Lost Eidolons: Veil of the Witch PAX West Impression
With a focus on snappy yet strategic battling and a variety of abilities to choose from, Lost Eidolons: Veil of the Witch is an appreciably challenging roguelite turn-based tactical RPG to keep an eye on.
There are times during the development of a title that an idea for a continuation or spin-off is already in mind before the first is completed. That is what happened with Ocean Drive Studio’s Lost Eidolons: Veil of the Witch, wherein the methodical turn-based tactical RPG gameplay of the original Lost Eidolons has been sped up to take advantage of a more roguelite nature. Thought of as a companion and sequel to its parent title — though its story is billed as fully standalone — there’s a lot to see in the game’s world. RPGamer takes a look at how this follow-up changes things at PAX West.
Lost Eidolons: Veil of the Witch takes place five years after the events of Lost Eidolons, with five of the nine playable characters returning from that first game. Overall, this is not going to be as story driven as that the original title, deciding to rely on choices made in the moment that often reflect in the gameplay quickly. There will still be Easter eggs and piece-by-piece connections for each of the characters to the universe as a whole, rather than an overarching story arc to follow. This is reflected in the gameplay, which looks to take advantage of its new roguelite elements.
Choices are important on a strategic level. For example, players can reach an area with a hellhound in a cage, leaving them with a few options. If players release it immediately they will be attacked, while if they come back later and provoke it, it will have had time to gain levels and be just as hostile. However, moving forward and returning with a specific item means they can convince it to join the party. These choices and options aren’t just restricted to out of combat moments. In another situation, while being attacked by the undead, reinforcements will arrive for the enemy. Players can then choose whether to try run away through two different spots, or try to take out all the enemies. This updates the win conditions for the map and can alter the difficulty of the situation quite a bit.
Difficulty is definitely ramped up in Lost Eidolons: Veil of the Witch. Careless positioning and not making the most of area-of-effect abilities will cause the player plenty of pain. Making smart use of of defensive options is needed as every hit will do damage, with abilities or blocking meaning ensuring that characters will take less. Abilities are tied to a cooldown so timing is also important to not waste them too early. To combat this rise in difficulty, Veil of the Witch provides a rewind feature that can be used to go back and re-do choices, but it doesn’t go too far, leaving wits and strategy the best way to try and move forward.
Character builds changed as well, with each character tied to two weapons and a variety of abilities for each. Abilities can be gained through relationships with other party members, making forming bonds between characters important. Swapping between weapons is free to do on the player’s turn and some of their abilities will work with either option. Magic is more prevalent in Lost Eidolons: Veil of the Witch than it was in the original, giving it slightly more of a high fantasy nature compared to the first game’s definite lower fantasy feel. With this in mind, spells that previously affected the landscape will do so even more here, including creating poisonous areas and explosive actions that can be use in synergy with other elemental effects.
There will still be a base camp that can be permanently upgraded to give bonuses to further runs. With the choice in weapons secured, levelling up and building bonds to gain additional abilities is the main benefit for going through another run. To accommodate a faster pace in play, the combat has been given a change as well, with things loading quicker, and battles often being smaller, than the longer multi-phase elements of its predecessor. There are some new weapons for characters to use, with two-handed gear and multiple types of bows being among the highlights.
With a focus on snappy yet strategic battling and a variety of abilities to choose from, Lost Eidolons: Veil of the Witch is an appreciably challenging roguelite turn-based tactical RPG to keep an eye on. Ocean Drive Studio is aiming for a Steam Early Access release in the first half of 2024, with full releases on PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and Nintendo Switch to follow.