>Not-quite impressions

>As I wrote yesterday, I was able to score copies of Lost Odyssey and Professor Layton and I promised some impressions today. However, I don’t really feel like I’ve put in enough time with either game to give any sort of detailed analysis. That said, there are some quick things I want to throw out there:

Lost Odyssey
After an hour’s worth of playtime, here’s what I can offer:

  • Even though he hasn’t said very much of anything just yet, Kaim is a pretty awesome protagonist. I love how he’s animated; in spite of his youthful complexion he has the posture and the walking rhythm of a man who has lived for far too long and seen far too much. He doesn’t walk as much as he trudges along (this is most noticeable in cutscenes – when you’re out and about, you can run like the wind); this is a great example of character development without getting into expository dialog.
  • The first real “story” moment takes place in some sort of council meeting, and unfortunately, it is fucking ridiculous. Our world is in trouble because of meteors and magic energy and the Giant Staff? Oh Christ.
  • As a 32-year-old man, I find it much easier to relate to world-weary adults as opposed to spiky-haired rugrats who believe in themselves and have something to prove. I’m not sure I will ever be able to go back and finish Blue Dragon if I keep spending time with Lost Odyssey.
  • Speaking of Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey is quite easy to pick up if you played Blue Dragon; the graphics engine may be different (more on that in a second), but the controls are nearly identical. I was actually a little startled to see that “Start” only pauses the game, and that “Y” brings up your menu – this is exactly how BD did it, too.
  • Also speaking of Blue Dragon, I far prefer Lost Odyssey’s approach to looting. BD made you check out every single goddamned book in a bookcase, every single plant in a forest, every pebble in a desert – and more often than not, you’d get a “Nothing”, which you wouldn’t even realize was important until midway through Disc 2. Here, at least, the stuff you can check out is obvious, and there’s always something worthwhile to pick up. I can’t wait to start getting into the Ring Crafting part of the game; the tiny taste I’ve gotten of it so far has definitely whetted my appetite, and so I’m actually motivated to check out every thing I can find.
  • As for the combat: well, again, I only played for an hour, and the last 30 minutes were spent in a city; I didn’t quite get enough time to really be comfortable with the whole “timing” part of attacking, and I haven’t yet had an opportunity to see how the ring-crafting affects combat, and – most importantly – I don’t have any party members yet.
  • As for the graphics: it’s very pretty. A lot of reviews mention frame-rate dips; I haven’t seen anything that bad. The constant loading before combat may be a problem, though.

In short: I can’t wait to really get some time to sink my teeth into this one. My hour with the game last night was barely an appetizer.

Professor Layton
I brought my DS with me to work today, just in case I got some time; I played for about 20-30 minutes before going to bed last night, and I found only 6 or 7 puzzles. It isn’t quite what I expected it to be, but I am enjoying what I’ve played. I found a puzzle last night that (I think) requires some geometry, which I’ve all but forgotten; I was pleased to have solved two matchstick puzzles, though, because I’m fucking AWFUL at matchstick puzzles. I do hope, though, that there’s more to this game than matchstick puzzles; it’s not a good sign that I’ve already done 2 of them in such a short span of time.

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