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Lost Odyssey (Xbox 360)

80
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4.0
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Written by  :  MasterMegid (897)
Written on  :  Jun 25, 2008
Rating  :  3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars

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Summary

Can You Help Me? I Seem To Have Misplaced My Odyssey.

The Good

I have a love\hate relationship with Japanese RPGS. As there are many times were the latest string of games hold little to no interest for me. During these times I usually just retreat to RPGS of days gone by that I have enjoyed. A list that may include any of the Phantasy Star, Shining Force, or Dragon Quest games. Among others.

However the current state of JRPGS does hold great interest for me. With Square- Enix, finally releasing the Dragon Quest remakes.(No more having to rely on ROMS…yeah!-MM-) As well as all the announced JRPGS for the Xbox 360. One of the keys to my renewed interest comes from JRPG newcomer, Mistwalker. Although, “newcomer” may be a misnomer. Seeing as the studio was founded by Final Fantasy creator, Hironobu Sakaguchi. Composer, Nobuo Umeatsu, has also joined up. Their goal, according to them anyhow, is to create unique JRPGS, for the 360 and DS. Sounds good on paper but can they actually pull it off?

Who wants to live forever?

Lost Odyssey tells the tale of Kaim Argonar, you see Kaim is immortal. And not unlike The Highlander, he has been wandering around the world for the last 1,000 years. He has forgotten much of his life, when he can remember he dislikes what is recalled, as his past is far from pleasant. However like many RPG protagonists, his past is about to catch up with him.

The game begins quite grandly with Kaim, embroiled in battle. Two nations wage war. All of the sudden, a cataclysm erupts. All the combatants are killed, except that is, for Kaim. From here he is assigned a simple quest, with fellow immortal Seth, she too cannot recall much of her past, and they are joined by Jansen, a mortal magic user and a bit of a rouge. (Who sounds kind of like Bruce Campbell.-MM-)

Furthermore, the world has gone through a magic industrial revolution. And now magic and magic using machines help ease the lives of people every where.

When the power hungry Gongora, strives to rule the world things get more complicated. Along the way Kaim will meet many others. Some immortal, some not. His memories will return, after which point there is no turning back.

There are nine party members in Lost Odyssey, and you can form a party of five. Overall the characters are interesting, and certainly varied. Some more so than others. I particularly liked the grizzled pirate Sed. What with his boss rifles, and Captain Nemo esque ship. And Jansen provides an excellent foil for the oft dower Kaim. And his antics are often amusing.

Each party member also has there own side-quests, which was nice. Some of the situations can seem trite. And I often had a hard time caring about this thing and that. However where the game succeeds on emotional story telling is in the form of the 1,000 Years of Memories.

During the course of the game, certain situations unlock memories. These take the form of text based short stories. And evolve Kaim’s past. These little vignettes can actually be quite moving. And I am not a man who is easily moved.

I’ve got mad skills….

The Gameplay is Lost Odyssey, is traditional. That means random battles and turn based combat system. However I found that combat could be quite rewarding. This is thanks to the skill system of the game.

Mortals learn skills by level. Immortals however have to learn them either by skill linking with a mortal, this means that a mortal has to be in your active party, they cannot be on reserve. You set the skill you wish to learn and then, when you win battles, you gain EXP, cash, and more importantly AP, or ability points. Gain enough and your immortal gains the skill. These skills are then equipped in skill slots. Which can be increased up to a maximum of 30 by using “slot seeds”. Or by learning Skill Slot + skills. Immortals can also learn skill by equipping and learning from accessories. These tend to be passive skills like fire resistance, magic absorb, and the like. Where as skills from mortals include black and white magic, as well as spirit and composite magic.

This make combat feel rewarding as you continue to master skills, and try out your new ones. Furthermore there are achievements more mastering each party members skills.

Vae Victus!

In LO, you equip weapons, accessories, and rings. Rings really only come into play with fighters. A ring gives extra power to your weapons. Like fire power, or increased chance of getting a critical hit. During combat a ring appears around any enemy, hitting the trigger at the right time enables a perfect, good, or poor attack. Being able to do perfects can be quite handy. Especially during boss fights.

Furthermore, turn order also comes into play. Many JRPGS have been doing this lately ever since Grandia.

More interesting is the way magic is utilized. There is black magic and white magic. In addition there is spirit magic. Which focuses of non-elemental, and booster magic. Lastly there is composite magic. Which is really cool. It combines different spells to create one more powerful version. Like All-flare. All-resurrect. And All-Generatus, which fully heals the party, and regenerates every turn.

Also in battle some spells take longer to cast that others. This function kind of reminded me of Western RPGS such as Return to Krondor. Casting time can be reduced with spells. Or increased by being attacked. You can also learn skills to reduce casting time.

Party formation also plays a more obvious role is LO. In the form of the GC gauge. The gauge adds up all the HP of the front row fighters. The higher the GC the more protected your back row becomes. Causing less damage if and when attacked. Enemies also have GC. Making it impossible to take out the back row until the front is neutralized. There are also special attacks and magic that can raise and lower it. In the end it helps make battles more strategic. More so when combined with the spell casting time.

There is much to do in this game. From side boss fights, to treasure hunting, and collecting all the 1,000 years of memories, to name a few. And it took this gamer 90+ hours to do it all. Of course that is because I am a completenist. This however kills any replay value, for me anyhow.

Sound + Vision

The graphics in Lost Odyssey are amazing. No surprise seeing as the game uses the Unreal Engine, the same engine that powered both Gears Of War, and Bioshock. To name just a few. And if you have the means you have to play this game in HD. It looks stunning in 1080p. Everything looks crisp and the detail on the main characters is astounding.

The towns and dungeons look great as well. And the world is quite rich in detail.

The voice acting is top-notch. With many skilled voice actors lending there talent, to make the characters come alive. The only down side is that the game is not in full voice acting, only during cut scenes. And in battle do they speak, the rest is in text.

The sound effects are good not great, like in most RPGS. Nothing to write home about, as it were.

The music is either hit of miss. The world map music is beautifully composed at first. But then turns from Chinese violins, to this bizarre rock guitar rift. It makes me wonder what Mr. Umeatsu was thinking. And wonder at his credibility. Also there are two tracks with lyrics. Interestingly enough they are sung by 80’s pop star and Planescape: Torment voice actor, Sheena Easton.

The Bad

Why is 2008 am I fighting in random battles? A game convention devised in 1988? It makes little sense.

And how could they not fit full voice acting of 4 DVD ROMS? When Shenmue did it in 2001, and Ultima IX did do in 1999.

While overall I liked the game, some situations in it were just idiotic. And had me scoffing.

The seems a bit sexist at times as well. I do realize that what is considered sexist in Japan varies to that of other places in the world. But when all the female characters have huge tits, that often look as if they are about to flop out of there tops, it just seems wrong. Sexy perhaps to most males. It gets more absurd when one of the women has to expose her double D size breasts, to prove she is who she claims to be.

There is also one side quest area that seemed, to be designed by a moron. It is supposed to be an ancient ruin, yet how the inhabitants got around it mind boggling. Who would build such a monstrosity?

The ending was somewhat disappointing and left a few things unresolved. And quite frankly felt like a cop out.

The world of Lost Odyssey, often seems rich with detail. Yet in one huge mistake seems dubious. You see they neglected to give a name to the world in which the game is set. SO they always have to say the world this and the world that. It is highly dubious. When most of the game is broken down in to towns and regions, all of which have names and histories.

And some of the regions mentioned in the 1,000 Years of Memories, are never seen in the game, which fails to add up.

The game also reuses many things from Blue Dragon. Like spell names. And the every so annoying foe the Kelelon. These silly looking foes are some of the most annoying monsters in any RPG.

And the recycling of names seems more that a bit lazy to this reviewer.

The Bottom Line

Mistwalker has hinted at making Lost Odyssey a franchise. Which is good as it has much potential.

In the end Lost Odyssey, is a great game. And for me and Xbox 360 owners the future looks bright for JRPGS. Hell it may already be here, with Blue Dragon and Eternal Sonata joining the ranks. And with all the Western RPGS the Xbox 360 just may offer the best of both worlds when it comes to gaming.