Have You Played Me?: Lost Odyssey Review
I'm no stranger to experiencing tears when I'm heart deep into a story driven experience, but what Lost Odyssey did was rip my heart right out of my chest, stomp on it, and bring me in for a big hug. Few games have the power to take the player on such an emotional roller coaster ride, but this game has done that and called the ride "Nostalgia".
Following ASH: Archaic Sealed Heat and Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey was developed by Mistwalker, a studio founded by the famed creator of the Final Fantasy series, Hironobu Sakaguchi, in 2007. It tells the story of Kaim Argonar, an immortal with no recollection of his past or his purpose in this magic-industrial-esque world. We have seen this plot used time and time again, but the story focuses more on the sombre side of being able to live forever. Kaim has been alive for a thousand years and has experienced the loss of friends and family time and time again.
It opens with a cutscene of Kaim, effortlessly, cutting down enemy soldiers in a battle. A few moments into it, the player is given control of Kaim in a battle to learn the basics of the game's combat structure and to defeat a giant enemy machine. Once the battle is over a giant meteor erupts in the sky and rains lava and destruction onto the battlefield. Once the smoke clears, Kaim is the only one left alive and so begins his journey to learn about his past.
Throughout the game, Kaim experiences certain events that unlock a part of his memories in the form of short stories called A Thousand Years of Dreams. These small segments can viewed from either the game's main menu, or whenever the player decides to stop at an inn for a break. Although brief, these stories capture the essence of Kaim's life over the thousand years he has walked the earth and they serve as some of the most emotional points during the story.
The world of Lost Odyssey is stunning and 5 years later, it still looks as good as it did upon the game's release. Character models contain typical JRPG fanfare; large breasts and girly male characters, but it fits this world of conflict and struggle. Locations run the gambit of war torn cities, old caverns, massive kingdoms, and even the open sea.
Combat uses a turn based system, but finds its foundations in a ring battle system. When the player chooses to attack a ring appears on the screen and the player must pull the Right-trigger at the right time to perform a successful attack for maximum damage. It takes a little while to get the hang of it, but I found it to be a creative way to keep me engaged in the combat and it definitely helps during the many boss encounters.
Lost Odyssey isn't without its flaws: The frame rate has the tendency to drop during combat; typically during attacks with effects that take up the entire screen, and I've had the game completely freeze up on me a few times. The voice acting also takes a pretty big hit on some parts, because this is a JRPG at its core.
The Xbox 360 has taken a lot of criticism for not offering many incentives for fans of the RPG genre; Sony pretty much has that market locked down. But every so often a gem comes along and reminds of us what made us fall in love with the genre in the first place. Lost Odyssey is in no way perfect, but it does so many things right that it is easy to look over its faults. If you are a fan of RPGs then Lost Odyssey is a game that you must experience.
Very well written story
Voice acting can get down right awkward at times.