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Lost Odyssey Preview

publisher: Microsoft
developer: Mistwalker
genre: RPG

ESRB rating: T

release date: Feb 12, 08
» All About Lost Odyssey on ActionTrip

Microsoft recently slashed the price of its X360 console. On top of that, the industry giant has a fair amount of promising titles lined-up for the upcoming fall and Xmas season. On this occasion, we take a closer look at the Xbox 360-exclusive RPG, Lost Odyssey, from Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi. The game is scheduled for a North American release in 2007 (a specific release date still wasn't mentioned). Before we go any further, we should also point out that the same team (i.e. Mistwalker Studios) is also working on another X360-exclusive, Blue Dragon.

Lost Odyssey introduces players to a rich fantasy setting, depicting the story of Kaim, an immortal warrior who has roamed the lands for thousands of years. His long life span forced him to live many centuries in never-ending pain, as he kept losing those he loved the most (a bit of a Highlander-esque motif there). The narrative is most likely going to follow the main character as he fights to cleanse the lands of a powerful evil. Yeah, it sounds clich'd, I know, but that's about all the information on the storyline Microsoft let slip. The rest of the plot remains hush-hush for now. The only thing known at this stage is that a bonus feature titled called "A Thousand Years of Dreams" will come with the game - it basically represents a series of tales, presented through images and sound, which tell more about Kaim\'s past.

The developers chose to be tight-lipped on storyline, although they didn't hesitate to unveil some of the key characters that are going to appear in the game. While participating in a series of fights, Kaim will be accompanied by Sarah, a hot-looking chick with magical abilities. In a particular mission, Kaim and Sarah are forced to fight against various robotic hostiles. The combat will be mostly simple and easy to get into; with but a mere well-timed push of a button, you will be able to perform a certain move or target and wipe out enemies with a specific spell. From what we've seen, the game's combat, similar to the one seen in Blue Dragon, involves a standard Final Fantasy-style routine, featuring a strict turn-based system. There's a regular sword attack, for instance, in addition to both defensive and offensive magic to utilize when fighting enemies.

Now, at the E3, a battle sequence was shown, where both Kaim's sword attacks and Sarah's long-ranged spells come fully into play. Also, their combined powers will come in handy when dealing with bosses that await at the end of certain sections. Of course, these won't be the only characters in the game. Seth, an aged fighter with a serious-looking gun, will also appear from time to time. Regardless, of which character you happen to be playing with, it's possible to rely on the environment in order to overcome specific enemies or bosses. For example, in some situations a crane will be holding up explosive canisters, which can be targeted and used to weaken your foe. Nothing revolutionary, of course, but it's a nice moment.

In case you were wondering, Lost Odyssey is yet another game running on the Unreal Engine 3. The already popular technology allowed for the use of a highly detailed textures and some kick-ass particle effects, which should indeed work perfectly for an epic role-playing game. Some of the spells can cause a range of pleasing visual effects, as revealed during the E3 presentation. The game's camera also features a few advantages, such as being able to zoom in at various points and pan around at will as you're venturing through the level on foot, which gives you a decent opportunity to survey the surroundings more carefully.

Unlike Mistwalker's Blue Dragon, which has sort of a cartoonish feel to it, Lost Odyssey features slightly more "serious" (or "grown-up" if you will) artwork and character designs (done by Slam Dunk artist Takehiko Inoue) and all of that comes off pretty well in the game. To correspond with the brilliant art direction, the makers of Lost Odyssey relied on the Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu to come up with the appropriate tunes for this one. It's nice to know they're making an effort on every aesthetic aspect of the game.

In any event, the info on the game is scarce, since MS and Mistwalker are keeping a tight lid on the whole project until its release.

Blue Dragon is scheduled to appear during the end of this month (the 28th to be exact), while Lost Odyssey still doesn't have a specific launch date set. We'll bring you more info and media as soon as it becomes available. In the meantime, we hope this preliminary look will give you some idea of what to expect from this promising Japanese-style RPG.



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