The inconsistencies are piling up. You’d think that how basic things work in Lost Sphear’s world would be one of the things the developers nailed down early and subsequently stuck with, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The party has brought back multiple people from being “lost,” and that time is always simply missing. No one who’s been lost recognizes it; several individuals return unaware that they were in need of saving in the first place and continue speaking as though it were still the day they disappeared. Cut to later in the game when a party member who went through the same thing mentions that he felt something conveniently specific while he was lost. This could be overlooked if it was the only inconsistency here, but pretty much everything happens in a convenient way rather than in the way that would make the most sense. Another example: an early part of the game sees the initial characters obtaining flawless vulcosuits, which are remnants of a lost civilization that are rarely found in such pristine condition. Then a new character joins up and it turns out that they also have a vulcosuit. That’s convenient, but sure. Later on, a literal monster joins the party and also has a vulcosuit out of nowhere, and the story doesn’t even bother making an excuse for this one. He just found it lying around in the place he was hiding. Why wouldn’t the monster guy stumble on incredibly rare robotic suit technology that was inexplicably sitting in plain sight?
Barely bad: fishing
I thought it’d be fun to start with the less bad parts of the game and work my way up to the most infuriating thing I’ve faced thus far. That means that we’re starting off with fishing, which is such a boring minigame that one wonders why it was even included. All you do is interact with the fishing spot, wait for the water to be disturbed, then hit A (on an Xbox 360 controller) to reel it in. Rinse and repeat. Most of the time you catch fish, though you can also rarely catch items. It’s so thin and pointless that it reeks of box-checking: “hey, many great jRPGs of the past have included fishing minigames, so let’s cram one of our own in here.”
Moderately annoying: trigger hunting
In the video above, I’ve already triggered most of the cutscenes, but I went through the motions anyway (and skipped through the text to avoid spoilers) to give a sense of what these parts are like. Basically, you show up somewhere and a bunch of triggers need to be hit before you can leave again. That means wandering around for a few minutes, talking to everyone you see and moving through every location that could potentially be hiding an invisible cutscene trigger that’s required to leave. Of course, it’s not always obvious when you’ve done enough to leave, which can become aggravating. Especially when you’ve figured out the problem and have a solution in mind, only for the game to refuse until you talk to someone who gives you a memory needed to make it past a “lost” obstacle you didn’t even know was there.
Just plain stupid: useless memory hints
I bought two of these “Death Boost” spritnite things that, when equipped, allow momentum mode to trigger instant death on most non-boss enemies. It’s pretty overpowered, so obviously I needed more of them so that every character could have an instant-death attack. Sadly, I was missing a specific type of memory required to buy it (enemies drop memories, and those memories are used to buy new spritnite of various types), so I pressed the button that supposedly gives you a hint about where to find it. The game told me that the “Midoua” enemy dropped the kind I needed, which would be great if I knew what the hell that enemy was. Am I expected to remember something I steamrolled over hours ago? Traipse through the entire world looking for a single type of enemy? There’s no bestiary to reference, so those appear to be the only options. The whole thing is stupid beyond words.
[Update: Oooooor maybe I’m the one who’s stupid beyond words. Turns out that there is a bestiary and I somehow managed to completely miss it.]
The worst: random difficulty spikes
The video above is long, so here’s the short version: I go through an easy dungeon, facing a group of idiot Empire soldiers several times and mopping the floor with both them and every other enemy in my path. Then I reach the boss and get curb stomped over and over. Why? Because it uses a ton of debuffs, and right now my characters have no way of avoiding sleep, poison, and confusion outside of using items. This frog boss is the devil, and the frustrating thing is that it wouldn’t be difficult if it didn’t spam status effects that seem to have a 100% chance of landing. Poison and confusion are annoying, but the one that I hate the most is sleep. I eventually did beat it after several non-recorded attempts (success ultimately came down to getting lucky with which attacks it used), but at one point it inflicted sleep on my entire party three times in a row, then went to sleep itself. This isn’t just a difficulty spike, but a giant waste of time, too. Here’s a crazy idea: if you’re a game developer, save the Malboro/Oscar knockoffs for when the party has an actual capacity to defend against multiple statuses at once. It’s so crazy it just might work.