Welcome to the Wrath of El Pato! No news this week, lets get right to today’s topic:
THE WRATH IS ON
LOST ODYSSEY AND BAD GAMING
So I finished Lost Odyssey. Well, slaved away to the end would be more accurate. As much of an advocator of storytelling in video games that I am, this is the first time where I think they could have dumped the story of LO in exchange for something more…well playable.
Let’s get things straight, I love the ATB system. As far as turn based RPGs go it creates a good adrenaline rush in between the chaos that isn’t the “We hit you, now you hit us” fest. I don’t mind turn based games. Old school RPGs are a rarity nowadays. I welcome them but, some games do it right, and some don’t. LO doesn’t do it right, in fact, it fails miserably.
The only thing that kept me going was its story, which, was original in every way up to the point of the vice-ish bad guy that had absolutely no redeeming qualities in him. You wanna know why Sephiroth was awesome? Because he was a good guy who turned into a complete scumbag, who we identified with. Hate FFIX all you want, but main villain Kuja was fighting for his own survival in that game.
Gongora just wants to tear stuff up and laugh his ass off about it. He’s worse than Golbez from FFIV, and that’s saying something. Ok, bad-guy comparisons aside, you may notice I am bringing up Final Fantasy games. Might as well, it’s obvious the developers want this to be a continuation of Final Fantasy.
We all need to accept it, Final Fantasy is slowly going the way of Tomb Raider.
But back to Lost Odyssey. The gameplay is bad. Anyone who read my blog where I fight a bad-guy in a forced party of mages and he casts reflect on himself knows, that they have bad game design in here. The skill system was broken beyond belief, simply because having SEVEN levels of magic was ridiculous. How about four levels and a bunch of stat bonuses that accessories have? Let’s not forget that at the end of the game you can’t have any of your mortals selectable for the final battle. While at this point, I am using immortals, it would be nice if they would let me choose my part a la Final Fantasy VI rather than forcing me to use certain characters. What about gamers who slaved away with Jansen or Mack as their favorite character, only to have them snapped away for the final boss battle?
The story was awesome, but it took me a year to slog through this game because I just dreaded every part of it that wasn’t a cut-scene, which is sad because I buy video games to PLAY them. Even Metal Gear Solid II, with its faults, was an enjoyable game to play. It had too many cut-scenes, but aside from them, when I played it, it was FUN! Lost Odyssey doesn’t do that.
LO starts off promising enough, we have a battle, we have two sides, and we have a bad ass named Kaim going ape-shit through the war-zone. After that you get Seth, an ex pirate who forgets her memory, and Janson, the one character that saves any bad parts of the story.
From there you realize that everyone that is immortal came from another world (cool) they live 1000 years for every year in the other world (ok cool) Gongora got possessed by emotions and power (huh? Well ok) and they need to stop him.
It’s just at that fourth disc where everything goes bad for the awesome story, because you are no longer saving a party members life or conducting the funeral for the main characters kid, no, you’re just going to a bunch of random places that the developers threw in at the last minute because they could find no purpose elsewhere. Luckily, it ends soon enough and I never worried about it.
This is the problem: Lost Odyssey tells me that JRPG’s are in fact, dead. The fact is, they really shouldn’t be. If they could invoke a cool combat system and be innovative (which is what I think they try to do with games in the first place), they could keep going. Who doesn’t like a huge story, as linear as it is, but some cool battle system to keep it fresh and the pursuit of “What F*cking happens next?”. Final Fantasy X did it! Xenogears did it! Did anyone bitch? NO! Reviewers went off on the linearity but I never minded it. Now with a game like this it’s linear, with a cool story, but they figured that with a good story they could half ass the system. NO! Much like good graphics do not make a game, the same can be true about a storyline.
Storylines in games are wonderful things. A video game is an awesome medium to tell an original story, but developers need to know to not half ass the rest of the content, much like graphics rich games and take some pride in their work. If they made LO fun to play, I would be going back through it. The problem is, I remember a killer story, but I don’t have the energy to play such a bad game again.