Nestled away in the busy excitement of a Nintendo Direct last January, Bandai Namco first announced Project Treasure; a 4 player co-op title set to release exclusively for Wii U. With famed Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada and a team of young developers on board, their admirable goal was to create a game that anybody could download and play online for free.
One totally edgy name change later, Lost Reavers arrived as a free-to-start title on the eShop in April after whetting our appetites with a brief beta test just weeks earlier. As limited as that beta was, it still showed promise in its concept and garnered notable attention from an audience hungry for a new shooter on Nintendo's console. After delving deeper in eager search of further treasures however, it seems that this may not be such a hidden gem after all.
In Lost Reavers, up to four players work together to retrieve mysterious 'relics' - the only power sources left that can possibly save civilisation from the brink of disaster - and bring them back to the safe zone in one piece. Semi-randomised dungeon environments must be navigated in order to do so, and these are filled with enemies and puzzles to overcome before you can reach the relic chamber and work your way back out with the prize in hand. These multi-roomed environments call for a bit of teamwork and a lot of grinding combat, with enemy mobs constantly sent out in waves like annoyingly persistent mosquitoes. Mostly it's just zombies you'll be slaying, for reasons we wish we could explain.
The game starts off with a ten minute tutorial that runs through all the gameplay mechanics and controls before you start, which is a helpful addition that gets bafflingly repeated each time you first select a new character. It's the exact same tutorial every time with no deviation, but we couldn't find any way to avoid playing it a total of four times in order to try all the characters out - a portent of some grim design choices to come.
That being said, each of the four playable heroes feel relatively distinct from one another due to their unique weapon sets, but still keep a pretty consistent focus on general gun-play with some melee options thrown in for good measure.The walking schoolgirl cliché Sayuri wields a rapidfire SMG and katana for example, allowing her to swat at enemies up close while also picking them out from a distance. Alternatively, macho man Dwayne has a whole arsenal of firearms to choose from, leaving his combat knife feeling more like a last reserve. It's possible for multiples of the same character to play on one team as well, so no one needs to argue over their favourites here.
The controls themselves are clunky, with sluggish movement and a picky camera being particular nuisances, but it's workable enough and there are a few options to tweak if needs be. A very generous aim assist has been added to help effortlessly lock on to enemies, even if it feels more like a crutch used to awkwardly sidestep how frustrating it can be to shoot properly without it. It's worth mentioning that Dwayne's first-person mode actually controls even worse than the usual third person viewpoint, so pulling off accurate headshots feels more like sheer luck than skill. Generally, we found ourselves shifting more and more towards melee combat, and spotted quite a few other players online doing the same.
As you level up in the hub area between missions, character skill trees are straightforward and too barebones for any real customisation, so you won't be able to specialise or adapt your playstyle in any real way. The game's free-to-start nature creeps through with the presence of crates, which hold random gear that can only be accessed if you find enough "analysis chips". Each one adds to a progressive meter that gradually unlocks the crate, revealing what's inside, but if you're willing to spend some real world cash then you can open crates immediately. This is about as intrusive as the paywall gets, so it's very possible to get the full experience without spending any money at all.
Eventually you'll get used to the clunky controls and might get a cheap kick out of the decent combat, and all of this begins to sound pretty decent on paper. A typical play session has you find an open party or create one yourself, retrieve a relic, collect the loot, rinse and repeat. Unfortunately, everything is wrapped up in such a messy, shallow package that this grim repetition sets in quickly, and it sets in deep.
There's only one game mode of course, the aforementioned relic hunt, but this isn't really the issue. It's the elements surrounding it which drag everything down - whether it's the mindless puzzles, bland graphics or the whopping two environments that you'll explore. Everything takes place in either an egyptian crypt or an abandoned research station, where you'll hold 'A' at a computer screen to hack a terminal, hold 'A' at a statue to move it out of the way, or hold 'A' to pick a lock. This is the full extent of the puzzle-solving you'll be required to undertake, and while alternative versions of these levels can be unlocked as you earn experience, it's still the same basic location you've seen a hundred times already.
Somehow, Lost Reavers manages to straddle the line between being totally bonkers and incredibly mundane at the same time. It's almost impressive how this ongoing contradiction permeates the entire experience; as you blast rockets at a crowd of mummies and somehow find yourself yawning instead of grinning. For all its nonsense and cheesy quirks, there isn't enough diversity to keep the game from feeling fresh after only an hour or so.
The story and setting won't catch your attention either, as it never reconciles with the seemingly random environments and enemies that are thrown in without any explanation or attempt to form a cohesive whole. Admittedly an opening text crawl does speed by at the beginning, with just enough time to set up humanity's typical plight and our four 'Lost Reavers' as the heroes du jour, but it's too over-reliant on outdated character designs and stock enemies to stand out. This isn't helped by muddy visuals that wouldn't look too out of place alongside some GameCube titles.
In regards to the online experience as a whole, our impressions are mixed to say the least. Using a wireless connection, we were able to jump in and find games easily enough, but our experience was frequently marred by shaky lag, slow animations and games cut short by sudden disconnections. Other players seemed to drop in and out at random as well, some even hovering motionless along the ground as they glitched out. At times it felt as though our attacks weren't connecting, or that enemies warped around the room at random, and for a fast-paced action title like this, the satisfaction of a clean hit and being able to help teammates in a pinch is absolutely paramount. A wired connection may have helped make things better, but we've never had these kinds of issues with such regularity using Wi-Fi with other online titles such as Splatoon.
We're also left with concerns regarding teammates that go AWOL, as there's currently no way to hurry people along other than to make use of the pre-set chat options. More than once we were left waiting on a player as they stood by a door, or ran in circles instead of joining everyone in the meeting area. It's actually impossible to continue without them, so you're left to cross your fingers and hope they see sense before you die of old-age. In the absence of voice chat, at least no one will have to hear your exasperated groans. Online titles like this live and die by their player-base, so it remains to be seen if finding an open group will be as easy later in the year.
Lost Reavers is bitterly frustrating. Not awful, not unplayable, but frustrating. There's a great idea in here somewhere - at times it even manages to shine through - but there's far too much awkward padding and grinding repetition without the depth of gameplay that keeps players coming back for more. The best thing about it may well be that it's free to download right now on the eShop, so there's every reason to give it a try and maybe even get a few friends together into a group. It's worth a shot, but we can't be the only ones who see the potential here yet mourn the lifeless end result.
This is free right?
@MrNinten Yes it's free unless you want to buy "analysis chips" to unlock better weapons faster
Tried and just felt missing something was good idea just missing that oomph
That score was slightly lower than I expected, but the review seems very fair.
I played the beta a couple of times and thought it was absolutely awful.I haven't even bothered downloading the full game.
Played the beta. Thought it was okay, but I have better games to waste my time with. Like DEVIL'S THIRD.
The most forgettable part of that Nintendo Direct was this game. Free or not, ...crap is still crap.
Well, that's what happens when you set aside only 40 bucks for the budget. If they had half the budget of even low budget MMORPGs like Onigiri, they'd probably have made a decent game.
And I really like this game. to be honest, I spent more time with it than starfox0.
Well, I got my money's worth out of this game. I paid nothing, and in return I got...nothing.
I thought Nintendo life was done with giving review scores?????? This review seems like a contradiction to those words spoken in a previous article about giving review scores :/
Splatoon was the most fun I've had with a shooter sing Red Faction. This was the least fun, even worse than Halo Master Glitch Collection and Halo 4: the boring soapie mess.
Thre review conforms with my own experience from the Beta, it's repetitive and lacks depth.
@Tetroy64: They never claimed such a thing.
@mjharper: Haha, you make a good point!
And to think that game was featured on the March Nintendo Direct, and I built quite some hype for, it's frustrating. Don't have much hope for the other two major titles this year, Paper Mario and Metroid. Just hope they go above 5/10 in an overall consensus.
YEEAH! HA! HA! HA! HA!
^Anybody who's played the game online will get THESE, but all and all, the game can be fun to play with other friends, but it feels too much LIEK the beta, which, they could've at least let something transfer over to the full game, but oh swell.
@WhiteTrashGuy Now you're just being mean D:
@Tetroy64 I think that article was a counter article to another article posted before it.
They went community consensus not too long ago, if I remember correctly.
Felt like an iOS type game only with worse graphics. Not very fun.
They never said they were done giving review scores.
They simply published a talking point about the need for scores, and then to offer fair and balanced journalism they published a separate talking point about the need to NOT have scores.
There was a disclaimer right at the top of the article that stated "this in no way will impact our current policy of scoring games"
I got tired of it in the beta.....
That's a shame, this looked like it would have potential.
Is kinda repetitive and if you have 1 person who doesn't cooperate then you get stuck and annoyed.
Still for free it's ok and probably worth a few minutes of blasting zombies here and there
Please, don't waste your time
5/10 is not a fair review, this game is plain awful
Play the free Mario Amiibo thing instead, clever puzzles and a fun addition to wii u's library
One of the worst games I've played in a while.
About what I expected.
I was really stoked for this game. After playing Zombies Monster Robots on Steam ALOT, this was a bit of a let down. Similar concept but more robust.
Would had being worth it if this game is actually fun and had loaded contents. All we get is a mediocre action game with less contents of what other free-2-play games. Bandai Namco might as well just leave this on mobile.
Thank goodness it's free so not everyone will be put off by reviews like this. The only major negative I found is that you can't actually have a solo room, you can only list it as an objective which leads to random scumbags joining a solo game.
as i expect, while i like the game it just feels to off for me continued playing, but i can't disagree with this review, though i like this game, abit average as i would say too.
I played the beta for 30-40 minutes, and I have probably not played a worse game in 8-10 years.
Boring objectives, little sense of satisfaction when progressing, and the poorest controls I have encountered in a decade.
what an unfortunate run of exclusives for wii u lately...
Fair. I've been playing this. It's amusing in the sense to see how people are acting in the game, especially with limited communication. I'll probably keep playing it here and there for some lols but I hope they have an update planned with a lot more stuff to do or this will be forgotten pretty soon here. The online is pretty busy at times but other times it's almost dead.
This game is a complete joke, and it's absolute dross it was given 5 out of 10.
Devils Third got like a 3, and it was way better than this game.
@BornInNorway81 absolutely agreed, the game was diabolical, a complete sham.
I like this game more than Splatoon's on-line multiplayer( it got boring after a while so I sold it,I enjoyed more the single-player story mode).
This game has had so much bad press that I'm not surprised by the review score. I won't even play the free version now, time is money.
Played the beta for a half an hour, and then deleted it. I am not surprised in the least about this review. Just some of the basic crap that gets dumped into the eshop, covering the gems.
Very fair review. Also, I wish this game implemented a feature to turn off the GamePad screen while playing. Otherwise, it's rather decent, especially for an F2P.
Bah. I expected as much. I wasn't very impressed at all with the beta. Something about the game just didn't click with me. I didn't like the character choices very much either, and if you add that the game had some pretty bad internet problems mixed in, then I would definitely give this a pass. It's free though, so I guess anybody can make form their own opinion about the game.
A 5 for this piece of Nibelsnarf? There's something very wrong with the way Nintendolife scores their reviews.
no swearing please...-Megumi
I was surprised how much I liked the Beta. I had absolutely zero expectations. Or to tell the truth, I expected it to be horrible. However, the more I played the more I ended up liking it. When I had gotten up to level 15 the game started throwing in some bosses and minibosses (and also different and harded variations of the levels). The game suddenly turned into something very intense and exciting.
It's clearly a rough game, and it feels like it's constantly about to crash. But apart from the technical issues I found it surprisingly entertaining.
I haven't played this since the beta though, as I heard I would have to do the tutorial and level up all over again from scratch. If I could start from level 15 or 17 or wherever I got in the beta, I would try the full version.
I suggest anyone trying it to play until level 15 to play the big stages, then it's fun. After playing them a couple of times, it's over, the rest is crap redundancy.
I was turned off completely when I found that my beta data didn't carry over to the full game.
Ok...imagine this: Valve teams up with Namco and they'll make a few adjustments. We will then have Team Fortress 3ish right?
@OorWullie there's a reason your comment already has 5 likes. This game is downright terrible.
Probably the worst execution of UE3 I've ever seen. As a comparison, I encourage everyone to go check out Splinter Cell Blacklist. Same exact game engine and 3 years older. You won't believe your eyes and it's only like $12 these days.
@Airola @VR32F1END I don't know why many people would bother with the open beta, anyway. I just had to wait an extra two weeks to download the final version (with presumedly fewer bugs and perhaps slightly improved gameplay) for free without having to worry about restarting my progress.
A 5? That's ludicrously high for this game. Devil's Third is SO, SO, SO MUCH better than this game. Devil's Third has a FANTASTIC multiplayer, not even comparable to this game!
This game is so endlessly boring..made me puke tbh. And it gets even worse as soon as you pick up the relic.
It's telling that this is the quality of the games Nintendo hypes up given the Wii U eshop is laughably behind the others in terms of can't-miss exclusive indies. (In addition to getting good indie games years after they've been played to death). Really just another example of how much more in tune with the market Nintendo needs to be so they can get the high-quality indie stuff.
I did my best to enjoy it during the beta, but by the time my character was level 15 my interest was beyond spent. I wanted to at least kill a boss. I spent one all nighter and gave it a rest. When the full thing came out, nothing carried over. So I completely lost interest.
@VR32F1END Like I said, there was little point in even getting the beta if your progress won't be carried over. You may not have known that in advance, but you should've highly suspected the possibility. If you had just done the smart thing and waited for the full version to drop before playing it like I did, you probably wouldn't have lost interest so quickly.
@Tetroy64 In that article they stated that they would continue giving review scores as per the vote of its readers. They published two soapbox articles - one for, one against.
Unfortunately I knew as soon as I played the beta that this game wasn't going to be very well received, it just reeked of a lack of polish and the fact that it only has two different environments doesn't help its case at all. Maybe with some updates it can become something decent.
This was a case of a budget game being crippled by the online setup. Too often while playing certain actions just stop responding (can fast melee, but cannot heavy melee or can't attack but can pick up stuff), and the online community is just bad. Too often I get a group that doesn't want to start a game or worse gets into the game and just wants to run around in circles.
All of that is a same, because I've enjoyed the mindlessness of it much like I did with Tank! Tank! Tank!.
In my playtime with this game, I honestly got bored after the first couple of hours. Perhaps if I hang with it long enough to get to the harder difficulty, maybe there will be enough enemies, with longer lives, and starker ammo supplies, that I could justify the fun, but it just wasn't there for me. Even when I wanted to choose to fight a boss, I can request that room, but I've never been in a boss fight yet. It just felt like a waste of time but, again, it's freeware, so it's hard to get upset. My recommendation is if you've played everything online you can for Wii U and have NOTHING else to play, go ahead. But SSB4, MK8, and Splatoon are much greater reasons to spend time online with your Wii U.
@JpGamerGuy90 Not really, Nintendo got Shovel Knight years before everyone else. Same thing with Shantae, Mutant Mudds, FAST Neo, and Mighty Switch Force. A lot of indie dev starts with PC and mobile first as those are open platforms then when their game sells they could use those budget earn to port a console release later on, it's just a bit expensive to port their games to platform that tend to had restrictions which is why consoles like PS4 and Xbox One got those before Wii U.
This game was utter pants
"but we can't be the only ones who see the potential here yet mourn the lifeless end result."
Wow, so this is what you feel is an "average" game then? Might want to get some higher standards. Review reads like this game is a hot load of garbage. Good ideas and simply bad execution all around coupled with trouble just staying connected to play seems more fitting of a "bad" game to me.
Couldn't even get past the tutorial level. This game sucks in the worst aspect of the word. Everything looks and feels so lazy and clunky you quickly understand why it's free. I'd feel bad for people who invested any money in this if was a paid title.
After playing the 2 areas I wondered: Is there more? But no, that's it!
Rubbish! Of course that was to be expected from a free to play title...
You have get level 25 to unlock three star missions and there is also 4 star ones, which are really quite more challenging and fun. Lotta people seem to dislike it, but I still have blast playing it specially when got 4 good people together.
@VR32F1END Most games that are online based do not carry over error levels and equipment from beta versions. Knowing that going in it didn't bother me that much specially since they had extra experience gain for two weeks after launch
I agree that there are klunky control issues and repititon, but thats nothing some DLC & patches can't remedy.
When you're in a good group, there's actually some fun to be had. I'm currently at level 34 (Sayuri), and I've had more enjoyment as the environments have gotten harder/more complex.
They DEF need more than 2 settings (although they have different versions and randomization within those settings) and I know the Japanese Demon Castle is out in Japan, so hopefully we get that location too.
I could see becoming bored after I've achieved ☆☆☆☆ Underground/Basements, beaten all huge bosses, and just come back for new content.
I like the relic/collectibles system and the unlocking of outfits...etc.
Hell, it's free, so I didn't have major expectations. We'll see what happens after they add stuff. Check out the "Lost Reavers" Miiverse Community. It's pretty active!
Ps. If you see Seedsta running around on the game, that's me! 😁👍
Add voice chat and most issues are solveD!
@Musashi wow nobody curse on nintendo life
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