|System: X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Mistwalker||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Microsoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 12, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The Aim Ring System is a really cool innovation. Melee attacks are made more effective by squeezing the RT button and letting go when the outside ring settles into the inner ring. Timing the sequence right and getting a "Perfect" rating will add significant damage as you progress. The Aim Ring System is actually quite similar to the Gunblade controls of Final Fantasy VII. The rings are a great addition because not only do they make combat a bit more skillful and interesting, they also can be upgraded throughout the journey.
As you travel through the wilds you will acquire mundane items called ring components that can be combined in order to make powerful rings. You will also find or be given special rings. These unique rings are very powerful indeed. They typically imbue the wearer with three effects that strengthen their attacks or grant skills and abilities. However, they cannot be altered by components. During battle each character can change their rings to suit the enemies that face them before every round. This will prove to be an important tactic to employ as you whittle away at your enemies' walls with one kind of attack and then switch to take on their backline with a completely different set of weapons and tools.
Along your journey you will unlock the long forgotten memories of Kaim Argonar. Written by the famous Kiyoshi Shigematsu, these memories are not cut-scenes or even storyboards; you will be inundated with page after page of beautiful prose that will make the unwary weary. Fortunately, it is not essential to read these chapters. If you don't want to take the five to fifteen minutes out of your game time to read them you can simply cancel the sequence. However, one can't help but feel as though they're missing something by doing so, and they'd be right. In order to get the full experience of Lost Odyssey you'll have to like to read a lot.
The characters are great, the world is huge and full of danger, there are quests galore, and the story is very well written. Unfortunately, the pacing of the title is extremely slow. Between unforgiving load times and interminable dream segments, you will literally lose hours of game time. This will probably prove to be the game's Achilles heel, making it truly enjoyable only to the handful of 360 owners that considers patience to be a virtue.
The production values of this title are second to none. The creativity that went into world-building, creature creation, and the artwork is fantastic. The boss battles and story writing are ambitious and impressive. The visuals are stunning and the voiceover is really well done. The graphics are only hindered by the not-infrequent-glitches due to technical frame-rate issues. However, the overall impression is a thing of beauty and the world feels plausible. The melodious BGM themes are the best I've ever heard. The subtle music intricately and masterfully incorporates sounds that produce a feeling in the gamer that doesn't grow tiresome. The voice acting is also pretty good, but it pales in comparison to the musical themes. Still, some of the lines are delivered so well they will actually make you laugh out loud. This holds true for every supported language. I especially liked the sound of the Japanese track, but the lips simply do not sync up, which may be disconcerting for some. Oddly enough, English, German, French, Japanese, and Italian spoken tracks are all supported, but Spanish was conspicuously left out.
There are hours upon hours of interesting content for gamers to explore and uncover in Lost Odyssey. Sadly, the pace of the game is rather slow and will deter the vast majority of 360 fans from purchasing and/or completing the game. That's too bad because the epic adventure and masterful writing make for a truly compelling title. It's a shame to admit, but this is a game that probably should have been released for Sony Fanboys, not for the frag-centric 360 demographic.
CCC Lead Contributor / News Director