Gendo – Lost Odyssey, Disc by Disc: The FirstApril 23, 2010
I don’t think I made any friends with the last post I made here, so I figured for my next post I would try talking positively about something instead. When I first heard rumblings about Lost Odyssey I didn’t pay much heed, after all I didn’t own a 360 nor did I plan on buying one. Years after the fact I’ve grown to learn that was a mistake and I missed out on perhaps the best RPG of this HD generation. Directed by the father of Final Fantasy himself: Hironobu Sakaguchi; this feels like the true successor to the Final Fantasy line. As I play through the game I’m gonna give my thoughts on the game, disc by disc, and I’ll try and stray from spoilers until the last disc.
So where do we start? I suppose the very beginning is as best a spot as any. Right off the bat I gotta say I really appreciate a few things in the options menu. I like the fact that there is original Japanese dialogue (which is kind of a misnomer because the game was first recorded in English). I do love when game companies include a Japanese dialogue track. Not to say english dubs are bad, I happen to be a very big fan of the dub for Persona 4, but I like the choice being there. One thing does bug me a bit though, the subtitles included are “dub-titles”, meaning they follow word for word the English track. This leads to some phantom subtitles where people aren’t talking but are being subtitled. Also the voice actor for Jansen takes a lot of liberties with the script and ad libbed a bunch so it’s kinda weird. Back quickly to one other small thing I liked was the option to switch the confirm button between A and B on the 360 controller. Being a long time fan of RPGs I’ve gotten used to the confirm button being A on the SNES, and then Circle on the Playstation systems. Needless to say I hate when and RPG switches it up, but having the option here is very much appreciated Mistwalker!
Going over the story the game starts you out in one of the coolest ways I think I’ve ever seen in an RPG. Two warring factions beating the crap out of each other Lord of the Rings style, large machines cutting a swath of destruction on the battlefield. Then enters our protagonist Kaim, kicking ass like any good battle hardened soldier would. Right away I get a little bit of a Cecil (Final Fantasy IV) vibe from him. Then we get the moment that just gave me goosebumps: he’s approached by several soldiers and the camera pans behind him as the games battle theme kicks in and the combat menu seamlessly fades in around him. It’s just executed so well that you can’t help but smile. After a boss fight naturally shit goes sour and the bloody apocalypse rains down on both factions leaving nothing in it’s wake…except for Kaim naturally, confused as to why he alone has survived.
From that point the games story takes Kaim and his companions Seth and Jansen to various locales in the name of their nation Uhra, investigating the Grand Staff which seems to be some sort of magical amplifier; literally a gigantic staff. I really don’t want to get into specifics because I would be spoiling this absolutely amazing game, but the journey through all of Disc 1 has been very entertaining. One of my favourite aspects of the game is the “Thousand Years of Dreams”. Kaim is an immortal, and as such he has lived for a thousand years. He has forgotten many of these memories and at certain points in the game he will suddenly remember something from his past. These are presented in beautifully crafted short stories written by the award winning short story writer Kiyoshi Shigematsu. The voice of every story is amazing, it begins to breathe much more depth and life into Kaim’s character which at the start is pretty much just a cold and stoic man. Some of these stories are pretty powerful, they’ll elicit some strong emotions at times, some could even make you cry. But they’re all amazing and add so much flavour to the game. As long as you’re not afraid of reading…
Overall my impressions from the first disc are very high. Before I end this quick impressions post I did want to touch on the music which is fantastic! In typical Uematsu style the soundtrack is full of memorable songs so far and I’m just head over heels in love with the main Battle Theme and its Boss Theme . Quickly touching on the battle system itself, it’s decidedly “old-school”. However it isn’t bogged down by superfluous crap like so many RPGs these days seem to be want to do. It’s simple and elegant and frankly I like that. I’ve heard complaints that it’s too simple. But frankly if a random battle or regular encounter takes longer than about 3 minutes, you’re doing something wrong developers. Battles like those should be quick and not too frequent otherwise you start to bog down the flow of the game.
In closing, do yourself a favour and check this game out. So far Disc 1 has been awesome and I’m sure the rest of the ride will be just as enjoyable! If you don’t have a 360, go borrow or steal one. This RPG is worth it if you’re a fan of the genre for sure. And make it to the end of Disc 1 at least before you think about quitting if you’re not digging it too much. The end of Disc 1 is fantastic! Emotional, powerful and very entertaining! I can’t wait to pop in Disc 2 and keep going.