Sunday, December 16, 2012

Review: Ragnarok Odyssey(Import)

Ragnarok Odyssey
PS Vita
RRP: US$39.99
 Once again, I've had to import another bloody game because the PAL region always gets a middle finger when it comes to Japanese and Asian games in general with a few exceptions(usually crap like the PS3 Atelier games!) Well the big question is whether or not this is worth the import or not... or in the America's case whether they should buy it. Well, here's the review.

The vague story of Ragnarok Odyssey is that you are suppose to be a new recruit for the Sundered Land fortress and you'll need to explore areas to prove yourself before fighting the bigger threats to Rune Midgard... or something like that.

The games has been compared to Monster Hunter a lot in those big boy reviews everyone reads instead of mine, and it is a hell of a lot like Monster Hunter. You play a variety of missions with the same goals you see in every MMO and action RPG these days where you kill X number of monsters or gather Y amount of a certain item. As for how you play, it's a 2 button combo based system and all the special skills are tied to the combos. You can jump, dash step and sprint to dodge or attack from a different angle or height.

 The game has 9 "story" chapters and an extra chapter and as you clear each story chapter you are rewarded with a permanent stat boost. You can play all the missions in both single player and in multiplayer via Ad Hoc(if you can even FIND another person with a copy of the game, let alone a PS Vita) or online with up to 3 other players. Word of warning though, it's extremely laggy online since it never got a PAL region release and almost no one in the PAL region has a copy.

Welcome to the team... your doing all the work!
Game sounds simple and boring right? Well this is a Monster Hunter clone after all. Like Monster Hunter you'll spend a lot of time crafting and upgrading weapons and making outfits. On top of that there's hunting for weapons with better skills and stats and hunting cards for skills to make combat easier.

Cards you say? WTF? What madness is this?! Well instead of getting armor in the game you equip cards to your outfits to boost stats and/or gain abilities to make combat easier. Your outfits can only carry 8 cards or a set value of cards, yes each card has a value cost set by the level and number of skills on the card. Finding the right cards to suit your job class is tough though.

Speaking of job classes, there are 6 job classes in all. The Sword Warrior is your balance class, Hammersmith which is all power and nothing else, Hunter for ranged but weak combat, Assassin's are fast attackers with low strength, Clerics are the self healing noob class and the Mage for suicidal masochist but has high mage power with low... everything! I suggest find a class that suits you and stick with it I went mage so I'm crazy.

Fighting is what you do best.
 During the game you will get to fight against giant monsters, though you fight giant monsters normally but these are colossus sized ones. These fights can be epic and happen every once in a while... and are tough as HELL! This is were 4 player is AWESOME! Seeing 4 people attack a skyscraper sized monster is so cool and taking it down in a pack is just so epic! This is where the game shines in my opinion.

As mentioned before there is no armor. You instead get outfits to choose from so you can look the way you want. This is complemented with a series of hats and both can be dyed 4 different colours(depending on the item in question). Along with these your appearance is customisable from the start and can be changed any time in the game after a certain point. I like being able to build an identity but once you see an exact look-a-like you become disappointed by the limited options.
Playing with others is better... even with lag.
The game does feature some mandatory touch controls but thankfully they aren't intrusive... unlike Assassin's Creed 3: Liberation. You can open you map, express emotions, use items and type with the touchscreen but it never feels stupid. This minimalist approach to touch controls is exactly what developers should do instead of going gimmick crazy... like Assassin's Creed 3: Liberation or Uncharted: Golden Abyss.

Setting up multiplayer games works on a simplicity first basis. You can search out rooms that suit what quest you want or create a room with the purpose of clearing missions that you want to do and you can restrict who enters. Communicating with each other through text is a pain but thankfully you can emote with physical actions and emote bubbles for all the basics and leave text for detailed communication. Luckily communication isn't really needed. As for headsets... not sure if it works.

So was it worth the import? Well if your into repetition and Monster Hunter then yes, if not then run for the hills! I never really liked Monster Hunter myself but Ragnarok Odyssey at least has a sense of purpose and permanent stat boosting. It's also a very addictive game that is hard to put down. I can't really recommend it like I can say... Final Fantasy IX or The Last Story, but I'm sure if you like this type of game then you'll enjoy this. One thing's for sure, it's better then Assassin's Creed 3: Liberation and the DS Ragnarok game.

Score 4/5

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