Thursday, 26 May 2011

[Review] Lost Odyssey - First Impressions

So through Love Film I am renting Lost Odyssey. Its a traditional JRPG. There are the typical selection of starting characters, that can be summarized as; the silent amnesiac warriror with a sword, the fast theif/rogue, a wise cracking magic user. And I have no idea what else will turn up. I am about 4 hours into the game, and the combat system is fairly typical. You have a front and back row for tatics and defense. Enemies have the same set up. Each round actions are played out based upon a speed of the action. There are the typical selection of white, defensive, spells, and black, offensive spells (including things like elemental attacks, poison, sleep etc).

Is this anything of a surprise? No not really. Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of the famed Final Fantasy series, is behind this. And it shows.

The world has some sort of magic fueled industrial revolution. Some bad ass magitech has gone wrong and it's up to you to find out. There are rather wordy flashback dream sequences to explain more about your immortal (yes you are immortal but the reason hasn't been revealed yet). And of course there are the monsters that attack at random points.

Then there are little things like how skills are learnt by linking immortals to the mortal characters, or the creation of 'rings' which use different components that are collected, and are then used to modify combat i.e. elemental attacks etc. These  rings appear in combat as a way to make the player more involved. You pull the trigger as the attack is played out. This causes a ring to shrink about another ring, all centred upon the target of the attack. The aim is to get a perfect overlay. So it is a bit like have a gun blade from Final Fantasy 8. Combat also allows for careful targeting of enemies to cause the enemy to be delayed in their action i.e. casting etc.

Now this could sound like a bit old and dated. I guess it is a little. But then there are a few things I like about the game.

The setting is well designed, and looks vibrant. The party is interesting. The turn based system is easy and more then just pressing A (fuck you FF13). There are enough bits of info to get from people standing around, but they are nice bite size chunks.

So it just plays as a good jrpg. Good mechanics, good setting, no annoying characters. It may not be revolutionary but I think in general rpgs such as this and Mass Effect, Fallout 3, FF13 etc haven't been that revolutionary or changed much in the last 10 years. But I still stand by the fact that I want to be rewarded for the right tatics, and not being hindered when mashing together game genres (you Mass Effect, I'm looking at you).

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