What a journey for Yang Bing, the sole creator of the graphically stunning video game Lost Soul Aside. Revealed in July 2016, this game was presented as being in development for two years and inspired by the stylish presentation of Final Fantasy XV. Since the reveal, Bing has been relatively quiet about his game and what’s been happening with the game’s development.
At this point we know that Sony Interactive Entertainment Shanghai has approached Bing to get him into their newest software initiative, China Hero Project. This is a push for the company to assist indie game developers with resources, development engines, and money to fund their project. Since joining, Yang Bing’s once single man team has grown to about nine and they go by the name of UltiZero Games.
During PlayStation Experience 2017, I had the opportunity to go hands on with an early build of Lost Soul Aside and I discovered that no amount of preparation could prepare me for just how impressive this game is shaping up to be.
In the beginning of the demo I was shown several tutorial slides. The button scheme is reminiscent of many action games, with a combination of the triangle and square inputs to perform different combos. Also there’s a charge attack and dodge that are both rather useful. What is more unique about the fighting system is the ability to freely change weapon type during fights, a feature that Final Fantasy XV players will understand well. With that said, the more impressive presentation about this feature is the speed in which the main protagonist, Kazer, switches weapons and gets back into the battle.
Speed is where Lost Soul Aside shines as this game’s action doesn’t slow down for a second. The enemies in the demo were tough and they appeared in groups to test the limits of my abilities. The choreography of Kazer’s movements in battle could best be described as action scenes from the Devil May Cry series. Every action made was followed by an incredible display of acrobatic action that was hypnotising to watch.
Attacks and dodges are kept to a minimum thanks to Kazer’s stamina meter, but it is possible to chain together combos by switching weapons and timing the attacks. I don’t know if I made it clear that this demo was incredibly difficult, given only 20 health potions was a test of endurance and skill, and yes I said only because I wish I had 20 more.
In the demo we saw two enemy types and a boss battle. The boss has a relatively easy pattern to follow, but this is just UltiZero Games allowing you to get comfortable before pulling out all the stops. After you take down the boss the demo is not over and the beast transforms into a much tougher opponent. Giving myself three retries on this boss I found myself knocking down his health a little lower each time. However, I was not able to defeat him. Thankfully, I wasn’t judged by the small audience who gathered behind me because none of them could do it either.
The action in Lost Soul Aside is fast and glamorous, but most of all its control is beyond what’d you expect from a team this size. Every input responds instantaneously, which lets you know that if you get hit it was because you didn’t dodge at the right time. Paired with the demo’s high difficulty dodging attacks that had previously killed you provides a rewarding feeling of accomplishment. However, I noticed other gamers who died on the first batch of enemies and left feeling discouraged.
There’s much to be seen the development of Lost Soul Aside continues, such as, story, character development, world building, and most likely tweaking of the battle system. These yet to be seen elements are just as important as the battle system because they are what make “Good” action games stand out as “Great” action experiences.
What I discovered about Lost Soul Aside while playing is that it requires players to master the skills of the battle system if they want to truly enjoy it. This might turn away that casual gamer, but with games like NieR: Automata reaching such a large audience, even though it was considered a niche series, I feel like Lost Soul Aside will fit in perfectly with the climate of games currently releasing. I can’t wait to continue to follow the development of Lost Soul Aside and will eager jump back in at any opportunity.