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Odyssey Found? – Part 4 –

Late to the party on finishing Lost Odyssey, I’ve decided to chronicle my adventure through each disc of the game. Kaim’s struggle resonates with me strongly and I’m hoping to figure out some lingering questions about my life by defeating this game.

This blog is entry 4 in a series of 4. After I complete each disc, I will give my reaction to it’s specific content. Think of this as an extended review or analysis. You can read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 by clicking on the links provided.

Odyssey Found?   Part 4

With purpose, life really isn’t so bad. An eternity might seem like forever, but having happiness and a set goal will make any extended stretch seem quick. Kaim learns this at the end of Lost Odyssey, but I sadly just cannot reciprocate the feeling. I enjoyed the game, sure, but it definitely needed some trimming.

For starters, I got so damn lethargic about completing the game that I actually just skipped playing it for an entire day. I went about reviewing another game and watching some Game Grumps while contemplating if I truly wanted to see Lost Odyssey to the end.

I pride myself in finishing everything I start. Other than the odd RTS games that conquer me in terms of raw skill; there isn’t a game I haven’t beaten. I love finishing things to their bitter end and will do so to the detriment of my own health. Lost Odyssey really pushed me to my limits.

I fully understand why JRPGs didn’t take off this generation. When a single battle takes upwards of 25 seconds to load, you know there’s a massive problem. Getting through the final dungeons with a party that’s over-leveled is tortuous. I was killing the mindless cronies in single blows, yet I still had to take about 4-5 minutes out of traversing the world to do so.

The general performance of Lost Odyssey is also deplorable. The framerate constantly crawls along and the game tends to not read fast enough, making for random stuttering and enemies failing to commence their own attacks. I seriously thought my 360 was either going to explode or eat the game alive.

Then there’s the nonsense of no manual saves. I know this is a staple of the JRPG subgenre, but I really hate wasting an hour on a failed boss attempt only to have the power go out and me to lose my progress. I threw my controller in a fit of rage and was very close to smashing the game.

Odyssey Found?   Part 4

I also have to make mention of how linear the first three discs truly are. People always complain about Final Fantasy XIII being a hallway for 30 hours, but Lost Odyssey is very much the same thing. When I got to the fourth disc, I realized how little I actually saw of the game. I had to start looking up a guide just to proceed.

Even with these odd design choices, it does feel nice to see such an epic to conclusion. Lost Odyssey isn’t the longest game I’ve ever beaten, but plowing through four discs worth of content and sinking 45 hours into a journey with some great characters is just awesome.

I am saddened that the short stories in the “Thousand Years of Dreams” didn’t continue to be as strong. The writing never ceases to amaze and genuinely move, but the integration into the main plot just vanished. The first story in the game came to Kaim when he was at a motel, reeling from the loss on the battlefield.

By the end, you simply just go around and collect the ones you missed. There are some specific to the fourth disc, but they honestly serve no purpose other than to further flesh out Kaim. It feels like a missed opportunity to expand upon the rather generic main plot of the game.

The final dungeon also has a tremendous amount of busy work. You go around pushing buttons and moving a platform in a move that honestly feels like padding. I can’t think of any justification for why you’d need to move an elevator left or right, other than to aggravate the player.

The final boss is also a pushover. There are two creatures you fight in the final area, but the first one is stronger. Even some of the random encounters were harder to deal with than the penultimate baddie. The battle rages on long enough to drill in the sense of urgency, but holy crap was I exhausted.

That simply sums up the fourth disc of Lost Odyssey: confusing and exhausting. A story with a clear focus and exemplary detail devolves into a deluge of yelling and overly long battles. At least the ending isn’t a cop-out.

Odyssey Found?   Part 4

With the game being over, I’d definitely recommend it to the hardcore RPG lovers. Casual fans may find some things to enjoy, but the archaic design is certainly an acquired taste. I would have never been able to tackle this game a few years ago. Maturity has helped in that regard.

I do wish that the novelization of the “Thousand Years of Dreams” was available in English. Those short stories drove me to tears almost every time. I cannot imagine how my life would be without them, which is probably the point.

Learning to appreciate my mortality, coming to terms with the passage of time and accepting that life does get better: Lost Odyssey certainly teaches one to look on the bright side. I just wish that every facet of the game were truly golden.


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