|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|
Just like with other role playing games, the game is not just based around combat. The title also boasts a synthesis system that allows you to customize particular items and weapons to your liking. Using a combination of different color scraps, you can alter critical hit ratio, attack power, recovery rate, and more. I found the system pretty easy to figure out on paper, but a lot of people new to the genre, especially younger kids, would definitely have a problem getting everything perfect. The system does take a lot of trial and error to get your equipment just the way you want it and consistent poor results can leave you frustrated.
Another surprising element to the game is that there is no money involved whatsoever. That's right, no coins, clams, denaros, or buckaroos; looks like you got on the good side of everyone in town. Pretty much everything that you will use in this game you will find as you go from dungeon to dungeon, with the majority of the items you find being available for pick-up in the town's storage bank. So you can imagine that there isn't really a lot of micromanagement to be done. Just get your items up to speed, go to the dungeon, conquer it, and come back.
Tired of dungeon crawling alone and looking for a partner? Fortunately for you the game features a co-op mode in which you and a friend can get in on some of the action. Assuming both players have a copy of the game, one of the players can host a game, based on how far one of the two is in their single player mode. Basically everything is the same in multiplayer mode except that you can not upgrade skills or start a new game. However, you can level up and upgrade your character's equipment, weapons, and so on. I found the lag favorable in this mode, with a smooth, consistent frame-rate being available 90% of the time. Probably the only real problem with this mode is that it makes the game even easier, but it was hard to notice all the issues while I was wading through hordes of monsters.
A dungeon crawler has to look good, right? Well, I'd be lying if I said that the visuals were the game's strong point. In fact, the title's color palette can be summed up in three words: brown, brown, and brown. Most dungeons throughout the game repeat their visual design, meaning several romps through colorless corridors and mazes. Spell attacks and occasional traps help brighten things up a bit, but all in all everything seems really faded. Character models on the other hand are done better, and most enemies and characters you come across will look fairly detailed. Adding to this is a window that displays an anime-style representation of the character when you talk to them. As far as sound effects go, everything is pretty standard, but it is the music in certain stages that helps improve the presentation a bit. Nothing orchestrated, but there are several interesting themes to go along with some of the dungeons that stand out from the others in appearance; if only they spent a bit more type with variety, they could've really had a more complete package.
At the end of the day, one could say that Warriors of the Lost Empire is a lackadaisical approach to the hack-and-slash role playing genre. Nevertheless, there are enough bright moments to overlook the game's several detriments, which include mediocre visuals, a poor camera, a confusing synthesis system, and an uneven difficulty. With the PSP lacking a true hack-and-slash adventure on its console, action starved players should give this one a rental, especially if you can find a friend to pick up the game as well. The fun battle system and interesting class system make for a fun time and the game's single player adventure is fairly long (between 15-20 hours). Just goes to show that a title can be good if it pretty much stands alone in its respective game group.
CCC Freelance Writer