When is Final Fantasy not Final Fantasy?
When acclaimed creator of the Final Fantasy series Hironobu Sakaguchi and Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu combine forces to create an epic RPG for the Xbox 360. Sakaguchi’s company, Mistwalker, has created a traditional Rpg with a turn-based battle system and gorgeous visuals.
You play as Kaim Argonar, one of four immortal characters, who has lived for a thousand years. You and your party members are, of course, trying to save the world from the evil Gongora. The story is actually quite engrossing, delving into Kaim’s endless past as well as those of the others.
The battle system is turn-based with some active time button presses at the right time, reminiscent of utilizing Squall’s gunblade in Final Fantasy VIII. The button presses will allow the character to do extra damage based on a variety of rings he or she may have equipped. And here is where the tedium begins.
The amount of rings available is massive. They have attributes ranging from adding status effects to attacks, elemental damage, to giving it more power. These are able to be changed on the fly, in the middle of combat so that you can perfect your attacks based on your opponent.
Now, doing this for every battle may seem a bit obsessive, but it’s actually generally a necessity, thus turning even the simplest random encounter into a strategic and overly complicated fight. It gets old relatively quickly.
The skill system is also fascinating and intriguing but also becomes too much effort. Skills can only be learned by immortals by linking to a skill known by one of your mortal characters. From there it’s simply a matter of using all characters involved in battle and earning enough skill points (think AP in Final Fantasy III/VI). But this requires meddling with party formation after almost every battle.
The other main sidequest in Lost Odyssey is uncovering memories of Kaim’s past called “A Thousand Years of Dreams.” At first you discover a memory and are deeply interested, but as the game progresses you are less and less enthused because they are all mostly similar.
They mostly involve Kaim watching with relative disinterest as human nature shows its ugliest side through war or murder or intolerance.
Unfortunately, as engrossing as Lost Odyssey can be, it can also be too much work. I endured through eighty hours of unlocking pretty much everything until I just decided to skip ahead to the end. I was just too tired to go to optional dungeons anymore.
I had to lay Lost Odyssey to rest. But if you are curious about the game, then it’s best to check it out on a free trial with Gamefly before splurging on it at your local Gamestop store.