Ragnarok Odyssey Review
- Posted November 30th, 2012 at 01:03 EDT by Timothy Nunes
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Game Art seeks to create a title that'll give Monster Hunter a run for its money. Though it's not quite there, it's a very solid first attempt to an exclusive title that should continue to grace the PlayStation Vita.
- Combat that's easy to start, fun to master
- Highly customizable characters
- Smooth, fast-paced gameplay
- Very repetitive
- Card system doesn't have desired impact
- Overall experience lacks engrossing depth
(continued from previous page) ...really fun, but it would be that much better if the challenge from boss fights carried over into the rest of the game. Hell, Dark Souls has made a killing out of frustrating determined gamers.
One positive note to the quest system is the ability for all players to play with friends either via ad-hoc or online connections. I wasn’t able to test out the ad-hoc functionality, but, if it’s anything like the online aspect, it’s fast and smooth. Connecting into matches takes seconds, and finding matches is as easy as running up to the Tavern and pressing X. The game allows you to set search stipulations according to the amount of quests you’ve completed, but you can literally select a quick search and get entered into a group immediately.
The sounds in the game are a bit generic. Every possible movement and interaction has its own sound, but nothing really comes across as bombastic when it should. The soundtrack is limited to a few customizable songs in The Forgotten Lands, boss fights and monster ambushes. Visually, the game moves perfectly and lag-free. Some character animations are a bit lacking in luster, but others more than make up for that. Where a mage’s fireball will look plain, an assassin’s aerial attack will entertain each time. Up close, most characters and some landscape textures aren’t too vivid, but having a screen full of monsters makes for quite an impressive scene—and an equally entertaining means of mashing buttons.
Ragnarok Odyssey has done something wonderful with the combat system: it’s allowed players to pick it up and use it, and it’s also allowed motivated players the ability to master it. When I started playing, I was able to simply mash triangle and kill anything in my path, and it was initially quite entertaining. Once I confronted the first boss—or rather, what I thought was the first boss—I was forced to further explore the combat system, implement more organized combos, and use square to evade attacks. Since the combat is so fast-paced, similar reactions are required, and the bosses have been known to bash players across the map from time to time. Luckily, for these moments of weakness, players have three lives in each quests, and the only consequence to dying a time or two is a reduced reward of money. In other words, players won’t lose materials taken from monsters while on a quest, as long as the quest is completed.
Ragnarok Odyssey is fun in its own right, but it definitely has room to improve. A hack-and-slash combat system like it has would feel more at home embedded in a deep leveling system, where grinding out monsters and missions had more worth than simply collecting materials and money. The influences of Monster Hunter are prominent here, and it’s taken some of the best things from the acclaimed title and made them more accessible. The Monster Hunter series has a strong, dedicated following, but the gameplay and execution of things within it are quite distant for new players, and Ragnarok Odyssey brings players into its system with open arms. However, MH gives players a reason to struggle through the more strategic gameplay by making the experience much more engrossing, where RO gives players an energetic system that doesn’t yield much.
Ultimately, the monotony of RO may deter MH fans from jumping onboard, but Sony could benefit greatly by teaming up with Game Art to develop another exclusive, more improved sequel to RO on the PS Vita. Again, RO is pretty entertaining, but it’s not the reason to own a PS Vita; at least, not yet, anyway. There aren’t many games that would benefit from sequelitis, but Ragnarok Odyssey is a title that can only get better.
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