Lost Sphear: Progress Log #5

[Click here to start from the first progress log]

I’ve called every single twist in this game long before it happened. There are some things too stupid for even my predictive powers (which is really just experience with how generic jRPGs handle certain scenarios) to handle, however. For example, a character is murdered at one point, only to come back to life and apologize to his murderer. Definitely didn’t see that coming, but only because it’s stupid beyond comprehension and a lazy excuse to jump headlong into everyone’s feelings. This is a game obsessed with feelings to the point where they have physical manifestations. Even those that don’t exist physically can be sensed by random characters for reasons that have yet to be adequately explained. There’s no point in continuing to avoid spoilers anymore, because everything that happens in Lost Sphear is either painfully obvious ahead of time or totally arbitrary and disconnected from anything resembling a coherent set of rules. Consider that a warning that you should stop reading now if you want to experience this inexplicably expensive version of the same jRPG that’s been made about 100 million times before entirely for yourself.

Let’s commence the spoilers

Early in the game, some convenient stupidity removed an idiot named Locke from the party. This was dumb, but I hated Locke enough to be relieved that he was spending most of the game in the care of the Empire. As in, the Empire that’s full of idiots who the main characters eventually turned on (though everyone’s since patched things up and decided to let genocidal bygones be genocidal bygones). Needless to say, it was painfully obvious the second an Empire general showed up with a cyborg that it was Locke. The appearance didn’t really match, but this is one of those process of elimination things, and Lost Sphear gives you tons of hints about it because games like this are always allergic to subtlety. Anyway, the video above is where you get Locke back through yet more convenient stupidity. I haven’t actually used him yet, though his semi-robotic personality is slightly less grating.

Other things that were obvious ahead of time

The second I entered a village with a broken bridge and someone told me to check out the town’s super awesome dancer while waiting for it to be fixed, I called out, “Oh, she’s a demon and this is going to be a Groundhog Day situation.” Technically she was more of a giant butterfly than a demon (though really, what’s the difference?), but that was still absolutely what was happening. Another thing I knew was that the kindly king character wouldn’t survive the entire game. They never do, so that was obvious the second he showed up. Then there’s the Empire not being the force for good that they first appear to be, which was pretty obvious (even pre-genocide) by the fact that they’re called the Empire. Though they exist as a shade of gray rather than being pointlessly evil, admittedly, even if their reasoning is dumb. Oh, and one of the party members is a secret prince, but I don’t know how that was ever a secret. He explicitly states that he’s royalty at one point, and there are only two monarchies in the entire world, one of which didn’t instantly recognize him, so I was caught off-guard when everyone acted surprised by the revelation.

I’m expecting one or two final twists at the very end, which I’m rapidly closing in on. Explaining the story in depth would be difficult because of how nonsensical the mythology and rules of the world are, but the short version is that the moon is sentient and makes places and people disappear when they start being dicks so that the world can be reborn. A scientist—and giant dick in need of erasing—didn’t want to accept that, so he used technology to become Moon God and tricked a party member into killing another party member to revive him. Which worked despite said party member coming back to life for some reason. None of this is explained; it all just happens. The first twist I’m expecting is something involving one of the main characters named Lumina. That’s a very moon-y name, and it’s randomly mentioned that she suddenly showed up in town one day when she was young. Another twist I’m expecting is to go beat up the bad guy at the end of the game, only for an ancient robot to show up and be like, “I was behind everything all along, mwahaha!” There was some ancient writing about a machine that existed to wipe out some ancient people, and something similar about becoming all-knowing (or something along those lines), so it wouldn’t be coming out of left field. I’ll be pleasantly surprised if the jerk scientist bites it and the credits roll, though, if for no other reason than the fact that it’d allow me to avoid getting into another awful boss fight.

And the boss fights definitely are awful

All right, this is another long video, but the point is that no normal enemy stands a chance against me at this point in the game. Not even the ones who can resist my instant-death spritnite. Then I get to the boss fight and get stomped on again. I’d love to say that this is always the case, but it really isn’t. Sometimes you can blow through a boss like tissue paper, and other times you’re stuck figuring out all of its cheap moves first. Take this Zemrode guy, for example. He does a lot of damage, but that’s not all. He also has an annoying status effect attack, as well as an attack that he can use when he’s at near-death to restore 100% of his health and insta-kill a party member. You never know about these things ahead of time; the name of the game is repeatedly throwing yourself at these random walls of difficulty until you know what to expect and get lucky with attack patterns. It’s poor design.

This was two bosses before Zemrode, which is maybe 30 minutes prior to that fight. It wasn’t immune to my instant-death attack for some reason. Sometimes that’s how it goes. Even the dual bosses faced shortly after this thing were a cakewalk despite being immune to my instant-death attacks, so the difficulty is all over the place.

There’s no satisfying solution to someone like this who can heal while doing a ton of damage. Just luck and throwing everything you have at him before he starts with the cheap tricks. Difficulty spikes like this feel deeply unrewarding to overcome.

I forgot to mention it, but…

This happened earlier, but I was so wrapped up in other badness that bringing it up totally slipped my mind. Basically, at one point the party decides to go up to some ruins to try and talk to a pro-human monster (who eventually becomes a party member). If you trigger the party dialogue, however, Mr. Secret Prince talks about how he hopes they don’t run into the monster that they’re going to the ruins to try and find. How do inconsistencies like this even happen? Lost Sphear feels like a game that multiple developers wrote dialogue for based on a rough draft they were all given the freedom to flesh out, with each team elaborating in completely different directions, leading to an incoherent mess of disparate ideas that don’t fit together.

[Click here to go to Lost Sphear log #4]
[Click here to go to Lost Sphear log #6]

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