Are you an extremely forgiving PSP gamer who's desperately in need of a dungeon-crawling fix? Like, really, really desperate? If so, you're one of the few who might find something to like about Warriors of the Lost Empire, the US port of an obscure Japanese Action RPG.
Lost Empire drops you right into the middle of a plot that's utterly generic and barely comprehensible at the same time, thanks to pages and pages of text that read like they were translated by a lolcat. It has something to do with a missing king and an evil priest, but all that really matters is that there are dozens of dungeons full of beasties that need killing.
Once you actually make it to the first dungeon and get to hacking and slashing, it's a pretty enjoyable experience, especially if you're taking a friend along in the two-player co-op mode. But the novelty wears off quickly as you fight similar enemies over and over in catacombs that are indistinguishable from each other.
Much of Lost Empire is stuff we've seen before. Killing a bunch of enemies levels up your character and boosts your ability scores. Items taken from slain foes can be equipped or combined with your current gear to improve it. But a confusing inventory system and other failed innovations - like an item shop that uses barter instead of currency - make even the most familiar elements of character building more frustrating than they need to be.
Overall, it feels more like an aspiring game designer's hobby instead of a professionally developed product, but that's not all bad. The AI-controlled enemies are dirt stupid, but walking them into traps or luring them into shooting each other never gets old. And while the camera is completely manually controlled, it beats constantly fighting with one that automatically swings around to unusable angles. Also, as unpolished as Lost Empire is, it's also one of the few action-RPGs on the PSP. If you've got a soft spot for the genre, you might be able to overlook its faults and have some fun, but everyone else should probably give this one a pass.
Jan 22, 2008