The most interesting novel of Xbox 360

OK, maybe not. While Blue Dragon is a love letter to the Saturday Morning cartoon atmosphere of JRPGs Chrono trigger, Lost OdysseyThe goal was to tell a grown-up tale of war, family, memory, and the passage of time, achieved largely through a visual novel-style narrative device rather than the game’s actual narrative. From its brooding, hot protagonist to its techno fantasy world: Lost Odyssey has more in common with final fantasy 8 as dragon quest.

Lost OdysseyThe best quality is the visual design. The world is in the midst of a magic-powered industrial revolution, so everything has that cool, rickety, Victorian art deco style, like steampunk, but with fewer top hats and more bright purple shit. Some of the game’s concept art is by Christian Lorenz Scheurer, who has contributed to many major sci-fi films, including The fifth Element, And Lost Odyssey has the same dense, oversized creativity as this film. The team used Unreal Engine 3 to develop everything, allowing for graphical fidelity that lived up to Scheurer’s designs.

It also caused many problems. Developing the game in Unreal allowed the team to begin development before the Xbox 360 hardware was ready, but they also had to deal with constant updates to the software and a game engine originally designed to run, well, Unreal, a PC, was developed. based first person shooter. Using the Unreal Engine to create a JRPG is a good metaphor for the Xbox 360 in general: a machine designed to create fast-paced, visually stunning action games that are forced to deliver a slow-paced, deliberate storytelling experience.

So how is this narrative? Well it is, uh. Yes.

Players control Kaim, a thousand-year-old immortal warrior. After surviving a meteor impact, Kaim is dispatched by the ruling Council of Uhra to investigate strange happenings at the Grand Staff, a massive magical energy construction project headed by Councilor Gongora, who believes it will finally bring victory to the Watcha Republic nation of Khent. If you love thinly drawn characters shouting made-up proper names at each other, you’ll love it Lost Odyssey.

Kaim is joined on this vital, world-saving mission by Seth, a warrior wearing an armored nightgown, and Jansen, a whiny, useless, annoying git whose charm wears off quickly. Pooh. And of course – stop me if you’ve heard that – Kaim has lost his memory, which, to be fair, ties into the best (only?) original idea of ​​Lost Odyssey.

As you travel the world, Kaim will occasionally “unlock” a memory. These are short stories by the Japanese writer Kiyoshi Shigematsu. “A Thousand Years of Dreams,” as they are called, fills the world of Lost Odyssey and Kaim’s backstory. They are well written and obviously intended to evoke an emotional connection to Kaim that the game’s narrative doesn’t allow for.

But that presents a problem. The writing style of these stories is so good that it emphasizes how weak the dialogue is in the main game. In one minute, read a deeply emotional story about Kaim as he encounters various members of a family whose nomadic religion forces them to continuously march west, leaving their deceased family members behind. And then you end up back in the game with your dimwitted healer whining about the rain and attacking the only woman for a thousand miles who defends herself by demanding Kaim tell her she’s pretty and the only thing Your heroic protagonist is a dismissive TSK because he’s too hot to care about anyone else. The psychological damage caused by this tonal whiplash gave me migraines. It’s like watching Oppenheimer in IMAX and Vanderpump Rules at the same time on your phone.

And so are the stories of The Thousand Years of Dreams as long as. I’m not kidding Shigematsu for being wordy – I’m a writer, I get that – but I do make a point of trying to make an emotional impact with as few words as possible. A Thousand Years of Dreams is a heartbreaking collection of short stories — it was published as a book in Japan — but as the mainstay of a massive video game, it’s super clunky, and that’s one thing Lost Odyssey It doesn’t need more clacking.

Most people don’t start a turn-based RPG and expect an exciting, fast-paced experience. Lost Odyssey tries to add variety with an active attack system where a timed button press deals more damage, but it’s not very engaging. Also, it can be very difficult in the early hours of the morning – good luck on the first boss! — Grinding required, and in contrast Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey There are random encounters with invisible enemies that slow the pace of the game.

Maintaining traditional gameplay should allow Sakaguchi to experiment with his story, and it certainly takes us to some wild places with parallel universes and the character’s emotions influencing the fabric of reality. But as the plot progresses, the characters flatten out into horrifying anime stereotypes that are nothing more than vessels for big emotions. This detaches the interludes from A Thousand Years of Dreams from the characters and makes for a disjointed, unsatisfying experience.

Lost Odyssey Quantity over quality, and its reputation as a hidden gem is a testament to good storytelling in late 2000s video games. I’m not saying it’s impossible to connect emotionally to the story, or that you can go wrong if you’ve personally had one, but it’s easier to connect to a story once you’ve spent dozens of hours with these characters . This Stockholm Syndrome storytelling has given many bad video game narratives legendary status. Lost Odyssey is just another example.

But don’t take my word for it! Lost Odyssey is perfectly playable today thanks to Xbox backwards compatibility. If you like big, engaging anime epics where emotions are more important than storytelling, or if you want to lose yourself in a big JRPG reminiscent of the PlayStation 1 era, give Lost Odyssey a try. Just don’t blame me if this makes you feel hollow, like a dream fading fast.

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