Review – Lost Eidolons
Fire Emblem has surprisingly and unarguably become one of Nintendo’s biggest franchises. And for good reason. Its strategic gameplay is simple, yet has tons of depth and complexity. And it was doing relationships long before Persona 5 made it popular. With that level of popularity though comes plenty of imitations. And at first sight, Lost Eidolons looked like just another one of those. Not long into the game however, and it becomes clear this isn’t just another Fire Emblem clone with a different skin. It’s a lovingly made, highly polished, tactical strategy game with surprisingly high production values that’s made for fans of the genre.
The most interesting thing about Lost Eidolons is that it’s both the game you expect it to be, while also not. From the beginning, it was very clear that Fire Emblem was the inspiration here. Fire Emblem, but with the anime switched out for high fantasy. Which it is, but at the same time it’s not. Because while it looks very much like a western SRPG, everything else is still very much JRPG. The game is fairly linear, with no more openness than a standard Fire Emblem title. There’s long stretches of (voiced) dialogue conveyed in a visual novel style, RPG mechanics are mostly superficial and fixed, and the class system is literally a job system. It’s basically a western JRPG, which are always a treat to experience. In this way, it actually reminded me quite a bit of Elden Ring. Extremely western, but also absolutely Japanese.
The story starts out confusing but simple, then gets just confusing, but then returns to simplicity. Things start in media res with you and a squad of loyal men being hunted down as traitors. You don’t know who or what is happening, but if you don’t pay attention to the objective this tutorial will kill you. Following this is the game’s opening cinematic, which introduces you to the world, history, and lore of the game. It does so a bit too quickly, with everything looking cool and intriguing, but too expediently told to be understood well. Like one of those three minute Silmarillion recap videos. Still, it looked cool and I was definitely hooked, a rarity these days for fantasy worlds. And after this Lost Eidolons settles into a more traditional storytelling method, and actually starts explaining things, so it’s all good.
The main character is a man named Eden, the leader of a local mercenary group. Very familiar starting point, but clichés exist for a reason. And right off the bat, I found Eden and his men to be likable and interesting characters which is always critical for a game like this. Don’t like the party, don’t bother playing the game. The surprisingly high quality models, animations, and voice-acting were also a pleasant surprise that help immerse you in the game. As expected, Eden and his men’s mercenary work quickly gets them in over there heads. They accept a contract which puts them at odds with the local lord, which leads to them waging war against him, and things only escalate from there. Prophecies of ruin, gestating magical powers, dragons, Lost Eidolons has it all. It’s all familiar, but told extremely well. Another rarity for fantasy games these days.
The gameplay is the same. Very familiar, but done so well it doesn’t matter. I know I’ve mentioned Fire Emblem a thousand times, but I can’t understate the similarities here. The turn-based, grid-based, unit focused combat is almost a direct copy. The difference being the weapon triangle is switched out for a weapon/armor weakness system. Each weapon type is strong against a specific armor type, with magic being its own thing. Another big addition is an environmental element manipulation system, a lot like Divinity: Original Sins’. You can burn forests and electrocute puddles, amongst other interactions. It’s simple, but very effective. The war camp is also very similar to Three House’s Monastery. You have points to spend on interacting with your soldiers, facilities for upgrading and progression, and you are free to run around the area in third person.
As far as performance and graphics went, I was impressed at very level. I played on the Steam Deck, using the latest GE-Proton, and it ran flawlessly. I did cap to 40 fps to preserve battery life, but that was a personal choice. Graphically, I remain especially impressed. It’s an indie game, but the models are high quality, there’s a large number of maps, and mouths even move during the fully voiced dialogue. Professionally voiced I might add, with an array of well known voice actors. Money well spent in my opinion, as there’s a lot of dialogue and good VA does a lot to make it more interesting. One of my favorite details is that when the camera zooms in for an attack during a battle, you’ll see the battle raging around your private duel. It’s the small things that make a game great, and Lost Eidolons knows it.
I didn’t expect to enjoy Lost Eidolons nearly as much as I did. I’d assumed it would be just another one-note SRPG set in another generic high fantasy world. The Fire Emblem similarities would be skin deep, and nowhere near as high quality. However, I was delighted to be wrong as this game over delivered on every level. Impressive presentation, simple yet deep combat, and there’s plenty of variety in progression and customization. And while the story’s long in the teeth and the reliance on visual novel style dialogue sequences may not be for everyone, fans of the genre will be right at home. And while for now it’s a PC only, Xbox ports are already in the works, with ports for PlayStation and Switch being considered. Which I hope pan out, because strategy fans everywhere deserve to take this game for a spin.
I was genuinely impressed with Lost Eidolan’s graphics, animations, and performance especially since it’s an indie title.
Its traditional Fire Emblem combat with some Divinity: Original Sin environmental element manipulation, so it’s actually quite brilliant.
Again, the voice-acting and soundtrack were much better than I expected, especially for an indie.
Fun Factor: 9.0
If you like strategy games, you’ll love Lost Eidolons which took a bunch of great things from its predecessors and mixed them together brilliantly.
Final Verdict: 8.5
Lost Eidolons is available now on PC.
Reviewed on PC.
A copy of Lost Eidolons was provided by the publisher.