Lost Odyssey Review
Let’s face it; a role-playing game with Hironobu Sakaguchi a, the man behind the more recent Final Fantasy titles, at the helm is going to receive a lot of comparisons to the acclaimed series. But to a certain extent it’s warranted. For all intense and purpose Lost Odyssey is Final Fantasy under a different name, it bears hallmarks that made the series such a success and Sakaguchi’s influence can be seen from the outset. But will Lost Odyssey stand out in it’s own right or will it pale in comparison to the ‘behemoth’ of RPG’s.
The first place most fans will look within an RPG, is the storyline as a well thought out in depth story will see a title compete with the best, anything less than that and it will fall short. Lost Odyssey certainly doesn’t fall short; the storyline is as, if not more in depth than even the largest Final Fantasy title’s but that should be expected when it has been penned by award-winning Japanese novelist, Kiyoshi Shigematsu and directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi.
Lost Odyssey is set in a world where magic is the primary source of energy, however this has lead to war between the three main nations, Numara, Gohtza and Uhra. Central to the plot is Kaim Argonar, who with Seth, Ming, Sarah and Gongora, are five immortals that have travelled from another dimension a millennium ago. However in the interested of conflict Gongora has removed the memories of the other four and proceed to abuse his new found position as president of Uhra and take over the world with the magic energy. Got that. Good. It’s in this premise that Lost Odyssey gains its depth, as the game develops so the characters back-stories, these are presented as ‘A Thousand Year of Dreams’ short text based stories that are trigged upon visiting certain points, or after certain events. These stories can be skipped, so as little or as much detail can be taken from proceedings as desired.
Detailed back-stories are useless without characters to back them up, so with the four immortal characters and five mortal characters that join Lost Odyssey the cast is far from lacking. Even the somewhat annoying Jansen can be warmed to towards the end. It’s Gongora though that lets down events, as the main antagonist he doesn’t warrant the usual satisfaction that should be gained from defeating him. He doesn’t fit the part; his animation is poor and dialogue stunted when compared to the other characters, and to top it off he has an annoying face.
Lost Odyssey takes a similar approach to most RPG’s, magic, weapons and equip-able items are all present in one form or another, however it seems that Lost Odyssey’s developers have simplified these aspects. Equipping a ridiculous amount of various accessories in order to increase certain skills, has been thrown out the window; instead each character is able to equip a single weapon, an item (which in the case of the mortal characters allows them to use the skill, which the item in their possession has) and rings (which are mentioned below). This is a welcome change; most RPG’s get to bogged down in the preparations for battle rather than concentrate on the actual battle itself.
The usual turn based system is still there, however the addition of rings have thrown an extra element into the equation. Rings produce an aiming system of sorts when performing a melee attack, using the right trigger button and some expert timing will produce a bad, good or perfect result, the better the result the higher the damage. Scattered around Lost Odyssey’s world are a plethora of unusual objects and items, these items can be used to assemble different rings; each has different effects on a characters melee attack, ranging from increased damage on certain enemies to status or element effects. As well as the ring system a more rational turn based system has been implemented into battles, certain moves take precedence over others. For example, melee attacks will be faster than magic and weaker magic attacks will be faster than more powerful ones.
Lost Odyssey’s developers haven’t drastically redefined the turn based battle mode but who would expect them to, don’t fix what isn’t broken. Instead extra additions add a twist that stops the turn based fighting system, a far from exhilarating but essential aspect, from becoming stale; so in that respect, kudos to them. But with an incredible, in depth plot and over 40 hours of gameplay without seeking out all the extras, it makes for a fantastic deep RPG. However it doesn’t quite manage to capture that epic feeling that is often associated with it’s Final Fantasy cousins, the action isn’t quite as intense and the music isn’t quite as impressive, but it’ll keep the fans amused until Final Fantasy XIII is released.