Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Role-Playing, Adventure, Simulation & Strategy
Release Date: 16th of November, 2017 (Worldwide)
For the players itching to go hands on with an RPG before the release of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 next month, another option has presented itself and although this review has taken its time, due to our review of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Antiquia Lost is not a game to put to one side so swiftly!
From the developer and publisher who brought Revenant Saga to the Nintendo Switch in October, developers EXE-CREATE are back with another RPG game of their making and while the two might look the same during the first glance, there are plenty of differences between Revenant Saga and Antiquia Lost and it is the latter in which I will be reviewing today.
In terms of visuals, both games feature the classic retro look and are 16-bit inspired RPG’s, only Antiquia Lost appears to be better designed as it visually looks better, sharper and plays a lot more smoother compared to Revenant Saga does in both Handheld and TV mode and there are no reading issues as text is a lot clearer too. As for other things that are different, all though the game has a similar lay-out to its menu and save screens, Antiquia Lost has a more reserved and clear design as opposed to Revenant Saga’s more lavish creation, so if we’re keeping score here, so far its 2-1 as Revenant Saga may have the edge thanks to its more creative menus, Antiquia Lost is dominating thanks to better performance and clearer text.
Now because things are one sided a moment, let’s even up the score a little and talk story for both games. In Revenant Saga’s case, it had a more compelling story from the outset as its protagonist would do anything to save the life of his dear friend Anna. One of its antagonists would do anything to bring his dead daughter back to life and there’s an army of possessed corpses looking to destroy the entire world, with the likes of demons controlling their movements and a certain revival of a Demon King being put through the process. There are hardly was a time for a rest and other things as the situation of the world felt dire, whereas in Antiquia Lost, it’s almost as if you have all the time in the world as there are no real threats looming on the horizon as such. Instead what you do have is the world by the name of Edelstein, which is home to the three tribes, the Fai, the Eeth and the Ruto (more on them later.)
Long ago the three tribes went to war with one another other magic. This war was called The Great War and did not end until the three tribes were able to make a truce and return to their separate kingdoms, only now in the present, the past is not to be left in the past. For one individual the war is not over, as they feel it is time for vengeance and sets things in motion by kidnapping a member of each Royal family of each tribe, and a couple of civilians, who just so happen to all be pretty great at using magic (enough to slay most demons easily.) The problem for this story though, is the fact it is so long winded that for the most part of the game that you don’t even find out about the reason why until you’ve put about 9-11 hours into the game and then when you do learn the truth, you can’t help but think, “is that it?” You then have to endure through this reasoning as you rush to finish the game and reach the final battle, which you can actually fail if you defeat the “Big Bad” of the game. (Confused? I was too when I reached that point, but if I explain it more clearly, then that would be spoilers and we try to avoid those things in our reviews.) But yes, there is a big bad boss wanting to take back the world and reshape it and you’re not actually allowed to defeat him as that in itself is a game over.
Now, as for the protagonists of Antiquia Lost, our main Hero is a 20 year old lad, by the name of Bine. Bine is a member of the Fai tribe and earns a living by carrying out menial tasks around Crysta Village and keeping it and its residents safe from attacking Demons. The events of Antiquia Lost start and ends with him, but that doesn’t mean he is alone as well within 2 hours of gameplay, he soon finds himself aligned with Lunaria, Jade and Safira. Lunaria is a 17 year old girl who is both the child of Ruta and Fai parents, who lived in isolation as her mother, a Ruta Princess wanted a different kind of life for her daughter. Lunaria is a fan of literature and often references things she has read in books like Ninjas.
As for Safira, like Lunaria, she is also of Ruta decent, except she is a full bloodied Ruta and at the age of 18, is a soldier in the Coral Palace Brigade. Unlike most Ruta, she is rather skilled at using magic, but has a horrible habit of getting lost, even in her home town. Although she’s not the most likable character in Antiquia Lost’s team of 4, she is very loyal to Lunaria due to Lunaria being a Princess and Safira being a soldier. Last, but not least there is feline fine Jade. Jade, despite his name would suggest, is a male member of the Eeth tribe and is a fountain of knowledge thanks to a long life spent wandering and selling information to the Eeth Queen.
With each character being so different to one another due to race and personalities, they are a mixed bunch, but in time they become a family and there is nothing they wouldn’t do for one another due to the amount of trust they have in each other and if you hate games that put a huge emphasis on trust, then be prepared to hate Antiquia Lost as trust is a huge aspect of the game. From various conversations that are somewhat repetitive and always about trust to various moments where the game’s Story goes on hold, so you can optionally build trust with your companions, so that you can reap the rewards in battle via Brave Arts but they can only be used in battle when the Brave Arts gauge is full. Also depending on how much trust each character has for you, will affect the Normal and True Ending you will get when playing. Although while trust can go up, it can also go down if you say the wrong thing to your allies or give them the wrong item.
Still, Bine, Jade, Lunaria and Safira aren’t the only characters worth bringing up as there is also the mysterious Alma, a purple haired kid whom our heroes have a hard time trying to discern whether Alma is a he or a she and frequently comes across their path. Alma swiftly becomes dear friends with Bine and it is that friendship/attachment and trust between them that goes on to have a large effect on the game’s overall plot. Then of course there’s Madame Curie and Jolie Curie and although neither of the sister siblings have that big a role in the game, they do have a bigger part in the game’s post-completion content thanks to new Arenas and locations for anyone looking to prove their worth by taking on the trials of the formidable maid association, who are far more deadly than their occupation would have you believe.
Story and characters aside, it is now time to talk about how Antiquia Lost handles. Well, when out venturing the world map, players are presented with a top down view of the surrounding terrain and can walk around freely until a battle is triggered and can only ever advance as far as the game allows them to at any given time, but there are certain objects that can see you access to other locations, provided you have built up enough trust with Bine’s travel companions. As for what goes on when in a dungeon or exploring a town, there is a map in the corner to highlight secret paths that leads to chest and some more top down 2D that provides you with a closer look, that is very similar to the earlier Final Fantasy games and Revenant Saga.
However, while adventuring is a big part of Antiquia Lost, as is battling and unlike Revenant Saga that had 3D turn-based battles, Antiquia Lost prides itself on more fluid 2D battles that see your team of four characters do battle against whatever monsters you are fortunate enough to encounter and just in case you’re not encountering enough as quickly as you would like, there is an option to increase encounters and toggle the game’s difficulty at any time, just in case things prove to be a little difficult. If you wish to control your team, you can command them to use physical attacks and items, or even magical attacks, or leave it all to auto attack, which you’ll need to make sure you activate first.
Victory in a battle will see your team gain Gold for spending, EXP for levelling up, skill points for their attacks and Gems for Lunaria to eat, because unlike the others, she levels up by eating Gems that can be randomly acquired via winning a battle or collected and brought and the directly feed to her via the Feed menu. Gems collected in battle will randomly improve her stats but the Gems that you feed her, will actually tell you what they will improve before confirming, but even if you have one superior fighter, it’s all for nothing if the rest of your squad is not up to standard.
So as well as being able to levelling up your team to an insane level of 999 and Perfect Lunaria, it is just as import to always ensure your team has the right gear, and even if you only have weak swords, it just means it’s time to refine your weapons a little by augmenting them and turning even the measly Short Sword into a Weapon of Mass Destruction, but if that is no good, you can always use the Alchemy Stones and Pandora Tickets you can get from grinding battles to head on over to the Shop in the game’s display menu screen and use them to purchase rare and powerful items of both an arsenal and clothing variety. Just don’t go using all your Alchemy Stones as they can also be used to purchase very special items that can increase the amount of EXP you gain and more.
As for something else you can do in the menu screen that you couldn’t do in Revenant Saga, is farm. During the events of Antiquia Lost, players can collect Beans that can be planted, grow into fruits and then eaten by your chosen characters so that you can boost their stats that way as well, instead of just continuous grinding, of which you won’t really need to do as even playing in Normal mode offers no real difficulty, but it is there none the less if you need it and don’t worry, you can still use it when you beat the game and find yourself playing through the post-game content, but everything you plant will require a certain amount of time to pass before you can harvest the goods and plant something else. But if you’re not in a hurry to rush straight to the end, there are Sub-quests that can be completed and a few secrets to discover, so even if you put 20 hours into Antiquia Lost, as long as you are willing to invest even more time to properly complete it, there is still plenty more to do.
When it comes to games by EXE-CREATE, I wouldn’t say “If you’ve played one, you’ve played them all,” as the games do vary from one another thanks to some minor differences, and bigger ones such as Lunaria’s levelling up gimmick, but if you’ve played one of their games before, then you know exactly what you are getting yourself in for, in terms of gaming experience and what you’re buying, but I just wish Antiquia Lost had a better story, or at least a better twist as the game does start reasonably strong, but it does not finish the same way due to progressively weaken over time and although Antiquia Lost is the better game, my preference is with Revenant Saga simply for its more elaborate and compelling story, so if you’re unsure as to whether or not you should pick up Antiquia Lost, there is always an alternative with Revenant Saga being one of the cheaper options.
THE VERDICT: 7/10
*Review Key Provided by KEMCO
nintendo.com Game Listing: https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/antiquia-lost-switch