14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
A thousand years of frustration,
This review is from: Lost Odyssey (Video Game)
I didn't like Lost Odyssey for the first couple of hours of playing. The opening is a let down (flashy acrobatics in the introductory cut-scene don't translate to the player-controlled, turn-based boss fight you're eventually dumped in), lead character Kaim is another sulky mercenary/soldier type, the environments have a colour palette consisting of brown and grey, and things start off fairly humourless (I personally can't stand po-faced RPGs).
Then I got a little further and started liking it. Some more colourful characters show up, and the game seems to develop a sense of humour. The story is at least interesting, if nothing mind-blowing ("Oh no, I've lost my memories!") The combat system is a fairly modest turn-based affair, but it's easy to get to grips with and satisfying to use - the only real unique point is holding and releasing the R-trigger with good timing to improve attack damage - a twist on the timed button presses used in the Paper Mario games. The skill-learning system is quite expansive without being overwhelming, allowing the immortal members of your team to pinch skills off the mortals over a number of battles by linking them up. The ring system is a nice addition, basically changing your attack attributes the way weapons do in most RPGs, and they can be built with the various ingredients dotted liberally around the game world. Both the skills and rings will keep you in the menu screens for a fair chunk of the game, granted - and while the freedom of the skill system is nice, it would have been nice if the option was there to automate it.
So, I went through the first 2 discs (the game's a 4-disc-er, though more as a result of all the FMV than extensive length - it can be finished in around 40 hours) on generally good terms with Lost Odyssey, with only the odd difficulty spike really souring things. But then Disc 3 comes along, and the quality of just about everything plummets. The dialogue, which had previously, I thought, been handled pretty well, gets atrocious. Jansen's 'hilarious' comments especially become extremely grating - whoever thought they could base an entire character on rapid sarcastic mutterings needs hitting with a door. Half the cut-scenes on the third disc feel rushed or unfinished, ending awkwardly and barely making any sense - likewise, the characters' expressions are also choppy in various scenes, while brilliant in others. After a few hours of this I just didn't care what was happening anymore - the game makes no attempt to disguise its megalomaniac villain, which I respect it for, but once you find out very little of interest develops in the plot. You just seem to get more characters - some of which you'll never want to use, except to steal their abilities.
Underwhelming story elements aside, the game is plagued by confusing and frustrating design. Some of the dungeons, particularly the industrial towers with several identical floors, are just too big and annoyingly lacking in points of reference. Coupled with the lack of a map that covers more than your immediate surroundings, it can make traversing some of the areas a real chore - unfortunately the game usually takes this opportunity to be stingy on save points, meaning you could be stuck for hours before you get to save, allowing you to turn your 360 off and do something else before the temptation to put it in the microwave becomes too great.
The game also suffers from erratic difficulty - occasionally a boss will pop up that simply annihilates you in a couple of turns, leaving you to either go off and 'grind' (ie fight repeatedly to improve your level) or keep trying, blasting it with everything you've got so you can kill it first. Usually you'll have to resort to the latter anyway. It's a shame, because the majority of the bosses are reasonably challenging, many with interesting quirks that need to be exploited, making it worse when one shows up that employs cheap tricks, like seriously outnumbering you or taking multiple turns.
As a last gripe, the game isn't brilliant for giving you direction outside of dungeons. A lot of the time when you reach towns you're left to wander around until you reach the point that triggers the next story event - hardly a problem exclusive to this game, but it's a pain. Directions when given vehicles to explore the world map are often frustratingly vague, too.
Lost Odyssey has moments of genuine brilliance, and is for the large part at the very least enjoyable, but the constant dips in the quality of production and abundance of design niggles prevent it from being one of the greats. The lack of a truly great story means that if your tolerance for frustration isn't very high, it's unlikely you'll want to stick with it.
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Initial post: 24 Feb 2010 07:03:10 GMT
Mr. M. L. Hanford says:
I've already been playing it for 8-10 hours and yes I've died on both boss battles so far and had to re-do the first until I'd figured out what I was doing wrong,likewise the second and to top it off,I'll just make myself clear,STEALTH BITS DON'T WORK IN RPGS!.
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