11 June, 2010

Lost Odyssey

There are some who would say that comparing a game to Final Fantasy X might not be a good thing, but I am not one of those people. Lost Odyssey sat on in my 360 shelf for months before I got around to trying it out & I am wholly saddened by this. To think that such a game sat neglected for so long... well I have discovered its joy now, so the past can remain just that. If we could have had this game as Final Fantasy X-2 or Final Fantasy 11, then my life would have been a lot happier during those dark times, but perhaps it was worth the wait for this quality of game. Mistwalker is responsible for making this game (with some help from feelplus) & some of you might know that they are the ones also guilty of making Blue Dragon, which isn't the worst game, but it could have been a lot better. On the other hand, Mistwalker (a Japanese game dev studio founded by Hironobu Sakaguchi, who created Final Fantasy) are supposed to release The Last Story later this year which I am eagerly awaiting.

Before I start the run down, I want to touch on the writing in this game. Yes, the story's writing was spectacular, but not as fantastic as were the Dreams. Through-out the game are Dreams from the lives of the main characters which you can read through when you find. 'Read through?!' you might say, in a voice which China would recognise as a national threat, but this is not a bad thing. These Dreams, more to say Memories, are so well written that everyone I know, who takes the time to read them, is moved. Even those who haven't played the game. This probably isn't true for the entirety of the world, but for my small section of this universe it is. I have never encountered writing like this before in game form or book form. I was truly blown away. By far, the best part of the game are the moments I spent 'dreaming' & delving into the past of my characters. On to the game! Graphically, this game is beautiful! Not the best of the best graphics, but I think that it comes close, especially for a game released in 2007 (JP). As for the style of the graphics, that Eastern 'Korean' look as many called it (what?), I adored it. From the introduction of Kaim all the way to the end of the game & beyond to the option dungeon, the art style wooed me entirely. Maybe it's because I already have a love for that style & wholly wish more games would adopt it, but I really do think it was done exceptionally well. Animations were spot on & movement through-out the word was done great. Cities, villages, towns, mountains, forests, vast wastelands, & industrial sites all looked both realistic & surreal at the same time which is basically normal for how I see things anyway. Movements
were like being stuck in this fantastic dream-world for the entire game & every step you take through this world was a visual treat. Coming into this game, I was immediately in love with the music aswell. Little wonder since it was composed by Nobuo Uematsu who has managed to never compose something I did not love. Although, it isn't just the music, but the sound of the game. Everything about the audio. Yes, you can hear your footsteps, but there are parts of the game where if you didn't hear your footsteps you would start to get a bit paranoid about what was going to happen next. The music & sound effects blend well together, especially in the dreams; I didn't mind any of it; I craved it! The game play was very much like Final Fantasy X, but much improved upon. I went back & threw in FFX just to make sure I wasn't entirely crazy, wishing that they had made these similarities, & I was pleased to see it was very much the same. Again, this is a good thing, people. FFX had some of the best control & battle game play in any game, to me at least. Back in Lost Odyssey now, though. Battles are handled so well with your team of five characters in your battle party at any one time. At the final point of the game I had all four Immortals & one mortal in my team, but was surprised at the end boss when all my mortals decided to go 'save' the Immortals & I was left to fight the final boss with only my four Immortals. This might sound like shit on paper, but it actually worked out pretty well. I mean, my Immortals do have the abilities of all my mortal characters any road & I was about 50 levels over level by the time I got to the last boss (yea, I got distracted with the 40+ hours of side quests you can do). Overall, the game play through-out the game was great. I have no complaints about it. Even sitting here now & thinking about the game, popping it in for a quick refresher, I have only one issue with the game (to be said later). Even better actually is that if an Immortal dies in your party, after three turns they will automatically revive themselves (they ARE immortal after all guys) which means you only ever have to revive your mortals, or if you're in a super hurry you can revive your immortals as well. Some might see this as a cop out or lame game mechanic, but storyline wise it is right there! Your characters are IMMORTAL,
they aren't going to stay dead if they fall in a battle. I've already commented on the writing of the game, which was phenomenal, though I will say again that whereas the story is a great one & I was enthralled with how it was told, the Dreams were really the cream on the pudding here, but even the main story got a few tears out of me, especially the Epilogue. I know I often say I don't get emotional about games too much, yet most games I review I say, oh I got emotional blah blah, but I'll tell you know that the amount of games I review & the amount of games I play differ vastly. Vastly. So what you see here is a mere fraction of the amount of time I've laid into games, it would make sense than I would only review the ones which were so epic they mean something more to me than a normal game would. I won't review a game I didn't think was worth my personal time to play. I may get a little harsh in my reviews, but in the end, I wouldn't review a game that didn't give me some joy at some time to play (except Borderlands which was fake joy followed by failure). Another really wonderful part of the game were the side quests. While not grand in number, though there were a fair few, they were in depth & so great to do. Finding all the Dreams were one of them which I went after first. Giving insight to the world & also to your characters, the side quests were more than just 'mini-games' you could do for gamer points. They were mini stories you could follow through & at the end of each was a small phial of insight about the character the quest revolved around, or the city you got it in. The lives of those NPCs you met, the history of the land you walked on. It wasn't just fluff thrown in at the last minute; I really wanted to know more at the end of these quests. I wanted to become a part of the world I was traversing. All this being said, there is ONE achievement which I don't know if I will finish... the Treasure Trove one. Now there is a nice thing they've done with this... as you can probably determine, this achievement requires you to loot everything you can in the game, all treasure. This includes posters, chests, lamps, vases, pictures, grass, trees, rocks, steam vents... well you get the idea. The nice thing is that if you missed stuff in an area you can no longer get to, they appear at an Auction House in a city you will always have access to. You can go back to the city & purchase the items at Auction until you've bought all the items you can possibly get from areas you can no longer access. Of course, this still leaves places you CAN access which is a mother load of pain as the places are so intricate that you could spend hours & hours (& many have) looking for all this shit just for this stupid achievement. This is NOT fun. The one complaint I have in the overall of this game. 
Before I end this, I want to comment on the post game or the new game+. Simply put, shit. You start at level 50, nothing else. That's all. Level 50, go play the game again. Lame, but not really a complaint since nothing is offered else in the post game, I have no desire to play it AGAIN, which isn't to say I don't want to play my end file again, which I am liable to do many more times... I still must max my levels after all. Also in this little end blurb I will mention the game is four discs long, but this doesn't matter to be honest. Just install one disc at a time if you'd like. There's no disc swapping once you move forward, so having to progress to the next disc ever 15 hours or so isn't a big deal. I really don't understand the shit people say about games being a few discs long. If it's a good game, I don't care if it's 10 discs as long as I don't have to keep swapping when I want to go back to another town (Star Ocean TLH, I'm looking at you -_- ) I enjoyed this game, greatly. I love this game wholly. I would put it in my top 10 greatest games of all time for sure & would recommend a play through of this game. When I finished it I had 840/1100, but I did get sidetracked with side quests & such which accounted for many points in the end. Now sitting at 950/1100 I will probably go all the way not for the points (well maybe a little! It is a large chunk), but I just want to see everything the game has to give me! I want to explore it thoroughly.

1 comment:

  1. Nice review. It definitely makes me wish I had a 360 so I could enjoy the game.