“Lost Odyssey” or “How JRPG mechanics will live on eternally”

It’s been a while since my last post. Well, I went through a lot of changes in my personal schedule and I’m also preparing for a long stay in Japan. But this blog is always on my mind as it is a way for me to express my thoughts and reactions on video games.

Lost Odyssey cover

Lost Odyssey cover

Yesterday, I just finished playing Lost Odyssey on Xbox 360. Released in 2008 by Mist Walker, this game benefits from the experience of the famous Hironobu Sakaguchi, who worked on many installments of the Final Fantasy franchise since its creation. And you can feel it while playing the game. The atmosphere, the music, the pacing, etc.

The plost is about a world who went through a sort of industrial/magic revolution where every machine is powered by magic. There, you meet a group of immortals who lost their memories and are slowly recovering while unveiling an attempt by another immortal to take over the world. Nothing too original, you may say, but it’s fine by RPG standards, and the game goes through the question: is immortality a bliss or a curse? Would you rather live eternally or see all of the persons you’ve met and known die while you have to go on alone?

Many professional video game websites have mixed opinions regarding this game. Personally, I thought it was a good game to go through, but it wasn’t without flaws. At many times, I felt that the game was rushed just to meet the deadlines. Yet, I enjoyed it more than Final Fantasy XIII which was just horrendous to play.

Let me dress a list of what’s good and bad about it:

The actions in battle are seen from a cinematic point of view, which makes the battles look  a lot more dynamic and dramatic.

  • Pros
    • Really good music, especially the random encounter battle theme and the boss fight against Gongora, the main antagonist  (his name is spelled like this, but the Japanese dialogues pronounce like “Gangara”). You can really feel Mistwalker’s touch
    • Strong gameplay mechanics. If you’re accustomed to JRPGs, you’ll get your marks very quickly. If you’re new to them, don’t fret, it’s nothing too fancy to understand
    • The idea of linking mortal playable characters with immortal playable characters, so you can gain new skills
    • The level grinding isn’t as painful as in other games. In fact, you gain experience very quickly if you know where to go
    • A lot of sidequests are available for you near the end of the game
    • The CGI cutscenes are very good looking, even 5 years after its initial release

You can obviously tell I’m the main villain of this game because of my devilish smile I tend to harbor in every cutscene I’m in.

  • Cons
    • The pacing… Sometimes, it tends to get very slow, especially when you have to sit down and hear Gongora plotting generically to take over the world
    • The voices: not that I have any problem with the voices themselves, it’s just the volume. Sometimes, during cutscenes, I just can’t hear shit! Especially when the main protagonist is sp… I mean, mumbling like an old fart
    • The subtitles and the translation in the cutscenes: I played the game with the original Japanese voices, and the dialogues didn’t absolutely match the subtitles. It’s like if the translator decided: “Screw it! I’m doing my own shit now.”

It’s a game I might recommend to those who want to try something else than good old Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest installments, while not getting too far from already well-established mechanisms in RPGs. This is quite a good and a bad thing, since the game tend to rely too much on those mechanisms, while adding some twerks like rings and skill linking. But still, nothing really changes here. MaybeMistwalker wanted us to not focus too much on the gameplay and get really absorbedby the atmosphere of the game. Yet, the game doesn’t really offer something captivating plot-wise or atmosphere-wise. While you can feel that they tried to push the players into introspection, especially when immortals and mortals are interacting, this kind of falls flat after 10 hours of playing. Especially when most of this introspection comes from the “Thousand Years of Dream”, a series of texts relating dreams of immortal characters. While they are very engaging to read and well written, you get quickly bored out of your mind, especially when you unlock 2 or 3 sequences in a row.

Dream=shit ton of text to go through

In a nutshell, if you own a Xbox360 and you’re looking for some RPGs to play, you should have already stumbled upon this game. If not, you should consider giving it a try. Not a bad purchase in my opinion. It’s a large improvement over Mistwalker’s previous title, Blue Dragon.

Thank you for reading and don’t hesitate to share this post if you like it.

See ya in a next post!

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