Lost Odyssey for the XBox 360

I’m still thrashing around, jumping from game to game. I’ve been on a real old-school RPG kick lately but was getting the itch for something pretty and sparkly, so I ran out and picked up Lost Odyssey based on some friends praising it

Initial thoughts follow. I figure the game is old enough that anyone planning on playing it already has, so this is more for people familiar with the game. I’d love to compare notes.

Bad news first. Its locked up 3 times in 4 hours of game play. I don’t for a second think this is the fault of the game, since GTA IV locked up on me too (causing me to exchange it for the PS3 version). Nope, I think XBox 360 #2 is slowly breaking. But this means I tend to get really stressed out playing if its been more than 10 minutes since I last saved. I wish to heck I could get this on the nice, quiet, reliable PS3.

My first reaction to the game was “Wow, this is JUST LIKE Final Fantasy” which I guess we all knew, but the first town you visit is so reminiscent of the first town in FF XII that it was rather astonishing to me.

The game starts off really slow (IMO) with a ton of Loading screens as you zone in and out of buildings. My first 3 hours was spent walking around town talking to people and kicking containers for treats (all kinds of containers hold hidden objects). When you finally get out and start fighting, you’re face with teeny tiny little critters that you squish like bugs. Not sure why my party members all start at level 9 or 10 if the baddies are level 1. Makes me wonder if I missed a difficulty setting somewhere?

The music so far has been awesome. The graphics are pretty good but stutter a lot (maybe also caused by my 360?) and the character designs are good but not great (this is a hugely subjective comment, though). The 3rd member of your party is super annoying…almost as annoying as the guys in Enchanted Arms. He is, I guess, supposed to be there for comic relief but just ends up annoying, both in terms of bad voice casting (and I do mean casting…the actor does a decent job but it just doesn’t seem like a good voice for the character) and his lines/actions. I tried turning on the Japanese voices but there’s often a lot going on when characters are talking and I felt like I was missing the fun by reading the sub-titles.

Every battle starts with an intro that feels like the beginning of Wonderful World of Disney. I keep expecting Tinkerbell to zoom out in a spiral, wand in hand.

The battle system seems decent. The game has a “ring” system which lends it a bit of a hand-eye coordination challenge in the middle of a turn-based combat system. I’d be happy without it (I love turn-based combat) but also admit it adds to the combat and forces you to pay attention. The Skill system and linking/learning skills from both items and players is pretty neat. The crafting system is fun and makes it almost worth having to check every tree to see if it is “ramable” (some trees have a “Ram” option that causes an item to drop out of it, and sometimes these items are used in the crafting system).

The storyline so far feels cliche in a meta sense, but the personal story lines are interesting and have me wanting to know what’s going on. The Dreams are exceptionally well done; to the point where it seems almost a shame that they are ‘limited’ to a video game. And I’m scared to death I’ll miss some of them. I want to see ’em all!

Hmm, this post reads kind of negatively but in fact I’m enjoying the game quite a bit (if the stupid 360 would stop crashing on me). Can’t wait to get deeper in with more party members and options!