|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Tommo||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: UFO Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Dec. 13, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Branden Barrett
Role playing games are generally welcome on practically any system out there. The great storytelling, immense customization, and great atmosphere can really paint a great picture, similar to that of an epic story book.
The only complaint that people have had over the years regarding RPGs is the battle system. Though the turn-based system was fine the first few years it was conceived, it wasn't long before it had become quite archaic. This was especially noticeable through Final Fantasy VII, which was an amazing game but quite poor in the combat area. Thankfully, a solution arrived in the form of a more realistic fighting system known as the "hack-and-slash." Utilizing real time physics and combo chains, the hack-and-slash system has become the modern combat style for most adventure, action, and role-playing games. Warriors of the Lost Empire is an adventurous dungeon crawler that takes advantage of this system. With all this in mind, the question is this: "Is Warriors of the Lost Empire a great representation on the genre or a forgettable throwaway?"
Since this is a title that originated in Japan, the story is a bit roughly translated, but similar to titles like Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon, it only adds to the charm. Basically, the premise is that an emperor and several of his servants went off to find a new city. Preparations were going well until evil finally reared its ugly head in the form of a race of dark creatures. And as all cliché rescue plots go, it is up to you to take on the task of rescuing the emperor and the city. Four different heroes are available for the picking, including a Highlander, Gladiator, Dark Seeker, and Amazoness. They are not just unique in name alone, but also by the type of skills that they can wield. For instance, a Highlander can wield the game's bigger weapons, including claymores and two-handed axes. On the other hand, there is the Dark Seeker, who is more of a defense specialist with the ability to use some magic. The path you choose will alter your adventure quite a bit, and it is this class based system that really helps define the game.
Okay, you've selected the type of class you want; now what? Well, you have a few options, but it really comes down to preparing for the adventure at hand. Warriors of the Lost Empire's world is set up similar to that of Guild Wars or Phantasy Star Online. You have the main city (hub) that you can use to acquire weapons, armor, items, and so on, and then you have the dungeons. So, in essence, it is more appropriate to say that this game is a dungeon crawler than a traditional role playing game. Speaking of dungeons, each stage is made up of around six levels, each with their own obstacles and monsters blocking your path. You will spend the majority of the time hacking your way through creatures ranging from lowly rats and bugs to skeleton warriors. The A.I. is a bit on the stupid side, with the majority of enemies just running toward you with little variety in their attack strategy. In the end all you need to know is this: attack, attack, and . . . attack.
The main problem with Warriors of the Lost Empire is that it doesn't really do anything to differ itself from the rest of the role playing genre. Enemies are generic, the combat style is repetitive, and the story is rather by the books. And of course, there is the traditional health, magic, and technique bars, which indicate how well your character is currently doing. This aside, what helps the game overcome most of these detriments is its simplistic approach and relation to modern MMORPGs. This relation is apparent through the attribute based leveling system, which continues to improve your character throughout the game's progression. As you get to the later chapters of the game, you will unlock more and more abilities until you receive a total of ten skills. As with Guild Wars, only four can be used at one time, requiring you to use a little strategy before heading off to the next dungeon. What skills are most suitable for this particular dungeon? Do I have the right balance of techniques (healing, offensive, defensive)? To be honest though, because of the limited difficulty it is better to go with mostly healing and defensive moves most of the time. Hey, why go on the offensive when you can use your opponent's traps against them?
Ever heard the old saying, "use your surroundings as a weapon?" Well, this quote applies greatly on how to vanquish foes within Warriors of the Lost Empire, but I'm sure it wasn't meant to be used this way. Another primary issue with the A.I. in this game is the fact that they will mindlessly follow into the stage's own traps. Whether it is a fire trap or pit fall, I found myself far too often able to extinguish my foes by leading them straight to their death. Several projectile based attacks can also be redirected to multiple foes, making it extremely easy to bypass multiple groups. It is unfortunate that the game's camera makes this a little harder to accomplish. Despite the ability to aim the camera behind your character, there are too many occasions where a group of enemies or side of a wall will block your field of vision. To be honest, the game seems to move at a much faster pace than the camera can keep up with, which causes several awkward angles at times. Any player's best bet is to try to stay in the middle of each hall and fight straight on. However, it is this linear style of combat that can really detract from the experience.