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 lard pirates dawt cawm  §  Lost Odyssey in a Nutshell / by Spoony Spoonicus
 the waggoner  §  articles and general riff-raff exceeding your expectations of worthlessness.
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 ~Spoony Spoonicus on 12:17pm 04/12/13 (10:10pm 02/19/09) in 5h3s  §  5688 eyeballs
 chained to: Games in a Nutshell  §  first - previous - next - latest
 Bustin' down plots like the T pities fools.
 anchors: none.
At first I'd thought that Square's talent had left the company to form Mistwalker, which would account for the general awfulness of their recent games. I see now that I was mistaken and that the few talented designers and writers at the company all defected to Monolith Software!

The scene is a battlefield, where a lot of people are fighting and machines are throwing around big metal battering rams. This means absolutely nothing to the player as no setting, backstory or characters have yet been established. Cut to one guy recreating a scene from a bad kung fu movie as he effortlessly takes out dozens of soldiers, who always fight him in groups of no more than three and give him convenient breaks to catch his breath.

Kaim: Yeah, I'm the hero of this story. I'm also an indifferent dick who broods all the time and speaks even less than Squall.

An extremely long battle against a large tank occurs. Not because you'd think a guy with a sword would have a hard time taking down a metal war machine, but because every single attack he throws takes about ten tedious seconds of load time, a lengthy animation of him running up to it, more load time, watching him hit it once and then running back. It's straight out of Final Fantasy 8, only it's somehow even more drawn-out and dull. Also, there's a half-assed ripoff of Legend of Dragoon's targeting system to let you inflict more damage. Yes, Legend of Dragoon. That crappy PS1 Final Fantasy clone that nobody bought.

Kaim: God, this is boring. When does the fun start?

We're already falling back on lazy deus ex machinas becuase as soon as the battle ends a volcano erupts with lava covering the entire battlefield, killing everyone but Kaim and a few enemy soldiers. Ironically being doused in molten granite does not in any way hinder their willingness or ability to fight; they still deal single-digit damage and die with one solid hit. Seeing that there was a lone survivor (completely discarding all of the others who crawl out of the ground like zombies on their way to fight you), a couple of soldiers insist that you accompany them to meet the king.

Spoony: This could have been a perfect opportunity to establish Kaim's immortality by having him be the only survivor, but nope! Thoughtless and formulaic game design once again subtracts from the storytelling element. A common element in all things Square Enix, incidentally.

Kaim gets carted back to town. It's at this point that we realize that, just like Final Fantasy X, nobody can wear an outfit that isn't asymmetrical or riddled with eighteen pounds of useless, tacky decorum. If wearing armor, it must also hang on their person in scraps that, in a realistic situation, would provide no actual protection and likely just serve to hinder their movement - definitely nothing that should be worn in a life-and-death battle.

Also just like Final Fantasy X, there's no world map or indeed any free roaming whatsoever, so the game is little more than a series of linear corridors peppered with enemy fights. So much for the feeling that you're exploring a vast new universe - a staple of the RPG genre since it's fucking inception!

Kaim: Aren't we going to see the king?
Soldier: Nope, just you. You get to walk the rest of the way. And yes, we're going to assume you know the way even though your character logically would, but the player doesn't.
Kaim: Wonderful.

Kaim bumbles around town aimlessly until realizing he's being followed. In a move that smacks of overraction since we've already seen him survive a volcano eruption and subsequent landslide, he pulls the guy into an alley, strangles him and pins him against a wall.

Idiot: Uh, ah, uh, ah, uh, ah, uh, ah, uh.
Kaim: Nevermind, get out of here.

Kaim eventually finds the castle, which is harder than it sounds since the map screen's text is so small it's almost unreadable. Seriously, what is it with RPGs on next-gen systems having tiny unreadable fonts? It's called "increasing the point size", you nimrods!

King and his Council: Blah blah blah Grand Staff blah blah War blah blah Kaim is immortal blah blah Kaim is cursed blah blah. Kaim, go check out Grand Staff.
Kaim: How do I get there?
Councilmen: We could just give you a map, but instead we're going to have Idiot guide you.
Idiot: WHINE FUCKING INCESSANTLY. Oh hi, I'm Idiot. I'm apparently supposed to be the comic relief character, but my humor just come across as really forced and my constant bitching makes the player want to bash my head in with a brick. ...Just like Zell!
Kaim: Goddamnit.
Councilmen: There's another Immortal coming with you too. You'll meet her soon.

Kaim leaves.

Girl: Hi I'm the immortal they mentioned! I'm also really airheaded and apparently later on I'm the hero's romatic interest. ...Just like Rinoa!
Kaim: Good to see that Sakaguchi's departure from Square and formation of his own game studio has allowed him to branch out and explore new realms of possibility that continuing work under their banner wouldn't have afforded him. As opposed to just rehashing the same bland characters and tired story elements over and over again.
Girl: Just like in everything else he's made since 1992! Hehe!
Kaim: Alright, fine, we leave in the morning.

Spoony: You'd also be forgiven for thinking that Sakaguchi has never even spoken to a woman before. Every one he writes is either an emotionless robot or acts like a seven year old in a cookie commercial. I've never meet a full-grown woman anywhere who acts like this. Nor do I want to.

After talking to some random, inconsequential boob in a bar, you get the message "KAIM RECEIVES A MEMORY! GO TO THE MENU TO VIEW IT!" Out of morbid curiosity, Kaim decides to view it.

Kaim: ....Wow. It's nothing but text on a background that changes colors once in a while.

Far too long passes.

Kaim: Okay, I'm tired of this. Can I skip the rest? ...No I can't.

Even longer passes.

Kaim: If you're not going to just show a cutscene, can you at least put more than one sentence on the screen at a time so it doesn't take three hours to read? ...Wait, what am I saying? If you did that it would just be in that unreadable microfont again.

Yet more time passes.

Kaim: Well, that was a chore. Is there any point to these dream scenes at all?
Girl: You get an achievement for them.
Kaim: Any REAL point?
Girl: They're supposed to make us sympathize with your character and make you look like less of an asshole.
Kaim: Oh, I see. They couldn't just show me being nice to somebody.
Girl: No, that would be far too easy.
Kaim: *Sigh* at least they're decently written. Guess Sakaguchi can write something other than bland, underdeveloped characters and predictable storylines when he tries.
Girl: He didn't write them, though.
Kaim: ...It figures. The one part of Lost Odyssey's writing that isn't completely trite and generic was penned by a guest author who doesn't even work in the gaming industry.

Kaim finally just goes to the Inn as more boring exposition plays. The next morning rolls around and they prepare to leave.

Girl: Hey, where's Idiot?
Obviously Drunken Idiot: Apparently I'm popular with these two women even though nobody else in the game likes me at all. Also, WHINE FUCKING INCESSANTLY.
Kaim: Let's go, dumbass.


Girl: Here we are, a random field of no consequence.
Kaim: Shut up already. You're not amusing or even interesting in the slightest.
Idiot: That's funny coming from you, Gothic Squall.
Kaim: ...Touche.

Puncho puncho ram ram

Idiot: Hey, a cabin. Let's stop and rest.
Kaim: We've been walking less than ten minutes in between all the fights.
Kaim: Fine, fine. Let's just waste an entire day when Grand Staff is apparently so dangerous that one small glitch can kill thousands of people.

The next day, they're on their way again.

Idiot: WHINE FU--
Kaim: Say one more fucking word and I'm cutting your tongue out and feeding it to that thing.

The dragon wipes out the entire party in three turns.

Kaim: Jesus Christ on a pogo stick, why is this guy so damn hard? He's the first boss, for fuck's sake.
Girl: Because we only have three skills and we're expected to have risen at least ten levels even though every single battle takes like eight minutes to finish?
Kaim: Oh, wonderful.

Kaim grinds for a few hours and dies a few more times before Spoony realizes that he doesn't give two fucks about what happens next anyway and trades it toward the vastly superior Persona 4.

Spoony: Man, this game bites. Not only is it tedious and boring, it's derivative. Everything here has been done somewhere else, and hell, most of it's been done by this very same guy - the "technological revolution" and steampunk technology aspects are lifted straight from Final Fantasy VI, the characters and overlong, repetitive combat animations from Final Fantasy 8, the aesthetic style (or lack thereof) from Final Fantasy X, the combat system from Legend of Dragoon, and the overall "start with a Macguffin plot about a war and develop into stopping a world-destroying megalomaniac" story from just about every RPG ever made. Even the "immortals from another world" aspect is stolen straight from the worst of the Highlander films, and that's just bad*.

* Sheesh, Sakaguchi. First you crib the climax of Final Fantasy X from Battlefield Earth (to say nothing of the wholesale plagiarism of Grandia II's scenario, story and characters) and now this? If you're going to crib ideas from other peoples' works, at least aim higher than the IMDB's Bottom 100 List. Refraining from wholesale cut-and-paste from your OWN works might not be a bad choice either.

If you want a game where the "immortal hero" concept is done well, skip this and play Planescape Torment instead. The combat system is tighter, there's far less slowdown and load time and the writing is impeccable; not at all laden with lame story elements you've seen a million times already. Oh, and the "funny" character is actually funny instead of fucking obnoxious.
 rawks  §  rad comments, dogg.
 ~Azul Rojo  §  at 10:55pm 02/19/09
Wooow. This sounds like the best game ever made. So, does this mean a lot of the awfulness has left Squeenix, and they'll soon make something awesome? I'm guessing that won't happen.
 ~Spoony Spoonicus  §  at 11:04pm 02/19/09
They'll make one decent game nobody buys for every dozen crappy or rehashed games that everybody buys.
 ~SHITTLE  §  at 11:12pm 09/18/09
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