My friends and I often talk about “mid” content. What it means, whether it’s valuable in a creative space, whether mid content is more important than straight-up bad content, the discussion goes on and on. I usually walk away from it none the wiser, thinking, “I will never have to be wiser anyway.” And then I signed up to review Lost Epic. So not only do I now have to form a concrete definition/concept of “mid,” but I have to explain it in the context of a video game that is mid. That might seem easy; to have to explain something with the context already laid out, but therein comes the first descriptor of mid we’ll talk about: Mid isn’t worth talking about. Good art is praised, bad art is lambasted, and mid art is forgotten as quickly as it was learned. Mid art seems to exist for the sake of existing. Who am I to dish out maybe the damning critique of art, to say that a thing created is “soulless”? I am the person reviewing it, obviously.
Lost Epic is a game in which you’re going to get exactly what you see, for better or worse. It uses artwork done by Namie, who has worked on Fate/Grand Order, Azur Lane, and Arknights. This game isn’t really pushing their artistic abilities, but it’s a style that definitely has its demand, and the execution of this design won’t leave anyone wishing for more. But as I find my opinions and my relationship with gaming changing more and more, seeing myself gravitate more towards games with an interesting style as opposed to known and satisfying gameplay, this whole aesthetic misses its mark with me. At this point, it is uninspired and bland. But again, that’s exactly what you’re seeing. If you’re a mark for this sort of gameplay art, then more power to you. It’s a niche, and people should revel in their niche. The text is incredibly clear as it repeatedly says “Back attack” every time you slash three times, roll, turn, slash three times, roll, rinse and repeat.
This game is tagged as Souls-like on Steam, and I think there’s a whole other discussion to be had about we’re now on the “this term has no meaning anymore” side of the buzzword lifespan hill, but in the context of this, it’s another uninspired and boring aspect of the game. There is no formula to learn here. No difficulty to the combat that requires engagement with it. It is cookie-cutter slash, roll, slash. Manage stamina so you can get that one last roll in and use the I-frames to not take damage. It’s a combat system you’ve probably seen aped a bunch of times already and one we will almost assuredly see thrown onto another side-scroller game in the future. Lost Epic treads no new ground, offers no new creative outlets or adds any twists to the formula to make the game’s combat worth experiencing. However, just like with the graphics, there is a market for this combination of gameplay and style! If that’s you, you’re going to love this game. The controls are responsive and quick, the I-frames are forgiving, and while the movement is sluggish, it stops the sluggishness just short of the “it’s annoying” line. But again, the absolute lack of any sort of inspiration or innovation is starting to be aggravating for me.
I have found myself, more and more, trying to think of games and other content and rank them as what I’d like to spend my time on. I have a ton of time, but I still have to prioritize. Some games demand to be played, even if they are not my style. No, I’m never playing Celeste because precision platformers are the bane of my existence. But as not-a-Visual-Novel-person, I’m absolutely playing Digimon Survive because Digimon rules, and so do tactics games. Video games are a form of art and entertainment and have the ups and downs that come with that. I think exploring that is fun! I think one of the highs of delving into a whole new format of art and entertainment is excellent; it’s a massive new world. As you find your way through that world and shape it to your liking, with your interests and fascinations shaping the way forward and leading you to new discoveries, it’s a truly exciting experience.
Lost Epic won’t help you there. It will not push any boundaries, it will not help you discover anything new. It is carefully constructed to scratch an ever-so-incredibly specific itch. It attempts to pad out the game with weapon selection, upgrade paths unlocked by taking down certain enemies and finishing out certain quests, but it never felt like it was a change worth writing home about. There was never anything more to keep me going, no reason to push on forward, there was no “One More Turn…” here. That’s fine, too, some games can just exist in the ephemeral, as experiences to be had and not returned to. This game offers none of that either. For every aspect of this game, a better game exists. A more inspired game, a more heartfelt game, a game more demanding and a game more worth your attention and your experience.
For anyone who plays this and does think, “Yeah, I need more,” I’d love to have that conversation with you. For anyone who plays this and says, “I don’t know what that guy was on about, this game checks all my boxes,” then I am genuinely grateful because I really don’t want to take away from this game’s execution. It’s all there and done right. But for the person who played the game, turned it off, and went about their life to never think about this game again because is there anything worth even thinking about? Welcome to the mid.