Lost Odyssey was not a Final Fantasy killer but still a fun RPG.
There are a ton of things that I loved about Lost Odyssey. The dungeons were fun and full of random puzzles. I love the collection aspect of the game, there are a ton of accessories, skills, spells, and treasures to find. The skill system was addicting as hell. The music was awesome, and the graphics were good enough. I loved the huge amount of sidequests, optional dungeons and optional bosses.
However, I was not a big fan of the world map. The map made the game feel extra linear. The first three discs (35 hours or so) were extremely linear and confining. I especially hated the third disc because your team breaks up through most of it, I can not stand it when that happens. Some parts about the graphics bugged me, especially that white line that would pop in and out on the screen. The story and characters are take it or left it. I enjoyed it enough to finish the game, but it is hardly something I'll remember for a very long time.
Overall, Lost Odyssey is a worthy title, not the Final Fantasy killer it attempted to be. It's still worth checking out if you're into turn-based RPGs.
Lost Odyssey is a turn-based RPG. You impute all your characters moves at the start of a fight, then watch the battle unfold like in rounds. The enemy or character with the best speed will attack first. They give you a battle order, like in Final Fantasy X or Evolution, but it's almost pointless since you can't strategize with it.
There are 9 playable characters in the game. Four are Immortals and Five are Mortals. Immortal characters are basically blank slates in terms of skills, kinda like the characters in Final Fantasy XII. However, the characters grow in different orders, unlike FFXII, the two melee fighters grow in strength, high HP and defense, while the two mage casters have high magic defense, high MP and high magic power. Outside of that though, they can learn all the same skills.
Mortal characters learn unique skills by achieving pre-determined levels. Each character, mortal or immortal, can equip 1 weapon, 1 ring and between 1 or 3 accessories.
The way Immortal characters gain new skills through equipping accessories with skills or by skill linking from a Mortal character. They attach to a single skill a Mortal character has already learned, and can learn that skill by acquiring Skill points after a battle. Once an Immortal learns a skill, they gain it forever. You then have to assign it into a Skill box to actually use it for battle. An Immortal can assign a maximum of 30 skills. This almost breaks the game though, just like in Blue Dragon. By the end of the game your characters just get WAY to strong. The skill system is ALOT like Blue Dragon in a way.
It also doesn't help by the way you level up either. You gain experience after a battle like most RPGs. Only the characters that fought the battle will gain Experience or SP. You only need 100 Experience points to gain a new level though, like in Suikoden and Final Fantasy Tactics. This makes for easily leveling, especially for lower level characters fighting higher level enemies.
The thing that worried me the most about Lost Odyssey was the Ring system. I was afraid it would be slow like Legend of Dragoon or Shadow Hearts, but it actually makes a bit more interactivity to the game, and it's completely optional. You only use the Ring system for Melee attacks, so if you have mostly Mages, then you won't be bogged down with it. The Ring system basically works like this. At the start of a melee attack, your character starts charging the enemy. You have about 30 or so seconds to Charge the ring. When you start charging the ring, a circle starts closing into a ring in the center of the screen. If you miss, then your attack will be "Bad", if you hit the ring, then it will be "Good", and if you hit the center of the ring, it will be a "Perfect" attack. It's not difficult to master, and is kinda fun.
The dungeons are fun puzzle dungeons. There are alot of blocks to push, levers to pull and things to ring and switch around. They're not hard, but fun. The battles are randomly generated (most of the time) but it's actually not that intrusive. You can run around for a full minute without getting attacked. I THINK, don't quote me on this, but I THINK the lower the level you are, the higher the encounter rate is. If you are level 90 running around a dungeon with level 30 enemies, you probably won't get attacked so much.
----------Characters / Story----------
You play as Kaim, a quiet solider haunted by nightmares of his past. You are an Immortal among mortals, but your memories are mostly gone. Kaim, while working as a mercenary for the Uhra army, was the lone survivor during a recent battle after a freak Meteor crashed down to earth, killing everyone but Kaim.
Kaim is sent on a mission, along with fellow Immortal Seth, and mortal Jensen to find out more about a Grand Staff, that may have caused the Meteor to crash on the battle field.
Kaim and Seth slowly regain their memories, and find their true purpose on this land.
The storyline was alright, hardly original fodder at all. The characters aren't very original either. There are 9 playable characters, so there are some clunkers obviously. I liked Kaim, Seth, Sarah, and the kids, even Seg. The rest I felt was out of place or just generic as hell.
My biggest gripe is how they treated the characters. Sarah's entrance to the game was FANTASTIC, but after that she was basically a background character, with just a couple lines here and there. Most characters have a HUGE entrance and then slowly become unimportant. Ming for example, she had a nice entrance to the game, but they hardly fleshed out her personality.
Jensen is the only person in the game that wasn't one-dimensional. I wasn't a huge fan of him though, because he was obvious comic relief, but he was the only character to progress as a person. That sad thing about that is he had the worse entrance to the game.
The story is still good enough to get you through the game. You won't be shocked about anything, if you're a big JRPG fan, but it's still nice.
I think the graphics are completely inconsistent. Sometimes they look freaking gorgeous, other things it just looks like a last gen game. For example, the facial features are pretty impressive for some characters, mostly Sed. Then you have Jensen, who looks like a character model from Jade Empire. The cutscenes either use the game engine, but if there is a TON of action in them, you tell it was pre-rendered.
The character models are highly detailed, and the towns and fields are lush. It's kinda creepy at times how much detail they put into a character, you can even see the veins in Ming's breasts. Then the next minute, you'll see the close up of someones hand, and it's a blocky last gen mess.
My biggest overall complaint with the graphics is easily the stupid line that continuously pops up during game play. Basically, it's just a straight line of dots that randomly pop up on your screen. This is the only 360 game which I encountered this, so I'll assume this is strictly a Lost Odyssey problem. It was annoying and distracting.
The sound is great for the most part. The music is great, although not original, but it's rememberable, with exciting themes. I think it's an improvement over Blue Dragon. I'm pretty sure they even recycle a Blue Dragon song, although just for a sidequest mission.
The voices are very well acted, but sometimes the voices are really loud, other times you can barely hear the voices. Sometimes the music drowns out the voices. It's inconsistent.
The world map is kinda weird and broken off into two sections. The first part of the world map is just a basic menu map, where you just select the available locations that you can travel to. Simple as that.
The second world map, which you unlock later, is the "Ocean" map. You can free roam the entire world over the ocean (and later, the air), and can even dive under the sea to search things. I have no idea why they made a standard generic menu map, then unlock a free-roaming world map. You have to use them both through out the entire game, you can't land on the earth.
The first 3 discs of the game are painfully linear, there is not much freedom to be had. When you get to the 4th disc is when you start unlocking your ship abilities, and where you can basically travel wherever you want, and tackle any sidequest you want.
----------Time to Complete Game----------
I think I could have beat this game in 40-45 hours if I wanted to. I tried to do all sidequests and get all achievements (I missed one). So if you wanted a longer experience, you can get it if you want.
The game saves after you complete it, where you can start a New Game. I'm not sure if there are any bonuses after restarting but it wouldn't shock me if there was.