Lost Odyssey is a JRPG from famed team that has brought you some of the greatest of the final fantasy series over the years. Now broke away from squarenix to make their own gaming developing company Mistwalker Studios.
With that being said, the game has standards set very high! But how does it fair against the JRPG juggernaut they used to create games for?
The story of Lost odyssey is one of truly epic proportions! From the beautiful opening CGI cut scenes that throw you into a war between two waring nations that are unknown to you at first, battling it out in a battle of force and magic it seems as if no side is winning. Then the hero of the game comes in a starts whopping more ass than about anything you have ever seen. (He is obviously fighting for one said of the nation) Then after that short cut scene you are sucked into the world of lost odyssey.
The story is that of the immortal soldier Kaim Argonar, He isn't sure who he truly is or why he is cursed to walk this earth or over a 1000 years, he remembers nothing of his past because he got his memories stripped from him years ago by a vicarious sorcerer. After awhile of playing through the game the nation Kaim is fighting for sends him to do some research on a structure of great magic energy that is malfunctioning, and joining him in the investigation is other immortal Seth Balmoore and mortal Jansan Frieda.
I don't want to ruin too much but every character in this game has a back story to be told, some good...others well....you could careless. As you progress through the game Kaim and Seth will start to get some of their memories back and you will read them through some of the most well written stories I have read in my life! It is all text, no cut scenes sorry kids. They tell you some great stories, most revolve around Kaim and his very painful past. All of which are well worth the time it takes to read them, they really let you have some insight into the why the characters are so interesting.
That is where I will leave you with the story, if you have played a JRPG in your life, I am sure you know of what to expect coming, a couple oh my god! someones trying to become a god and take over our world stuff. That really is not the part of the game that is really intriguing, it is the characters and their stories and how it unfolds in the main story that is interesting. I will also warn you...this game tugs at the heart strings at times, and their will be a couple times you will feel like your about to cry, but suck it up!
With a great score for legendary Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu, needless to say, it is great! You it really pours out all the emotions of the game! This is some of his greatest work here as well, with a epic score that he really put a lot of time into. I found myself doing little nerdy dances to the battle arena music, but that is a different story all together.
It has pretty standard sounds during battle. But if your like me and have full surround sound this is actually very interesting! Because the digital audio is so well implemented that it just sounds incredible!
This is some of the best audio I have ever heard in a JRPG with a amazing score to boot.
This is a toughest and easiest portion in reviewing a JRPG, because it is fairly standard but does have a couple ways to set it apart.
The game all plays out in a turn based fashion, much like classic JRPG's do. You give your characters the commands and attack, and the enemy does it behind the scenes while you are. Story old as time by now, I know. However this games has a neat little twist. It borrows a idea I first saw implemented in Legend of the Dragoon, instead of just sitting back and watching as your characters attack, there is a timed button press portion during your attack called the ring system (why is everything on the xbox 360 has something to do with fucking rings? HUH? uh-oh touchy subject for some lol) essentially the ring you equip to your character has specific attributes that can affect your attack, example, say you have fire element on your ring, once you go to attack a ring will appear on the screen and you hold down the right trigger and another ring will start to close in of the main ring, the idea is to get it perfectly in the main circle of the main ring landing a perfect and if you do that element will be inflicted on the foe.
That has a big impact on your attackers, although is about useless for spell casters. As your progress through the game you will get materials to craft new rings with other effects on them as well as combine rings to make multiple effects on one ring, it is pretty neat actually. However I will say I never had much need because towards the later hours of the game, you will find of pretty incredible ones.
Also another thing it introduces is a Back row protection system. It is simple really, your characters in the front row put a barrier up behind them and it is based on combined Hit points of the front row characters, and as long as it is high, any damage inflicted to characters in the back row will be greatly reduced, but if they knock your front row chacter's HP down, the weaker the shield becomes and the more damage the back row characters can take. It cannot be replenished by simply healing either, there are certain skills that replenish it, but...I never found to much of a need for this. It is also a double edge sword though, because the enemies work on the same system, so it isn't as simple as kill the leader in the back and be done with the battle.
The game also has it's element weakness much like Final Fantasy does, and it makes sense for the most part.
Fire trumps Wind
Wind trumps Earth
Earth trumps Water
Water trumps Fire
Simple. But is key in some of the games grueling boss battles. With that said, if you are looking for a JRPG that is challenge, look no further. The earlier parts of the game will have you barley scraping by for the win or will kill you in your tracks if you don't use proper strategy! This isn't some kiddy JRPG, this game is for the vets! If you don't like battling a boss for 20 mins just so he can unleash a attack and about kill you instantly...I am sorry...this is not your game, it is a challenge.
Also another interesting aspect is how characters learn skills.
Mortal characters learn skills as they level up, as Immortal characters do not. So, Immortals can learn skills from Mortals in a skill link, simply select the skill you wish to learn, get some Skill Points via battling and you learned a skill! Then equip it to your immortal! Also it should be noted that Immortals have a certain about of skill slots that they can equip skills to but as you progress through the game you can open up more slots for more skills to be equipped.
There is also another for Immortals to learn skills and that is to equip a accessory that has a specific skill that can be learned on it, gain enough SP and learn it, much like the skill system in Final Fantasy 9. Also if you just keep the accessory on you will have the skill automatically turn on. Take it off and you will have to equip the skill.
This is very good for the immortals because it gives you lots of room for customization with them, however you will find it is very thin at the same time because, if your spell caster has battle skills such as all hit on, it will be weak as hell! A spell caster is a spell casters, so learn your skills accordingly!
Also, later on in the game, mortals are just irrelevant to even use! The immortals get so powerful, the mortals just seem like a sad after thought! They are pretty much the immortals bitches! Once you learn the mortals best skills, there is no reason to use them! They are weaker and not as versatile. Which is sad really.
This game is running off the acclaimed Unreal 3 engine so....of course it is gorgeous! There is about smooth textures all around! This is one JRPG that is true eye candy.
The environments are very pretty as you can see from the start of the game with some beautiful flame effects and such. It keeps it up with some great town landscaping. I really have to give kudos in this department because there were so many times while playing I was just in awe of how it looks. This is one game that really sucks you into the experience.
The character models all look good and the attack animations are fluid. Some of the spell effects are cool while others are pretty lack lusters to tell the truth.
The art style of the game is very good, a good take on some of the older ages of the final fantasy games. With it really bring the characters to life. But as much life as it gives to the hero's, the enemies don't get as much attention, while most are so generic that you would be glad to kill them for looking so dumb!
The immortal characters in the game are brought to life via the dreams you can unlock that tell stories of their past, but the mortal characters really lack much personality really, but that may just be a knit pick on my part.
The game is linear in a part of...there really isn't a world map to explore till the end of the game, it is done in a fashion similar to FFX, select a location, go there,fight, done. Which I for one prefer because I get bored of running around aimlessly for hours looking for where to go and getting into a random monster fights in the process! So if you are a fan of the world map, you won't find much of it here.
That is not to say that there isn't secret stuff to explore and find, because there is a ton! Really the extra stuff is the best part of the game! It is challenging and rewarding! It will have you busy for at least 10 hours! But....with a sub par arena mode, a dumb little village to visit and about THE MOST ANNOYING DUNGEON PUZZLE IN THE HISTORY OF TIME! It is really only for the hardcore to sink there teeth into, people who get frustrated easily, you have been warned! Stick with the main story and you shouldn't have much of a problem, however do all the extras and reap all the great benefits to make your Immortals uber!
Another thing I really really hated about the game and I couldn't do this review without mentioning it....the dungeon design is well....pretty terrible! Later parts of the game get worse too! You will be solving some very annoying puzzles that really just feel like they don't belong in the level at all! It feels more like filler than actual fun! Right when you think it is about time to fight a boss, nope....go solve a million simple puzzles then you might get too. It is a mere annoyance than it is fun.
Lost Odyssey is one of the best JRPG's I have played in years! It was challenging, well paced, and rewarding experience that I would recommend to anyone looking for a great story to dig their teeth into. But if you are easily frustrated with puzzles or new to JRPG's I wouldn't suggest this game, it is ment as a gift for the hardcore vets of the genre I believe.
The game will give 40 hours with the main quest and about 55-60 Hours doing about all the optional stuff. So it is a time investment, but I promise...once you start, you will not want to stop.
If you have a Xbox 360 and like challenging JRPG, go out and buy this game! For it is the best of the JRPG on next gen at the moment and overall a much better game than Mistwalkers previous game, Blue Dragon.
Positive:Great Story,Great classic battle system,Graphics, and great side quest!Great Menu's! Kaim is a great character!
Negative:Mortals are weak!,Nothing really innovative,Dungeon Design is poor, and well...Jansen.
Well....time for little stuff that I hated in this game!
Another one of the knit picks is dreams unlock at the most un-opportune times! Right when you are ready for some action! Dream unlocks and you feel compelled to read it but, just want to go kill stuff!
The hardest dungeon in the game is a complete maze, hard as hell to figure out, they should be pimp slapped for even thinking of it's terrible design, I would suggest looking up a Youtube guide for it or something instead of suffering through it like I did.
Well That is about it, hope you enjoyed the review, if you could find the patience to read it all lol.