Albert Odyssey's dialog makes it all worth it.
Albert Odyssey is a special game. Not because of the battle system. The battle system is really generic, and frankly, boring at times. The graphics aren't special. They're just 16-bit graphics redux for a Saturn. They look great, but it's not much different than Wild Arms. The story was certainly nothing special. It's about a boy and his attacked village and seeking revenge. The dialog though, now that's special and unforgettable.
Working Designs took a chance with this game. If they gave this a straight laced localization, then this game would be forgotten like many past RPGs on the 16 and 32 bit era, like Paladins Quest or Lufia or Traysia, etc. Working Designs took this completely generic game, and gave it a written make-over. They kept the same basic plot points (I'll assume) but they gave the world a whole new life and meaning by giving all the NPCs extremely wacky dialog. Even some of the storyline has comedy-driven lines. There's only a few games that break that 3rd wall and this is one of them.
The crazy dialog really makes you want to continue playing. The battle system might not be great, but it was good enough. The graphics were very nice to look at. So while the dialog might seem like a crutch, Albert Odyssey was still an ok game beneath that.
Albert Odyssey is a typical Final Fantasy style Turn-based RPG. It's not active-time based like the later Final Fantasy games though. You and the enemies take turns depending on the speed of the character/or enemy. That's about the gist of it.
You gain experience and gold, and level up like every rpg ever made. You gain new spells after certain levels. You get new weapons in dungeons and shops. There's really nothing special about Albert Odyssey's mechanics. It's just does nothing extremely wrong. It's a very safe RPG.
Albert Odyssey was actually extremely easy too. Well, for the first half of the game. The game is broken into 2 halfs, which reminds me of Final Fantasy VI. Both games are clearly marked in halfs. The 2nd half of Albert Odyssey is when the difficulty really starts to ramp.
----------Characters / Story----------
You play as Pike, a young boy whose parents were slaughtered in a village attack. He was the only survivor because of his father's magical sword, Cirrus. Pike was rescued by a Faery and was raised among them as their own. His new fairy town was attacked and his best friend was turned to stone, and the towns crystal was stolen. Pike goes on a quest to save his friend and his town.
While Albert Odyssey has a generic battle system and even generic plot, what separates this game from the rest is the dialog. Albert Odyssey is one of the few games localized by Working Designs. Albert Odyssey has one of the most ridiclous writing I've ever read, and that's a good thing. It's just the over the top, crude dialog that really cracks me up. This is one of the few games that attempt to be funny and actually is. It's almost up there with the Paper Mario games in terms of self aware joke dialog.
I love the graphics. They're simple but full of personality and life. They put a ton of detail into small things. Every character and NPC are completely animated in some way. Even though this was originally made for the Super Famicon, they overhauled the graphics to match Saturn's standards. It still has the 16-bit feel, but there's no way a SNES or Genesis could handle this game.
The world map is a bit ugly, only because it tried to be 3D. The battle system was not as flashy as it could be, especially with the special moves. Otherwise, I loved the style and art of the game.
There's actually voice clips in this game. Not a ton of them, but they are there. The entire opening cutscene is voiced out, they don't even bother using text bubbles. There's a couple scenes later where they narrate over a scene, but that's about the extent of voice acting. It's still cool to hear that for a game that so old. The characters have distinct sounds, grunts and calls during battles, so you get into the action a little more. The music is very good and memberable aswell.
The world map is a typical Final Fantasy overview map. It's alot like Final Fantasy VI in alot of ways actually. The faux-3D world really reminds me of that game. The first half of the game is pretty linear, with your only mode of transportation is your feet and the occasional boat ride. Later in the game you get the ability to warp to previous towns and fly. Flying in Albert odyssey is really really smooth. Jumping into your flying ship and sailing away doesn't take any loading either. It's just a really smooth experience.
----------Time to Complete Game----------
I'm not sure how long it took me to complete the game, because they don't calculate your overall time. I beat it in a week, so it's pretty short though. The ending wasn't anything special, and you get no rewards. The credits were cool, I guess.