Review: Lost Odyssey

For Lost Odyssey to be a success, it had to shine far beyond the average game. It had to grow up in a world where its brother, the Final Fantasy series was considered near perfect. The game would have to live up to nearly impossible expectations, as the comparison between the two began far before its release. Still, despite having these expectations unfairly lumped upon it, Lost Odyssey manages to solidify its position within the JRPG genre. While it is not particularly innovative, it serves as an enjoyable experience that pays clear respects to the classics that formed the genre. Lost Odyssey’s biggest flaw is also one of its biggest strengths: it adheres closely to its roots. It provides no true innovations, other than a few minor tweaks, but if you enjoy classic JRPG gameplay, this game is a must buy, as it is the strongest iteration to appear on the Xbox console.

Lost Odyssey doesn’t provide a particularly moving story; however, this short falling really doesn’t detract from the overall quality of the game. While the storyline may seem somewhat rehashed and as predictable as the flip of a coin, the game still manages to suck you in to its universe. The game provides strong, multifaceted characters to drive gamers forward toward its epic climax. The game starts off with an extraordinary battle, reminiscent of the beginning of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Through this battle, which serves as a tutorial, the story is set in motion and gamers are thrust into the role of Kaim, a stoic, silent type who has lost any semblance of his memory. As the game progresses, these memories will begin to flood back to him. Additional characters will tag along and will provide the backing for the game itself. In particular, Jansen, a loveable yet annoying ladies man, serves as a perfect foil for Kaim, often providing comic relief to break the tension.

Graphically, the game continues to demonstrate its focus on characters, by providing some of the best looking character models in a game to date. While these may be impressive, the rest of the game will leave you hoping for a bit more, as it is good but not great. The impressive CGI cut scenes leave you wondering what could have been, due to the clear and drastic difference between it and the actual gameplay. The battle animations are impressive at first, but they become increasingly redundant.

The gameplay itself is your standard turn based fare. It provides a slight innovation with the battle ring system; however, this system plays little importance in the overall impact of the battle. The game provides a few mini-games as players progress through the story, however, most really don’t add anything to the game and are palatable at best. The game could really use a improved save feature, as many gamers live busy lives and will have a hard time guaranteeing an hour’s block of time for the game, which will sometimes be needed to get from one save to the next. While the game offers no real replayability other than just playing through the title again, Lost Odyssey provides gamers with a solid forty plus hours before completion.

The voice acting is solid, and the main group of characters is particularly well-voiced. Mack and Cooke fall prey to the usual childish overacting that occurs with many portrayals of children in games. The music soundtrack is impressive, but overly redundant, as can be expected with a JRPG title. You will likely find the battle music replaying within your head, as it will have been pounded into your skull through the course of the game.

Lost Odyssey is nothing truly remarkable; however, it is a solid and enjoyable experience. JRPG lovers will be extremely satisfied with the outcome of this title, and it is by far the best to be seen on the Xbox 360. Still, it seems like it missed some of its potential.

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