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6:28 AM on 01.31.2008

Lost Odyssey: Hands-On

Lost Odyssey is a RPG developed by Mistwalker and feelplus, the same guys behind Blue Dragon, with big names such as Hironobu Sakaguchi and Nobuo Uematsu of Final Fantasy fame on board. This time round they are joined Daisuke Fukugawa (FFT, Legend of Mana), Takeahiro Kaminagayoshi (Legend of Dragoon) Takamasa Ohsawa (Shadow Hearts 2, Shadow Hearts From the New World). The dreams found in the story are found from the novel 1000 Year Dream written by Kiyoshi Sigematsu

The game incorporate some new and other old mechanics found in other RPGs in terms of game play and storytelling.
The one that caught my attention the most though is the 'Dreams' mechanic.

Dreams is probably one of the reasons that make Lost Odyssey such a unique RPG. In Lost Odyssey you play as Kaim, an immortal who have lived for over a thousand years. Even though he had lived for such a long time, Kaim has no recollection of the past for some unknown reason.

This is where Dreams come into play. Dreams are essentially forgotten memories of Kaim which are triggered by events that happen in the game. Dreams come in the form of stories that relate about Kaim's past. The dreams are fully text-based and provide some back-story on Kaim. All of the dreams I have found so far, are all extremely well written, meaningful and very touching.

Another cool thing about dreams is that only a few of the event triggers are scripted. The other events have to be discovered on your own.

For instance, there is this generic-looking soldier drinking beer in the tavern who can be easily overlooked as any other NPC. However, if you talk to him, you would trigger a Dream about Kaim's meeting with a soldier in a bar. There is no telling which NPC would trigger a dream until you spoke to them.

The battle system in Lost Odyssey is different from your regular RPG as well. It is kind of a mixture between Elite Beat Agents and Legend of Dragoon. During battle, a ring will appear in the middle of the screen. When itís your turn to attack, hold down the RT button and a second circle will appear on the screen. The longer you hold the RT button, the smaller the second circle would be. Like Elite Beat Agents, once the two circles are of the same size, release the trigger. Depending on how accurate you are, you will be told if itís perfect, good or bad, with the former dealing bonus damage and the latter dealing normal amount of damage.

Lost Odyssey also uses a wall system. Like most RPGs, your party can be assigned to either the front or back row. Your front row act as a wall to protect the party members at the back. The more hit points the party members in the front row have, the higher the defenses of the party members have. This system adds more depth to the combat system as it works for the enemy's party as well. You will have to decide whether you want to take down the armored warrior-classed monsters in the front row completely before going for those mage-classed ones at the back or just damage the warriors halfway and go for the mages earlier before they deal more damage to your party.

There is also the Skill Link mechanic, it works in a way similar to the junction mechanic found in Final Fantasy 8. In Final Fantasy 8 you assign a GF (Guardian Force) to your character and learn abilities by earning SP.
In the case of Lost Odyssey, instead of a GF, you equip accessories with abilities and learn them after earning a particular amount of SP in battle. After learning the ability from the accessories you can choose to assign it to your skill set. Thus, allowing you to equip other accessories instead.

Hopefully this help the people who are interested in this game.

Lost Odyssey comes out for the Xbox 360 on February 12th   read

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