>Odd One Out

>Stupid title, I know. I’m feeling a little braindead, is the thing. See, I just spent the better part of the last 2 days plowing through the end of Lost Odyssey.

Final tally: a little over 70 hours, 4 main characters at level 81. That’s a LOT of random encounters, let me tell you.

I’d love to post a well-written, considered review of the game, but I can’t, and it’s my wife’s fault. My wife is incredibly patient and tolerant of my gaming hobby, but in the case of LO, she couldn’t take the battle soundtrack anymore, and when the game’s random encounter setting is arbitrarily set to “every 5 steps you take”, I had to admit: she was absolutely right. There’s only so many times you can hear that theme before your brain starts to hurt. And so I spent the last 15 hours of the game with the sound off, and my iPod on. (This made for quite a few comical moments, actually; during one of the climactic battles at the very end, my iPod decided to play “Ripple” by the Grateful Dead, which had to be the most wrong music to be playing at that moment.)

And, really, I wonder how much I missed out, playing the game with the sound off. By the 60th hour or so, I didn’t really need to hear the characters recite poorly-written dialog – especially since I’d had the sound set to Japanese because the English voice acting was grating and annoying. It was pretty clear what I needed to be doing, anyway, and to be honest I kinda just wanted to finish the damn thing so I could start Bully and Condemned 2 in earnest.

In a way, that’s part of the problem with the mechanics of JRPGs; most of my time over the last few days was simply grinding the shit out of my characters, and that’s not emotionally gratifying or anything. I was having fun, sure – I was grinding with a purpose – but it didn’t really have anything to do with the game.

(I should also say that I didn’t necessarily intend to grind the shit out of my characters. I was attempting to deal with the Temple of Enlightenment, and I kept getting wiped out, so I ventured out and dealt with some other side quests, and by the time I was ready to deal with the ToE, the game’s random-encounter setting was off the goddamned charts. Seriously – it took me somewhere between 8-10 hours to finish that dungeon, and by the time I finally got out I’d leveled up my party by at least 10 levels, and so the final final dungeon was a goddamned cakewalk.)

The pacing at the end of the game was a little weird, too; I’d spent 15 hours actively playing and running and killing and puzzling, and then, in the last battle, after the umpteenth press of the “Attack” command, there was suddenly a 20 minute cutscene – easily the longest one in the game – and by that point all I wanted was to get to the credits so I could get my 125 Points and be done with the goddamned thing.

I’m making this sound a lot more negative than I actually feel. I did have some fun this weekend with the game, I swear – it’s just that I wasn’t playing the game, I was going through the motions because my iPod was a thousand times more interesting than the same battle music over and over and over again.

Anyway. I’m done with it. I got something like 840 points out of 1000, and I’m not totally sure I’m going to try to get the rest – not with Bully and Condemned (and maybe R6:Vegas?) and GTA4 on the way.

At the very least, here’s what I can say about it – even with the conditions I was playing under, it was infinitely more satisfying than Blue Dragon.

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