Cam’s Eye View: 3 Year Special Part 1: Lost Odyssey for the Xbox360 review

 

 

          Welcome, everyone, to the multi-part RPG 3-Year Special. Since a lot of people liked how many RPG’s I did leading up to the 200th review of Lunar: Silver Star Story, I decided to do some more RPG’s since it’s slowly becoming my favorite genre of games. I have played about 20 or so RPG’s and reviewed about as many on my blog. I decided to review a modern day Japanese-style RPG that did surprisingly well over here in the states, and sold a total of 348,000 copies in America. The more amazing thing is that it is on the 360. Even though there are some pretty solid RPG’s on the 360, like Blue Dragon, the amazing Tales of Vesperia, and again depending on who you ask, The Last Remnant, the console is more known for its group of male-centric bullet-riddled shooter games like Halo and Gears of War, to name the two big dogs. This game is made by the famous Mistwalker’s Studios, founded by Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi. This game is known as Lost Odyssey. While some people could complain that it’s stuck in old world style of RPG’s with turn-based combat, random encounters, and a somewhat generic story, but I think it’s one of the best games on the 360 if you’re not interested in the shooters on the console. Let’s dive into the mysterious world of Lost Odyssey.

            The story is focused around a man named Kaim Argonar, voiced by famed voice actor Keith Ferguson. A pretty awesome warrior in the opening cut scene suffers from two things. The first thing he suffers from is amnesia, where he sometimes gets random memory flashes of his past that he can’t fully remember. The second thing he has going for him is that he is immortal. He has lived for about 1000 years in the world where a Magic Industrial Revolution is taking place. Due to these random memory flashes, Kaim decides to partake on a journey to understand what is going on with him and to undertake a task of finding out the true intentions of a structure called Grand Staff. Along the way, Kaim is joined up with many heroes. He is joined on his journey by Seth Balmore, another Immortal who was once a famous pirate, Jansen Friedh, a womanizing and powerful mage, Sarah Sisulart Kaim’s immortal wife, Ming Numura, another fellow Immortal who is nicknamed the 1000 year-old queen, Cooke and Mack, two young spellcasters, Tolten, the heir to the country of Uhra, and Sed, Seth’s son and famous pirate captain. The story might seem clichéd in some areas, but it’s a really entertaining tale if you like stories that moves at a slow pace. The characters are great, even if some of their characteristics might be, once again, a bit clichéd, but they are entertaining characters and you feel for them in some pretty dark moments in the game. It’s an overall entertaining story, but I can see why some people don’t care for it.  You kind of have to change your mindset for this kind of game, and when you do, it’s really good.

            The gameplay is about as old-fashioned as Japanese style RPG’s go. It’s turn-based and there are random encounters. The turn-based mechanics are improved though, so it isn’t as tedious as some people make it out to be. One of the mechanics used is the wall mechanic, where you place the characters in one row in the front and one row in the back. This makes the characters in the front row take more damage, but have a higher attack power, while the characters in the back have more defense, but weaker attack. Boss fights and some tougher fights will end depending on whom you have in the front and back row, like have the magic users in the back and have the melee users up front. The next mechanic is the ring mechanic, so when you attack, you can hold and release the right trigger button at the right moment to add an extra effect to that character’s melee attack. Another mechanic used is a somewhat buddy system, where immortals like Kaim who can’t learn magic and special abilities, can be learned by a mortal character like Jansen or Tolten. The other turn-based mechanics are the typical ‘choose your attack’ and wait for your enemies’ turn to end. On the other hand, enemies also use the wall system, so battles are more strategic due to you having to be wise about what enemy is better to kill first instead of just wailing away on everyone with no strategy at all. A good example of this is the first boss fight with this giant bird-like creature when you have Kaim, Seth, and Jansen. It’s smart to have Seth and Jansen in the back while Kaim is in the front, due to Seth acting as a healer and also an offensive character. You can also have up to 5 characters on the field, so the strategy grows more complex depending on whom you have up front and in back. There are some small side quests and mini-games, but even without those, you will get about 30 to 40 hours out of this game if you include the DLC for the game.

            The graphics and look of the game are beautiful with the use of the Unreal 3 engine, even though some of the hair in the game doesn’t look as good as it should. The whole steam punk world has a misty hue to add some realism to the look of the game. The music is fantastic with famous composer, Nobuo Uematsu being the guy behind the soundtrack. It’s filled with some great Irish folk sounding music and of course epic scores and rock music to round out the package. The voice acting is great in Japanese and in English. They went all out with the English voice acting and got some really talented voice actors. The list includes Keith Ferguson, Tara Strong, Kim Mai Guest, Salli Saffioti, Michael McGaharn, Kath Soucie, Mika Futterman, Chad Brannon, Jesse Corti, and Michael Bell. The entire cast does a good job even if you don’t care for some of the characters, which can be understandable.

            Even though this is a great turn-based RPG, there are some minor flaws. Even though I like how it does use random battles, I think they could have easily done the Blue Dragon or Last Remnant route and have enemies visible, since its 2011 and Lost Odyssey still runs on a random encounter system that does make some RPG’s annoying. I also don’t like some of the mini-games, like the stealth section that happens early in the game that is just tedious since you go all the way back to the beginning of that min-game if you get caught. That’s really all I have against this game. There are some minor things like some texture loading and long load times, but it’s not as bad as it sounds.

            Overall, I love this game. It’s one of my favorite games on the 360 and I would highly recommend it for anyone looking for a great RPG on the 360. Lost Odyssey is cheap now, so it should be easy to find, and if you can find it, I would get it. This has been Part 1 of this 3 Year Special, and see you for Part 2.

This game gets a 9 out of 10

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