Publisher: Xseed Games
Developer: Game Arts
Release Date: October 30, 2012 (NA), February 2, 2012 (JP)
System: PS Vita
Ragnarok Odyssey Review
There was a time when the lack of Vita releases fueled the hate-laced keyboards of the gaming media. As of late October, any self-respecting journalist knew better than to pen such an article as the constant stream of high profile releases came one after another. Ragnarok Odyssey takes its place as the first original Vita RPG but with so many titles to choose from, is this enough to warrant your attention? Let’s find out!
Now Where’d I Put That Story?
Ragnarok Odyssey is obviously more Monster Hunter than Final Fantasy so if you’re looking for a story driven experience, this isn’t for you. What you’re able to gather is that you’re a rookie soldier and everything else is mostly based on the quest at hand. When you know what to expect I guess you can’t be disappointed but for anyone looking to become attached to characters and storyline, use your imagination.
Pick a Card, any Card!
As you customize your appearance, it’s your weapon that has the biggest impact on your experience. Katars will give you quick strikes with minimal damage while hammers will give you slow and powerful attacks by comparison. You’ll find that you’re able to try out different classes by changing outfits if you’d like to try out the other weapons and see what suits your play style.
The options for character appearance are numerous but after your initial creation it becomes a guessing game. Interested in dying your outfit or purchasing a Hunters Cap? Go right ahead! The problem is you only see the changes after the transaction. It’s so poorly thought out that the selection of dye “colors” are as follows: “Type 1, Type 2, Type 3 and Type 4.”
Not visible per se but significant to gameplay is the card system. Essentially a way of assigning perks to your character, cards provide a range of attributes that can be swapped as easily as accessories. The number of cards you’re able to carry is dependent on the card’s rarity, usefulness and the level of your outfit. Cards collected from defeating monsters can also be traded in shops; I assume these cards can only obtained via this method.
This Place Looks Familiar
Chapter by chapter you’re going to find yourself in the same general areas dealing primarily with the same enemies. This being the case it’s pretty important that you get some enjoyment from doing the same thing over and over again. It can also be confusing trying to figure out whether you’re leaving the same way you entered or where you have to go in order to open another location.
Visually, Ragnarok Odyssey does well in its chosen art style. The best way to describe the look is a cross between Skyrim and Dragon Ball Z. Everything is crisp for the most part and little details like grass displacement and wind are nice touches if you care to notice.
250 Hit Combo!
I’ve found the combat to be simple yet varied just enough to be enjoyable in short bursts. Combat is handled with the use of circle and triangle while cross is used to jump and square to dash. By mixing things up you can pull off combinations and if you can continually chain your attacks the combos keep going. A 250 hit combo on the other hand is accomplished by playing in multi-player; don’t hurt yourself trying to do it alone.
Dainsleif mode is a sort of Super Saiyan rage mode in which your attack power is increased at the expense of your health for a short duration but each successful attack takes health from your target. Players can enter this mode as well use potions by tapping their icons (when available) during gameplay.
Early on and rightfully so, the game seems too easy. In later quests you’ll find that it’s too hard, especially in the Tavern but you can always get help from strangers. The multiplayer in Ragnarok Odyssey is its strongest asset by far. You can either search rooms for the quest you’re stuck on or create one of your own and wait for some assistance. Though there is no voice chat, there are a number of touchscreen shortcuts for basic communication and emoticons. If those fail, there’s always text but not very useful in the heat of battle.
Ragna-rocks or Ragna-flops?
Early into Ragnarok Odyssey you become aware that all of your hacking and slashing contribute nothing to your leveling up. You only level up by completing a chapter. The quests within the chapters don’t require you to defeat all of your enemies but you do so to get what they drop. One design misstep is that there is little to go on in regards to what is important or what anything is used for in the game.
As a side note, terms like Dansleif and the title work as a roadblock (in my opinion) in the way of Ragnarok Odyssey becoming a household IP. There are rare instances of success but hard to pronounce or spell titles usually work against an IP unless it’s just stellar. In the case of Ragnarok Odyssey, we see the potential in what the fans really want (Monster Hunter) in a package that would have benefitted from proper design choices. Overall this is not a bad game; if this is what you’re into then my qualms wouldn’t bother you at all in fact. For everyone else, take what I’ve written into consideration.
+ Monster Hunter type gameplay
+ Highly customizable
+ Enjoyable multiplayer
- Lacking in the story department
- Confusing inventory system
- Purposeless grinding