The first thing everyone wants to know is: will Lost Odyssey unseat Final Fantasy as the definitive RPG experience?
Our answer: No, it won’t.
Lost Odyssey is almost everything classic Final Fantasy ever was, but not much else. Having FF creator Hironobu Sakaguchi and composer Nobuo Uematsu on the team gives the game more credit than your average “new” RPG, and the mature plot gets major points for NOT starring some plucky youth out to save his/her village from a dragon. Design, however, does not an RPG giant make. Ultimately, Lost Odyssey loses to Final Fantasy with gameplay that's dense, unintuitive and a total throwback to over-complicated RPGs of yore - none of which are good things when you're trying to overthrow an accessible, mega-popular behemoth like FF.
That said, on to your next question: is Lost Odyssey a good game?
Our answer is... complicated. Lost Odyssey’s strengths are its weaknesses. On the one hand, it’s the best a fan of hardcore RPGs could ask for: a game that goes out of its way to revel in all that is old-school Japanese, to the point of including things that other RPGs have moved beyond, like random encounters, multiple classes of magic (White, Black, Spirit and Composite) and pointless fetch quests. The combat is turn-based, the menus are extensive, the plot is a massive conundrum of emotional angst and confusing cliffhangers, and battles emphasize strategy and planning over button mashing. It’s also very, very pretty, with gorgeous cutscenes and in-game models, as well as rich environments and diverse level designs.
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