May 15, 2008

Lost Odyssey, Part 4

Graphics & Sound:
On to what I consider the least important, but still key, point of the review. Yes, that's right, I don't care that much about graphics. A game needs to look good, but if the story and gameplay aren't there (especially the story) it's not worth playing all the way through.

Lost Odyssey makes use of Unreal Engine 3, but it doesn't suffer near as much as Mass Effect does from late texture pop-in. Nearly everything in the game appears to rendered in-engine, though there are a few points - it's been a while and I can't be arsed to think of when, exactly - that look like they were pre-rendered, but at no higher texture or actual resolution than the rest of the game.

The resources of the game do cause some minor to fairly noticeable lag on entering one of the game's random combats. The game does a reasonable job of hiding it from the player, mainly by showing off the scenery while it loads in the combatants, but that can get tedious at times.

One of the odder things visible in the game are some of the accessories that you can wear. Several of them, most head/ear-pieces, are visible during the normal cutscenes. This can have the habit of undermining an emotional scene if, say, Kaim is wearing the Mimint Ears (a head-piece that looks like a pair of cat ears). I'm all for visible equipment in games, but if it's going to be disruptive like that, I'd rather not have it.

Technically I did say I'd review the sound, but unfortunately I don't really have a sound system. Therefore, I don't feel qualified to talk about anything other than the voice and music.

With the exception of the crappy pop song previously mentioned, the music was pretty good - probably Uematsu's best since he left Square. It's been way to long for me to say anything else right now.

When it comes to the voice acting, I'd also say that it was fairly acted, with the most obvious standout being Michael McGaharn as the voice of Jansen (the only notable past credit I could find is that he voiced Knuckles the Echidna in both the original and updated Sonic Adventure game). The most notable voice actor they had (and they all appear to focused on voice, for the most part) was Michael Bell. The name probably doesn't ring a bell, but he voiced Medivh in WarCraft III, Raziel in several of the Legacy of Kain games, "Additional Voices" for several of the C&C games, and voiced Drew Pickles & Charles Finster, Sr. in all incarnations of the Nicktoon "Rugrats".

It was a good game. I'd recommend it as a buy for anyone looking for a good, traditional RPG for their XBox 360. Odds are good though, that if you've never taken a liking to any of the Final Fantasy series then you won't like this.

I hear they're planning a sequel. If you play through to the end of this, you'll know why I want it to be a direct sequel and not just a brand name. There are just so many directions they could run with the world they've created.