For this years post, I am choosing one of my favourite under-rated titles, Lost Odyssey. A masterpiece, epic RPG with a beautiful soundtrack and a riveting story, there's a lot going for this, and I absolutely loved all four discs of it.
What is Lost Odyssey about?
Released in 2007 for the Xbox 360, Lost Odyssey follows Kaim, a man who has lived for a thousand years and has no memory of his past. The game is set in a world nearing a magical industrial revolution, where the evil Gongora is looking to take control of the land's Grand Staff, a portal between two worlds, which when destroyed, kills the other immortals, and makes Gongora effectively invincible. With this great surge of power, Gongora is then free to do as he pleases in the land.
Kaim knows that Gongora must be stopped before he reaches and uses the Grand Staff, and so he enlists a team to help him. Along the way they encounter a plethora of enemies and discover new lands, whilst slowly, bit by bit Kaim regains his memories.
Reasons Why I Loved Lost Odyssey
Strong Character Roster
I absolutely love the characters in this game. Whilst admittedly, Kaim, the main character, is a little dull and emotionless at times, his bright, cheery and eclectic party members really make up for it.
The Plot, and Unlockable Short Stories
On the surface, Lost Odyssey's plot is a bit of a cliché one. You know the type, where the bad guy overthrows the Queen, takes over the land and rules maliciously. This world needs a hero!
But at the heart of it all, Lost Odyssey is more than that, and the unlockable short stories, entitled "A Thousand Years of Dreams" was the main reason for this. These short stories are collected at various points in the game, and serve to explain Kaim's thousand year past a little better. Bittersweet, sad, touching and at times, rather funny, they really flesh out what could have been a rather formulaic story.
You can re-read all thirty-five short stories here, although I suggest loading up the soundtrack at the same time. The music really added something to these tales, in my opinion.
For me, the music was one of my favourite aspects of Lost Odyssey. Packed with over 84 songs spanning over the epic four discs of exploration, RPG gameplay, you became
Composed by Nobuo Uematsu, best known for scoring the majority of titles in the Final Fantasy series, the music is fitting for each different landscape explored, and for myself at least, provides an excellent album to pop on in the background whilst writing. I find it motivating, yet relaxing in equal measures.
Lost Odyssey is a combination of an RPG, turn-based strategy and exploration/adventure time game. Whilst I loved the turn-based battles and levelling up of the characters in my party, I also fell in love with the exploration.
I loved interacting with NPC's, discovering secrets, unlocking Kaim's stories and exploring.
This guy, Jansen. I love the wise-cracking, cocky characters that deep down have a good heart. Jansen is definitely one of these, and for those of you that have seen Disney's Tangled, there is something a bit "Flynn Rider" about him.
Flynn is one of my favourite Disney characters, so I guess it was a bit obvious that I'd pick Jansen as the best character!
"Neverending Journey", which plays in the map/loading screen. Just wait until that guitar kicks in at 1.46! Epic.
I love the Kelolons. There's something very Zelda-like about these enemies; weirdly cute and quirky looking.
So, Lost Odyssey truly is a great game, one that deserves a play-through if you have never played it before. The characters are memorable, the story is easy to follow, yet somehow deep and beautiful. The soundtrack, (one of my favourite gaming soundtracks ever), is fitting, and is a brilliant one to listen to away from the game too.
At 4 discs long, it is a bit of a time sink, but for me personally, I remember extra long stints of this game, with plenty of those "just twenty more minutes then I'll power off for the night" moments. After writing this, I'm tempted to jump straight into it again. I salute you, Lost Odyssey.