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Well since I can't post User Reviews on GameSpot yet due to lack of activity (and the fact that I refuse to pay), I figured I'd just put up my written review for Lost Odyssey on the 360 here:
Lost Odyssey is the latest creation by Mistwalker Studios. Backed up with the father of Final Fantasy, Hirinobu Sakaguchi, the one and only composer, Nobuo Uematsu, a deep and enthralling tale, amazing characters, and outstanding gameplay, Lost Odyssey serves to be an amazing addition to the XBox 360 Library, and the entire genre of the RPG as a whole.
You take the role of Kaim Argonar, a 1000 year old immortal with no recollection of his past. As you guide Kaim through many different scenario's, and upon meeting new people, you slowly but surely regain the pieces of his shattered memory. Many of the memory sequences (which in game are called 'dreams') are presented through text, and this is in no way a bad thing. The presentation of these dreams are very thought provoking, and emotional. As the story progresses, it's easy to realize that Kaim is much more than your simple "cold and silent" hero, and that he is a very emotional, endearing, and deep character. That's not to say that every other character isn't strongly written as well, because that is not the case. From the stories of the other immortals, to the wonderful comic relief known as Jansen Friedh, this game has a strong repertoire of rich characters and incredible development. The story to this game is one of its strongest point, and can easily reach out to even the toughest gamers.
The gameplay in Lost Odyssey is quite solid. It uses the turn based battle system as its form of combat, and this is in no way a bad thing or a "relic of the past." While turn based isn't for everyone, it is still a great system and should be continued to be implemented into the games of this generation as Lost Odyssey so boldly does. This isn't to say that Lost Odyssey doesn't mix things up a bit. The developers have added an Aim Ring system, which rewards players with extra damage when timed perfectly, a Ring Assembly system, which allows players to collect components that can create more rings (as you progress you obviously create more powerful rings), and an element tree which will have you constantly sorting through your created rings to maximize damage against your opponents. Combat is brought about via random encounter, although unlike most, this game doesn't take it to the point where you want to gauge your eyes from their sockets. The battles are paced within the dungeons nicely, and you'll never have a hair pulling moment. Bosses on the other hand, can be difficult at times (which is a great thing, seeing how many games lack difficulty these days) and require thoughtful strategies and tactics to best them.
The sounds of Odyssey? Do I even have to go there? The melodies of Nobuo always create amazing impact, and without fail set the tone of the situations just right (and then some). From the wonderful title screen, to the epic music of battle, to the keys of the dream sequences, yes, Lost Odyssey has music in spades. The sound effects and voices (granted I play with the Japanese voices and subtitles) are equally good. Blades clashing, monsters screaming, ghouls withering away in agony, to even the simple blips of the menu screen. The voice acting is top notch, all the voices seem to fit perfectly with their respective character. This applies especially for Kaim, Jansen, and Seth.
Graphics in Lost Odyssey are phenomenal. Every area in this game is beautiful and distinct in their own ways, and the majority of the characters and monsters are designed quite well. Apparently there are issues with load times and frame rates, but honestly, while there are a lot of loading screens, the majority of them don't take anymore than 4-5 seconds to pass, and they don't make this game any less enjoyable. As for the frames dropping, for the few times that it does happen (in usually the most minute situations as well, usually during a battle introduction), who cares? Minuscule technical issues like this shouldn't have a true gamer reluctant into embarking on the quest that is Lost Odyssey.
In closing, Lost Odyssey is an epic masterpiece that shouldn't be missing in the library of any avid RPG gamer. It doesn't go too far in trying to re-create a system that is already practically tweaked to perfection, but it does more than enough to keep it fresh and fun. In an age where the traditional turn based genre is slowly declining, Lost Odyssey is a breath of fresh air to the fans who still love this awesome ****of gameplay and storytelling. To me, this is a step in the right direction for the genre, and other companies should strive to make more games like this. Compelling characters, breathtaking graphics, surreal soundtrack, powerful story and characters, and ideal traditional gameplay make Lost Odyssey one of the finest RPGs to be released in quite a long time. My hat is off to Mistwalker. This game earns its score of 9/10!
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