Review by BigReed

"A Fun Mission Based Game That Disguises Itself As a JRPG"

The Good:
Quick load times, fluid controls, plenty of player freedom and customization, plenty of content, online play

The Bad:
Generic characters and story, grind heavy, small online community

A game misunderstood from the beginning

Sony's PlayStation Vita is an interesting beast. It has a devout, but small, community that is perhaps overly eager to pin all of the systems hopes onto a single piece of software. Ragnarok Odyssey was one such game (Soul Sacrifice has taken its place) where way too much pressure was put on the poor game. What once was the hyped up game that would turn the Vita around for Sony, ended up being a forgotten title that is actually pretty fun. Not so much a killer app, but more so a game that offers plenty of content for those willing to give it a shot. While it may not drive sales for the Vita, Ragnarok Odyssey is definitely a game that Vita owners should check out.

Generic characters and story

Before its release, Ragnarok Odyssey was being teased and hyped up as a fantast Japanese role playing game, a genre that has seen little success on consoles recently but has flourished on handhelds. The hype for the JRPG that wasn't began here because of the lack of hard information. From the cover art of the physical copy of the game, and the beginning screen, I could still see how people would be confused over what the game actually entailed. However, once you go into the character creation screen you discover that the main character is nameless and faceless. He or she is just a vessel for the endless grind the player is about to go through. Ragnarok Odyssey is much like Monster Hunter with its setup and gameplay (from my few times of playing Monster Hunter). The average play session will go like this: accept quest, go to an area, fight monsters, collect monster cards and items, finish quest, head back and stock up on potions and possibly gear, repeat. Repeat. Repeat. The game offers named “characters” to drive the story along, but after the first conversation with the very first NPC you speak to, you realize that the entire story in the game is just there to give the player a reason to keep going forward. Skipping all of the dialogue literally has no impact on completing missions, which can be seen as both a good and a bad thing.

Smooth controls, Fun gameplay, and good mission design for quick play sessions

In Ragnarok Odyssey, the action can become pretty intense as you fight, dodge, and hover dash away from enemies. Luckily Game Arts created a well developed game. Few Vita games feel as crisp as Ragnarok Odyssey, and unlike other games that have an input lag (Dark Souls and Monster Hunter) Ragnarok Odyssey does exactly what feels natural to the person controlling the game. There is also plenty of customization to be had, and more options become available as you grind through missions in either single or multiplayer. If you prefer playing alone, you can play through the missions of the game, however if you're feeling a bit lonely, you can play any mission in a group. Although, the small online community makes it hard to find a party on the specific mission you are one, so you might be forced to play by yourself. The idea of the multiplayer is nice, but like with most online servers, the online portion of a game is decided on the quality of the community, and its size. All of the games online that I could find were for late game missions, which I could have been severely under geared for. While the online play was a nice concept, the lack of available players greatly hinders the experience.

Much to the dismay of those expecting Ragnarok Odyssey to be a Japanese role playing game, there are not traditional character levels within the game. There are classes which affect your stats, weapons which heavily affect your damage capabilities, and armor wear to change your class. The armor, or gear, is the most effective change you can make when crafting your character. The armor in the game can be expanded to hold cards. You gain these cards as drops from defeating monsters. Each card takes up a certain amount of space and offers a unique upgrade. Essentially, the cards you equip define your character in strengths and weaknesses. This leads to the need to grind in order to get the best cards and then be properly geared. This design makes it harder for newer players to keep up or play with the hardcore's of the community. Ragnarok Odyssey is a very fun game to play, but depending on what type of games you're interested in the game might be too “grindy” for some.

Recommendation: Download the Demo
Ragnarok Odyssey is a well developed and fun game, but it may not hold every gamers interest for more than 10 or so hours. The controls, amount of customization, and amount of content make this a safe purchase that offers plenty of value, but the almost nonexistent story and characters could grow old after awhile. Downloading the Demo for the game is the safest bet, but I believe Ragnarok Odyssey is a game worth playing, even if you only get 10-12 hours out of it.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 01/23/13

Game Release: Ragnarok Odyssey (US, 10/30/12)

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