PAX East 2024 - Lost Eidolons: Veil of The Witch delivers more of the best parts from the original

Back in September 2022, I stumbled on a strategy RPG at PAX West that was such a pleasant surprise that I instantly became a fan—that game was Lost Eidolons from Ocean Drive Studio. Now, almost two years later, and with Lost Eidolons having released (you can check out my review), I knew I had to check out the new spinoff game, Lost Eidolons: Veil of the Witch, while I was in Boston for PAX East. 

Veil of the Witch returns players to the land of Benerio, picking up after the events of the original Lost Eidolons. Veil of the Witch opts for a different structural approach, which, according to the developers, "highlights and focuses on the parts that players seem to have liked the most" from the original title - its tactical combat. Whereas Lost Edilon saw your time split between its tactical combat and running around exploring (akin to something like Dragon Age), Veil of The Witch shifts all of its focus to the combat side of the equation.

Combat will instantly feel familiar to everyone who played Lost Eidolons—a wonderful blend of challenge and rich strategy that requires you to utilize the mechanics efficiently. As far as I could tell (in an hour or so I've played), every system from the original release returns, including the environmental interactions, characters carrying two weapon types, and the weak point + combo mechanic - my personal favorite of Lost Eidolon's offerings.

Horrific beasts and other monstrosities once again feature weapon-specific weak points that can be broken, allowing for ever-increasing damaging combos that turn these fearsome adversaries into toothless pups. Successfully using my party's skills to pull off those combos remains a great little serotonin hit - just as in the original.  

Veil of The Witch has adopted a roguelike system where you will form a party from a pool of characters to embark on a multi-act quest with branching paths to choose from - each with different challenges and rewards - testing you along the way. As you progress down the paths through Veil of the Witch's Acts, you must ensure your party is up to the task ahead of them. To survive to the end and grasp victory, as you tackle various tactical encounters, your characters will gain levels with certain levels rewarding you with a selection of new abilities or benefits to pick from - with various rarities of each.

The random nature of skills procurement, especially when factoring in the rarity levels of each skill, added a pleasant nature of risk versus reward - do I take the lower-ranked skill that fits more in line with the current direction I'm going for or pivot and take the higher rank skill that doesn't fit as well?  This also says nothing of the added replayability and options that this luck-of-the-draw approach offers, as any good roguelike should have.

Depending on how well you do in a given run, you will be rewarded with points that you can spend in the Veil's city, which grants permanent improvements to improve your chances of success in future runs - standard roguelike faire. Opposed to being able to run around the city, Veil of the Witch freely presents its various locations (such as the city) as an overhead view of the entire location with points of interest you can select from, taking advantage of the service the spot provides.

I did find myself missing the more boots-on-the-ground view, but with the shift to the new genre, I understand why Ocean Drive Studio changed things - to get you back in another run as quickly as possible - and in that regard, it succeeds.

Lost Eidolons: Veil of The Witch already looks to offer a solid tactical roguelike experience, building on the series' existing pedigree. There are some areas that I would like to see adjusted or tweaked - levels can feel like they take a bit too long to complete at times, and the graphics feel a bit rough around the edges in parts - but as the game still has a lot of development time ahead of it, so I'm far from worried.

PC players will get a chance to check it out this fall when Lost Ediolons: Veil of The Witch enters Early Access, and everyone else - console players (including Switch owners this time) will get to play next year alongside the game's full release.