Microsoft Game Studios Developed By:
MistwalkerGenre: RPGPlayers: 1Rated:
T (Teen)Release Date:
February 12, 2008Screenshots: LinkAmazon: Buy Now!Written By:
From Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi and his crew at Mistwalker, Lost Odyssey is a traditional Japanese-styled RPG that thrusts gamers into a fun, beautiful and epic voyage.
After Mistwalker’s first title, the kiddie Blue Dragon, a lot was expected from Sakaguchi and his studio with this game. With so many modern RPGs on the Xbox 360, such as Mass Effect and Eternal Sonata, it’s hard to tell how the old-school gameplay will mesh with Western audiences. However, if you’re a fan of any Final Fantasy game you should feel right at home with Lost Odyssey.
The story of the game focuses on Kaim, a 1000 year-old immortal mercenary who has been through every ounce of human emotion during his life. Without much reason, Kaim has lost many of his memories from the past. As Kaim progresses throughout the game, he’ll slowly regain pieces of his memory by meeting other people and relating their stories to some of his past ones. Kaim regains pieces of his life through dreams, or “A Thousand Years of Dreams,” which is a collection of short stories written by Japanese novelist Kiyoshi Shigematsu.
However, Kaim is not the only immortal living in Lost Odyssey’s unnamed world, which is happening to go through a “Magic-Industrial Revolution” that has caused war among it’s nations. Throughout the game Kaim will come in contact with other immortals that have also lost much of their memory from the past. Just like Kaim, the immortals that join your party will also gain pieces of memory through their dreams. Most of these dreams are pretty interesting reads, but a few of them are quite boring and none are essential for completing the game. But, the most interesting thing with these dreams is that they give you a glimpse of the characters past and you see how their actions in the present are related to their past experiences.
Once again, most of Lost Odyssey’s gameplay is very traditional and most RPG fans will be familiar with its turn-based combat system. However, unlike other RPGs, the game’s combat system features an Aim Ring System, which allows you to add a magic or attack boost to your physical attacks. In order to get the added effect, you have to hold down the right trigger and line two rings at the right moment, which isn’t easy to do at first. The Aim Ring System is a nice little feature that puts a spin on the ordinary turn-based combat.
Even with the Aim Ring System, the game is pretty tough compared to most recently released RPGs, so be prepared to see the “Game Over” screen more than once. Not only are level grinding and accessory mastering important, they are vital along with well-planned strategies to get through the game’s tougher bosses.
Another feature in the game that is quite different from other RPGs is the way you learn abilities or skills, using the Skill Link system. Although mortal party members will learn new skills as they level up, immortals cannot. To learn new skills, immortals must link with a mortal to learn one of their skills. For example, when you first start the game Kaim won’t be able to cast any magic spells, but once you set a link to a mortal character that can cast magic, Kaim will eventually learn. Each skill requires that a set amount of Skill Points (SP) be earned before it can be learned. Immortals also have the ability to learn skills from accessories, which is a neat addition.
Although a great game, Lost Odyssey isn’t without its flaws. One of the biggest problems of the game is its slow pacing. Almost a third of the game’s length is strictly cutscenes, although nicely detailed ones. It has some pretty long loading times as well, and they happen quite often. Even when entering a battle, the loading will take ten to fifteen seconds just to get the enemies onto the battlefield. This severely breaks up the action and makes the game feel somewhat sluggish.
Graphically, Lost Odyssey looks wonderful, thanks in part to great character models, excellent environments and eccentric art direction. The game uses Epic’s Unreal Engine 3, which allows for a marvelous amount of detail and great lighting effects. The one issue with the graphics is the spotty framerate, which occasionally tends to slow down.
The game’s music is great, thanks to acclaimed Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu who delivers a solid and fantastic score. The music in the game emphasizes the mood perfectly, although much of the music might not be as memorable as some of Uematsu’s past works. For a Japanese RPG, the game’s voice acting is pretty impressive and well done for the most part.
With over 40+ hours to the game, Lost Odyssey is definitely worth picking up, especially if you’re willing to complete it. The story might seem a little old school, but is really one of the best things about the game because of how in depth it gets and how involved each and every one of the characters are. Even though the battle system is turn-based, the Aim Ring System really keeps things fresh and the Skill Link system allows for a different approach to learning new abilities. However, as I mentioned before, the game’s value really takes a hit because of its slow pace and horrid load times.
Lost Odyssey is an excellent game with a tremendous amount of depth and detail behind it. From its intriguing story to its incredible looks, the games doesn’t ever seem to let down, other than a few miscues with its loading times. Although very much a traditional RPG, Lost Odyssey seems to have the will power to compete with the modern RPGs most importantly because of its life-like characters and their stories. With not too many great RPGs on the Xbox 360, I would recommend Lost Odyssey to any 360 owner looking for a beautiful and fun RPG to play. 8.2/
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