Lost Odyssey is the
latest Japanese RPG epic to slice its way onto the XBox 360 scribed by
award winning Japanese novelist Kiyoshi Shigematsu in cooperation with
Hironobu Sakaguchi (Final Fantasy) to create an almost surreal Final
Fantasy gaming universe experience.
The story of Lost Odyssey revolves
around Kaim, an immortal who is lost in time, neither remember his past
nor where his future lies. As gamers control Kaim, they will be joined
with a variety of other characters to help our hero or villain unwrap
his shrouded past and save the world he knows nothing about.
The introduction is beautifully
choreographed to introduce the gamer to the universe of Lost Odyssey and
the battle is reminiscent of The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy which
even throws the player into the heat of the battle.
If you are a lover
of Japanese RPG, than you will pleased to know that Lost Odyssey follows
this similar template, however if you despise turn based games, than you
might want to look elsewhere for your fix.
As you progress through the game, Kaim soon
realises that he is caught in battle between two warring nations as this
world has entered the industrial magic revolution which will also turn
the tides of the planet.
Working as a mercenary for hire, the player is
soon rewarded with slight glances from his history, helping the player piece
together his shrouded past. The unfortunate aspect of Lost Odyssey is
that the main character is not quite as loveable as he is on paper and
at the end of the day, he is quite dull and I found it difficult to be
drawn into the storyline.
The battle system of Lost Odyssey is almost
identical to Final Fantasy that follows the turn based system of combat
with either attack, defend, use item or flee (provided this is an
option). For a 21st century game on a next generation console, I was
hoping for something a little different. Sure, the game has a miasma of
different spell types that requires the player to have good timing
skills but something feels missing or I was wanting more out of Lost
What the developers did try to employ into
the battle system was the ring system which basically shows a target
over your opponent and as your character is charging, the player must
release the trigger in order to pull off the maneuver.
You can even customise these aim rings with the objects and items that you discover
in the game which adds power to your attack. An interesting aspect to
the turn based system but it seems a little out of place, however if you
can master this, you will perform some remarkable damage on your foes.
I must admit that the "wall system" in Lost
Odyssey is quite impressive which lets you put your powerful characters
at the front of your party with weaker members at the back. This is a
great way to tally your hit points to certain aspects of combat,
ensuring that your healers or spell casters are protected and creates
some challenging yet rewarding gameplay. Initially starting with one
character, as you progress, you can have up to 5 characters at once in
your party which can lead to some hardcore battles.
The game also contains a variety of
different characters for your party from warriors to powerful spell
casters which are a necessity in completing the title. As like all good
RPG titles, Lost Odyssey allows the gamer to increase your characters
powers and skills. It should also be noted that as some of your
characters are immortal, so you will need to have a mortal in your party in order
for your immortal to learn their skills which is called skill linking.
Graphically Lost Odyssey is quite
impressive on a high definition TV that contains some beautiful
character designs, backgrounds and pre-rendered cutscenes which makes
this a Hollywood style game in this department. Add in a variety of
realistic textures and special effects and you have everything you would
need in a decent Japanese RPG title.
Needless to say, Lost Odyssey is a
little slow in the graphic department at the start of the title but once
you start playing, you will left awestruck at the amount of details
happening in this universe. It should also be noted that there are
several cutscenes in this title and quite a large amount of reading
which may turn some players away.
Lost Odyssey contains good voice acting,
however the title lacks that majestic soundtrack experience such as the
Final Fantasy series and is really quite basic when compared to the
other aspects of the title. The sound effects are quite strong in this
department, especially the battle scenes and background ambience, I'm
only wishing they spent a little more time on the soundtrack.
In conclusion, Lost Odyssey (comes on four
discs) is a decent Japanese RPG title, however it feels like the
gameplay is from yesteryear with minimal improvements over the Final
Fantasy series. The graphics are majestic, the storyline is interesting
but that "X" factor is missing from this title. Definitely a title for
lovers of Japanese RPG games as it's almost like Final Fantasy, just set
in another gaming universe.