I was in temporary possession of a 360 a while back and got to play this game.
Very traditional style RPG, tons of cliches, but an interesting story nonetheless.
The title refers to that time tested classic, the Amnesiac Hero
plot device. But the twist here is that our buddy Kaim, is immortal. He can't even die in combat, sort of. He can be knocked out, but will get up again at low HP in a couple turns as long as there's another party member standing. You'll gather with you other immortals as well as some humans along the way.
Other than the whole not dying thing, the only read difference in how they play is that humans can learn new skills spontaneously at level up, and immortals have to learn them either from a human who has them or from equipment (a la FF9) via your standard AP system.
Speaking of combat, it's turn-based. You enter your up to five person party's commands, and then you and the enemy act simultaneously dependent on the character's speed and what they're trying to do. Using magic or abilities makes them act later than simply using items or basic attacks.
Damage and add-on effects (poison/elemental damage) can be added to an attack by careful timing of a shrinking circle that appears on screen. When the shrinking circle overlaps the stationary one, you can press the trigger to inflict extra damage and such. Very Legend of Dragoon like, but with more riding on your timing.
There's also a Suikoden like aspect to character positioning with a front and back row. Those in the back row are largely protected from physical attack, but the amount of that protection decreases along with the HP of all those in the front row. You have to be careful how you balance your party. Too many people on the back row means the party is weaker overall, but putting the wrong ones on the front row will do the same thing. It's not too tricky to figure out, and there's not much variety once you do. Fighters up front, mages in the back. The only question is how many of which ones do you bring to a given fight.
As to the Odyssey part of the title, remember how Kaim's immortal? Well, he's been around your (standard
) thousand years, living quite the life. Not-really-a-spoiler alert: He will regain his memories at some point. And not just the ones relevant to the main plot.
Going through the world and talking to people or witnessing certain events will restore specific memories to Kaim. These are displayed via some hand drawn scenes and entertaining text tricks. Swirling into place to when talking about wind, fade in/out, popping up at different places on screen, taking the shape of stairs when speaking about descending some stairs. (Very similar to some of the styles you see in poetry, actually.) These are not voice acted like the rest of the game, so if you don't like to read (then what are you doing playing an RPG?
) you might not be as entertained. The stories vary in quality, but for the most part are quite nice.
The game has few flaws. The biggest is the coding. The game is prone to crashes and freezing, unfortunately. This is a known problem not specific to any disc damage (speaking of discs, there are four for this game). This ultimately kept me from finishing it and posting a full review. I did make it to the fourth disc, but the freezing became to bad to ignore.
Some of the voice acting in places can be a bit hammy.
In trying to do something good in that your characters are shown wearing whatever accessories you've equipped on them when a cutscene starts, they've created a bit of narm.
Your characters show up in important or dramatic moments wearing a cat ears headband, or noticeably large lime green bell shaped earrings swinging everywhere. As cool as it is that they created a graphic and behavior for each and every accessory, the wrong one at the wrong time can seriously hurt immersion.
Lots of fun to be had by classic RPG lovers, but the tech problems really bring the game down.
Anyone else played it? What did you think?