Lost Eidolons is a turn-based tactics game from Ocean Drive Studio in which you fight to liberate Artemesia from an oppressive emperor.
For the most part, battles revolve around moving your characters into position, protecting your weaker heroes in the back, and focusing attacks on enemies to take them out, while managing your health so you can complete your objective without dying. Initially, you only have basic attacks, but as the game goes on you get Combat Skills, which allow you to apply different effects to enemies and deal extra damage, and the combat remains tactically interesting throughout the entire game.
You can choose permadeath or for your soldiers to return in the next battle when downed, and there are also a variety of difficulty options. For my part, playing on normal was challenging at times, with a few maps I had to retry, but a generous undo system and playing without permadeath allowed a smooth experience.
The other major part of the game is the Camp exploration gameplay, which essentially plays out like a mix of Fire Emblem: Three Houses’ Garreg Mach quests and a BioWare hub area conversation pile-up. Over the course of between 15 minutes and an hour and a half, you can complete quests, spend time with your soldiers, give gifts, and watch voiced and unvoiced conversations. If you find this stuff boring, nearly all of it is optional, but it will often make you stronger in battle and reveal some fun story. If you indulge in all of it, it can create some pacing issues. It didn’t bother me personally, but I can imagine it turning off some players.
Battles, relationships improved by giving gifts, quests in a hub area, monsters that must be attacked by your whole group, and more are all very similar to Three Houses, albeit with with some specific differences to make it unique: Instead of a weapon triangle, weapons deal extra damage to specific armor types, and instead of weapons having durability, only Magic has a specific and low number of uses per battle.
The story is sharply written, despite some slow sections early in the game that make a subpar impression. The characters and story become deeper as you go on, and each individual conversation is more fun than in most games of this type. The overall story is a tale of war, political intrigue, and trying to be good in a chaotic world, but the smaller stories of the characters are also largely charming, and I imagine everyone will have some favorites.
For the most part, the realistic aesthetic is well executed, and characters look distinct. However, the game is often way too dark, and characters’ faces, which are used extensively for all cutscenes and dialogue, are incapable of emoting. The voice acting is so good that it adds the emotions the faces lack, but it’s a shame to not see a smile or frown on any of the characters’ faces.
As far as minor quibbles go, there’s a 20-plus turn limit for every map, which is an absurdly long amount of turns, but I can imagine it annoying some players. I wish the class diversity in the early game were better. Optional battles could do with more variety, and the game doesn’t currently support PlayStation controllers natively. A few maps are weirdly harsh, and you’d be unlikely to play them without losing soldiers the first time on permadeath mode.
If you like tactical RPGs with good stories, and don’t mind the realistic aesthetic and long conversation sections, Lost Eidolons will be a great fit. Lost Eidolons just kinda rocks, and I had a fantastic time with it from start to finish.
Lost Eidolons is out now on PC for $34.99 and coming in early 2023 to Xbox Series X | S.
Watch the Review in 3 Minutes for Lost Eidolons.