminds me of Hyperdimension Neptunia, albeit less action-based aside from pressing Y (on Switch) or square (PS4) when attacking to activate the Setsuna system to get extra damage. This is a returning feature from I am Setsuna; holding off your action while the ATB gauge is full gradually fills up Setsuna stocks, which are consumed when you use the system when attacking. Attacking, being attacked, and using skills also fills the meter by a set amount. The system is pretty straightforward as a Square Enix RPG turn-based combat system, but I think the Setsuna system and freedom of movement adds a nice amount of depth and strategy to the standard gameplay.
There are several differences between the PS4 and the Switch versions. The Switch version has a lower frame rate, less anti-aliasing on the graphics, and no voice acting outside of combat. Such is the natural trade-off for portability, and fortunately the gameplay isn’t fast-paced enough for the lower frame rate to make a significant difference to the gameplay. Overall I’d say the PS4 version is superior, but in general it depends on how much you find portability to be worth. The lower frame rate and graphical quality are also significantly less noticeable while playing the game in handheld or tabletop modes. There’s also a strange blurring and chromatic aberration effect at the edges of the screen, in both versions.
Lost Sphear is set for physical and digital release on PS4 and Switch, and digital PC release through Steam, on January 23, 2018.
Lost SphearPAX WestPAX West 2017Square EnixTokyo RPG Factory