Preview: Lost Odyssey (X360)

Publisher: Capcom / Developer: Mistwalker / Genre: Role-playing / Release Date: 10-1-06

Microsoft has stolen a lot of thunder in the gaming world lately with the release of the much anticipated X-box 360 system. However just because something looks sleek doesn’t mean it’s the gaming system of the year, or even for the month for that matter. Every system has to have games to back it up to make it worth it in the end. One of the biggest shortcomings of the 360’s predecessor was the fact that the RPG department was even worse then bare bones. So this time it seems likes the Gates empire is looking to start off on the right foot this time in terms of their RPG library with the brand new title, Lost Odyssey. To show how serious they are to lure the common RPG fan into the 360 fold they have enlisted some of the people who have been behind some of the all time classics in the RPG world. The creator of the Final Fantasy series, Hironobu Sakaguchi is at the helm of this project and many of the people who have teamed with him on other Final Fantasy games are right there with him. The real question here is whether or not Sakaguchi can recapture the magic that made the Final Fantasy series so successful, or will he end up like Rare did after leaving the Big N for so many years, and just wallow in obscurity until another break comes along.

The story concept behind Lost Odyssey is very intriguing to say the least. You will follow the games main character, Kaim Argonar, throughout his life. Or to be more accurate you will follow him through his immortal, or close to it, life of a 1,000 years witnessing all that has happened in this man’s compelling, and also tragic lifetime. Apparently, the object of all of this is to pull on our heart strings a little bit with a classic case of something that on the exterior looks great, but upon a closer look is actually something that is a devastating burden. That is exactly what immortality is for Kaim: a tragedy. Living a thousand years means he has experienced a thousand years of loss. Wives that had aged and died, children that he has lost, and friends who have disappeared in time along the way. It does raise some interesting philosophical questions as well since I think all of us at one time or another have wondered what having real immortality would really be like. All of this will take place in a world that will be very familiar to those of use who have played other works from Sakaguchi. From early reports this world will be a world of very wild and intense landscapes, with a healthy dose of machines and science that infringe upon it. The machines appear to be set up as force of the antagonists leading some parts of mankind to thirst for even more powers that definitely will not be put to good uses.

The actual game play of Lost Odyssey has been very sketchy in terms of concrete information. However, Sakaguchi has been quoted as saying he, “will be trying many new things” in terms of gameplay and presentation with this game since it does go for that epic feel with it’s time span. Admittedly, that will leave us with a lot of possibilities for game play, and hopefully Sakaguchi will deliver. Many different events can happen in a 1,000 years time. Wars, revolutions, plagues, famines, depressions, etcs. are all real world problems the human race has encountered, and it will be interesting to see just how much Lost Odyssey will put their main character through in terms of disasters and realistic tragedies.

The graphics, as I touched upon a bit earlier, are what you would expect from a machine with the capabilities of the X-box 360. Everything is sharp, crisp, and from early screenshots, it definitely tries to capture the mood and mindset of the game from the perspective of their tragic hero, Kaim. However, Sakaguchi definitely is trying to pull out as many stops as he can with this title. Especially when it comes to the music. Enlisted to compose the music for this game is Nobou Uematsu to get the soundtrack for Lost Odyssey ready. Most RPG fans, even if you have not heard of the man, have definitely heard his work in various Square titles throughout the years. The only question that seems to remain is that whether or not all this talent pays off for Lost Odyssey. The pedigree is definitely in place so let’s up, as RPG fans, that this genre finally finds a place on the X-box systems. Stay here with the Pulse for any updates on Lost Odyssey.