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TGS 2007: The Lost Odyssey vs. Blue Dragon: A completely unfair cross-analysis

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Now that Blue Dragon is out and midly sucked hardcore RPG gamers are looking for the next big thing on Xbox 360.  Few titles are as poised to rank as the top spot as Lost Odyssey, the slick-looking Unreal Engine turn-based smorgasborg of high production value and heroic men with exposed bellies. If there is any evidence that the Japanese press is interested in this game, take a look at the photos posted in the gallery below. I had to elbow my way past the crowd to get close and snap these, only to be shoved away for not having express permission. How the hell am I supposed to do my job?  Oh, right -- let me stand like ten feet away from your booth babe jurisdiction and use my zoom lens. PWNED!
 
The presentation lasted roughly thirty minutes and featured a few cinematic cut scenes with impressive facial expressions, dramatic spoke dialog, and unpolished interior castle decor. Obviously this game is under works so please pardon any disparaging remarks I may issue here, but the game could not look more formulaic. Some early impressions of the good, the bad, and the WTF after the jump. 
 

Here's my quick and dirty take on the game:

  • Fast, slick looking GUI and menu screens.  You get in and out of battle at least 50% faster than in Blue Dragon, which was my biggest gripe about the game.  There's minimal loading and the battles are fast paced like any old turn-based Final Fantasy title.
  • Very cool use of Picture-in-picture cinematography techniques in the cut scenes. Even if they are just standing there they may open a window to pan across one of the character's facial expressions. This is a good break from the space-filling that some anime and other RPG games do as they pipe in the music to make up for the lack of facial expression.  Good stuff.
  • Despite the fact that the game is turn based, each turn implements button timing to determine the strength of the attack. The damage you perform isn't random -- nor does it require the long and boring "bar build-up" charging seen in Blue Dragon. Oh, I'm just asking for it now from the BD fanboys. Full disclosure: not a Dragonball fan either.
  • Amazing weather effects. Have you ever played a game where it began to rain hard and the hero seemed completely unphased as if leaves were falling, bravely soaking to a rust with a stoic expression of indifference?  The protagonist puts up his arm to deflect the rain and is generally annoyed. The audio was also superb.
  • Possible plot spoilers: The battle we saw put the trio of adventurers on the top of a mountain overlooking a futuristic slick tower in the middle of a peninsula. The hero has a flashback to standing naked, nipples flailing in the horizon. Then the darndest thing happens at the precipice: a big dragon comes around the mountain and surprises you. I hate it when that happens! 

    The other cinematic we saw involved a maid delivering a bowl of soup to a girly-looking prince who almost sampled it before it was swaffed out of his hands by a burly knight who then fed it to a mouse that quickly died ... and imploded into a mandragora before they set him on fire. After the prince evacuated the brave knight exited he gave money to the maid what appeared to be a payoff and he laughed.  This would have been a surprise had the facial expressions and features modeling on the knight's face not have immediately identified him as a clear and obvious bad guy.

    I don't know a word of Japanese and saw right through the entire sequence before it started. Its this kind of crap that Ebert can cling to when he says video games are still crude, and it upsets me that companies creating mature RPGs are STILL doing it. We're (mostly) not retards, people!
  • Unlike Blue Dragon, there are random battles. With the exception of boss battles, the gameplay is very similar to the last generation Final Fantasy games.  This is rather unfortunate since the rest of the game is so next-gen. I'm sure a ton of people are not going to be happy about this.  I was surprised, since early screen shots had giant monsters on screen like Final Fantasy 12 on the PS2. It's pretty sad that last-gen hardware has gameplay innovations ahead of this title despite the budget and polish of the game. Ahem.
Obviously, the game isn't out yet so this entire comparison to Blue Dragon is unfair and cruel, but my gut feeling is that fans of the old-school turn-based style RPG are not going to be disappointed.

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Niero Gonzalez
Niero GonzalezMeat Vessel   gamer profile

I keep Destructoid weird. Also I'm a playable character in Retro City Rampage, look: (along with the whole 2009 Dtoid Editorial team) Sometimes I have a villainous mustache My dog CoCo chec... more + disclosures


 


 



Filed under... #Does it suck? #Previews #Role-Playing Games #Xbox 360

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