|a game by||FromSoftware|
|Editor Rating:||8/10, based on 1 review|
|User Rating:||8.0/10 - 1 vote|
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Christmas has come early for GameCube owners. Not only is Lost no Final Fantasy copycat, it succeeds where other RPGs fail by presenting novel ideas and executing them well. Graphically, the game's charming design tends toward the fantastic rather than the realistic. It's no technical masterpiece, but its unique look works well overall. Although levels are just varied D&D-style dungeons (with monsters weirdly stolen right out of the Monstrous Compendium), Lost stays fresh thanks to puzzles, mini- and side-quests, and a smooth difficulty curve. Most impressive, though, is the unique battle-card system. Think adult and violent Cardcaptor Sakura anime action with a heavy strategic twist. How heavy? Forget to pick an effectively balanced deck of cards before a level, or fail to drop a card during battle to get to the next card coming up that you need, and you're pretty well screwed. A lack of in-level saves makes things even tougher. "Transforming" or upgrading your cards also plays a huge strategic role, since having more high-level cards in your deck will significantly up your readiness to take on anything that comes your way. Downsides include not being able to surrender in boss fights after you run out of cards, forcing you to wait to die or quit, and A.I. that has trouble navigating big environmental objects. But Lost is a great surprise winner for GC-- be sure to thank Santa for this one.
When I first heard that you battled using cards in Lost Kingdoms, images of horribly boring collectible-card games rushed through my head. Thankfully, this is a lot more entertaining than any Magic: The Gathering. The unique battle system is what makes Kingdoms stand out--it's incredibly easy to pick up. Yet at the same time, evolving your cards and building a winning deck gives it a bigger punch in the strategy department. I wish more of the story was told visually instead of through text, and a quick way to center the camera behind you would've been nice. Still, 'Cube owners looking for a solid, enjoyable RPG should look no further.
The last thing I expected out of From Software was a card-battle game that doesn't actually play like one. Yes, despite the game's affection for decks, Lost Kingdoms is an action-RPG that uses virtual cards to summon the hordes of ass-kicking 3D monsters who do your bidding. Although the storyline is pretty lame, the game moves along at a good clip, taking you from level to level with lots of secrets to discover and tons of battles to keep you busy. The controls, which simply map four cards to each of the four main buttons, makes controlling Katia (who looks too much like Red Riding Hood for my tastes) a breeze. A nifty, if linear, action-RPG.