Lost Odyssey

2009-02-22 22:48:57

Lost Odyssey(Xbox 360)

It has been a while since I popped the top off of a RPG, and though I tend to want to run away screaming from anything that falls under the general theme of a Jrpg, I heard some amazing things, and well, the game is 4 discs long. For a next gen title to need 4 discs to contain it's awesome, that says something.What it said to me initially was there would be a LOT of gameplay, hours upon hours, that I'd spend more time playing it than I did Mass Effect, or Enchanted Arms. I however would be wrong. What it did actually mean is that the cutscenes would be longer, filled with amazing effects, and that the fights would also contain cutscene quality magic effects.

You play the role of one Kaim Argonar, an immortal who plays mercenary, much like an expert FPS player joining a newbies only match, but instead of playing through the game as a giant stomping badass who has been in a million battles over the spance of 1000 years of life, we play as some emo soaked guy with amnesia. Only thing he can remember is his name, until he sees something occur that gives him Deja Vu. When this happens a whooshing blurring effect overcomes the game and you are alerted that you REMEMBER something! which usually consists of some time you spent in the town, befriending some guy and then going off to battle, coming back only to find out the dude you became friends with either has been long dead, or is on their deathbed, ending with Kaim wondering whether it hurts more to die after a short life, or witness a million deaths that you cannot experience yourself. Oh boo fucking who Kaim.

After the initial battle and cutscenes you are linked up to another immortal who is also clueless of who she is and this mortal drunk asshole who is being paid by the final boss guy to keep an eye on you, of course you don't know that yet, and eventually the mortal realizes that he's working for a douche and joins team Kaim and friends for reals. Throughout your adventure you end up bumping into relatives of the two immortals and 1 immortal who ends up becoming the drunk assholes lover. Most of it revolves around Kaim, his wife(immortal) their grandkids(mortals), and Seth(female immortal) and her kid Cid(a 40 year old who calls his mother Mama like he was 4, very creepy).

All your typical JRPG set pieces are here, clothing with bizarre sense of style and little functionality(especially during the times you have to go through a blizzard), a main character who is supposed to be a hardass but comes off as severely whiny and douchey, especially with that strand of hair over his face at all times, which I'm sure will piss off some OCD person by virtue of being annoying. You have white magic, black magic, spirit magic, and combo magic. You have skills and items, and equipment that grants stats and special abilities. You also have a strange system for how immortals learn new skills. While humans learn the normal way, by leveling up and learning as they go, Immortals learn nothing from just combat. They have to be tagged to watch how a mortal does things in order to perform the trick themselves, placing the immortal 1 step behind the mortals. On the flip side Immortals can also learn skills from wearing equipment with the skill embedded, after enough combats you can switch armor around and still select the armor's skill to fill a skill slot. Handy if you want all your immortals to be poison proof and you only have 1 poison proof ring. Armor consists of a piece of jewelry, a weapon, and a ring. the Weapon modifies stats and may have an embedded trait, the jewelry has many functions(from granting magic casting at x level, poison proofing, or granting a special ability.) Finally the Ring controls critical hits and how they work. You can get rings that give you bonuses vs certain creatures, rings that add fire damage etc. Elemental add ons only usually trigger when you successfully charge the ring during combat. To do that you simply hold the right trigger down until the outer ring shrinks to fit the inner ring, and you are graded by how close you really were.

Another thing you get to do in the game is pilot ships, much like you would in Final Fantasy games, and this is the method you use to get to the end game, or to backtrack through the game and do the secreat quests throughout the gameplay. I opted not to do it because one of the things this game manages to do that few JRPG's have, is to not require grinding. The only grinding a player should have to do is maybe grind his immortals to learn a skill of an equipment, otherwise the characters level up easily through normal gameplay and when facing extraordinary odds they gain instant levels often if they aren't leveled up enough, which rapidly gets you in the right direction. If only more people would borrow this idea from Lost Odyssey JRPG's might be more palatable to the general populace..

So were four DVD's excessive for this game? probably, the game was short, taking significantly less time than Enchanted Arms or Final Fantasy X. but it was also graphically superior. Maybe if they cut out all the artsy dream sequences, as those were only half tolerable and would've made a better website addition than in game.

Reason Rank
Start 10
JRPG with no grinding? Satan is calling in reporting a blizzard +7
Short for a game on 4 DVD's -5
Kaim is an Emo kid turned 1000 years old and bitchy -6
Magic system is balanced and beautiful +2
Great Music for the genre +2
Some JRPG cliches are played out -3
Total 7/10

In the end the game gets 7/10 while my initial thought on JRPG's is to run swiftly away this game managed to be composed of a lot of JRPG set pieces without any of the grind grind grind mentality that infects all too many games. Bravo on a fine product Microsoft Game Studios, you managed to beat JRPG developers at their own game. Hope they are taking notes..