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Lettris is a curious tetris-clone game where all the bricks have the same square shape but different content. Each square carries a letter. To make squares disappear and save space for other squares you have to assemble English words (left, right, up, down) from the falling squares.
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|Publisher(s)||Microsoft Game Studios|
|Writer(s)||Hironobu Sakaguchi (story)
Kiyoshi Shigematsu (A Thousand Years of Dreams)
|Engine||Unreal Engine 3.0|
|Genre(s)||Role-playing video game|
Lost Odyssey (ロストオデッセイ Rosuto Odessei ) is a role-playing video game developed by Mistwalker and feelplus and published by Microsoft Game Studios for the Xbox 360. The player takes control of Kaim, a man who has lived for a thousand years and who has no memory of his past. The game is set in a world nearing a "magical industrial revolution." Kaim struggles with the return of his memories and the pain they bring.
Lost Odyssey uses a traditional turn-based battle system seen in most Japanese role-playing games, similar to early Final Fantasy iterations. A world map allows the player to move the party between adjacent towns or fields on the map, while later in the game the player is given more freedom to explore the world through the use of ocean-going ships. Towns and cities provide inns for the player to recover the party's health, stores for buying and selling of equipment, and save points for the game. While exploring certain areas, the player will randomly encounter monsters to fight.
The combat system incorporates aspects of battle initiative and length of actions to determine how events resolve each turn. Item usage is instantaneous, regular melee attacks are executed on the same turn, while casting spells or using special abilities may delay the player's action for one or more turns, depending on their speed. Actions can be delayed if the user is hit by an attack. The player has the option to cancel an action on a subsequent turn if necessary.
Melee attacks include an "Aim Ring System" using equippable rings with added effects. As the character launches the attack, two concentric targeting rings appear on screen. The player must time their button release in order to make the rings intersect. An accuracy rank ("Perfect", "Good" or "Bad") indicates the potency of the effect. These include additional damage specific to certain types of monsters or their magic element, hit point or mana absorption, status ailments, or being able to steal items. Even if awarded a "Perfect", a character can still miss the attack altogether. These rings are created by synthesizing "components", and can be upgraded into more accurate, or more potent versions; advanced rings can be made by combining two or more rings at a special vendor.
In combat, both the player's party and enemies are arranged in two lines, front or back. Up to five party members can participate in battle at once. At the start of battle, the back line is protected by a special defensive "wall" which is based on the combined hit points of the front line. This wall reduces damage that the characters in the back experience. However, as the front line takes damage, the wall weakens, and can only be recovered through the use of certain spells or skills. When the wall is completely gone, the back row will have no damage reduction. This mechanic also applies to enemy groups.
There are two types of characters that the player controls. "Mortals" gain skills by leveling up, but can benefit from additional skills by equipping accessories. "Immortals" do not know any skills initially, but instead gain skills by "linking" with a mortal character that is currently part of the battle formation, earning skill points in battle towards complete learning of the skill. Immortals can also learn skills from accessories by equipping them in the same manner, much like the ability point system of Final Fantasy IX. Once a skill is learned, the player can then assign these skills to a limited number of skill slots, initially starting at three but able to be expanded via "Slot Seed" items or certain skills. Immortals also have the ability to automatically revive in battle should they lose all their hit points; however, if the entire party is downed, including the immortals, the game will be over.
The game's magic system is based on four classes of magic: Black, consisting primarily of elemental attacks and negative status effects; White, mainly for healing and protection; Spirit, for stat changes, status ailments and non-elemental magic; and Composite, which can combine two spells, once learned, into multi-target or multi-function spells. To cast spells, the player must first find spells to fill the spell book, and then must have characters that have learned the appropriate magic skill of the right level to cast that spell.
The game can be played in either Japanese, English, Chinese, German, French, or Italian. Each respective language is used for voice-acting only on the North American edition of the game. Subtitles always appear in English and occasionally do not match up with the spoken words in the other available spoken languages.
Lost Odyssey is set in a world in which a "Magic-Industrial Revolution" is taking place. While magic energy existed in all living creatures beforehand, it suddenly became far more powerful thirty years before the beginning of the game. Because of this, it has affected society greatly, with devices called "Magic Engines" harnessing this power for lighting, automobiles, communication, and robots, among other uses. While previously only a select few could wield magic, many magicians gained the ability. However, such progress has also caused two nations to develop new and more powerful weapons of mass destruction: the kingdom of Gohtza and the Republic of Uhra (which recently converted from a monarchy). Uhra is building Grand Staff, a gigantic magic engine, while the heavily industrialized Gohtza actively pursues magic research of their own. A third nation, the Free Ocean State of Numara, remains isolated and neutral, though it is falling into disarray due to a general attempting to stage a coup d'etat. Uhra, at war with Khent, a nation of beastmen, sends its forces to the Highlands of Wohl for a decisive battle at the start of the game.
After a meteor wipes out the majority of forces from the nations of Uhra and Khent, Kaim joins Seth and Jansen to investigate the Grand Staff at the behest of the council of Uhra. At the Staff, the three are captured by hostile scouts who take them to Numara, where they meet with Queen Ming, another immortal who has lost her memory. The queen allows the group to go free in Numara, where Kaim meets Cooke and Mack, his grandchildren, who join the group after the death of their mother.
News eventually arrives in Numara that Gongora has encouraged Tolten to reestablish the monarchy in Uhra and prepare for war. Kakanas uses the opportunity to usurp control of the country from Ming, forcing her to flee with Kaim and others as enemies of the state. The group travels towards the nation of Gohtza, hoping to seek help from its King. On the way, Sarah Sisulart, Kaim's wife, joins the party after she is recovered from the Old Sorceress Mansion.
Arriving in Gohtza, Kaim and Sarah arrange for a peace negotiation between the Gohtzan King, Queen Ming, and Tolten to take place on a train. However, Kaim and Sarah are forced to go after Cooke and Mack, who steal a train to again try to find the spirit of their departed mother, leaving Jansen and Seth to participate in the negotiation alone. During the meeting, Gongora activates Grand Staff and flash freezes the entire country. Kaim and Sarah locate Cooke and Mack but are forced to separate due to a vicious magic attack by Gongora. Kaim and Sarah's train crashes, while Cooke and Mack are stranded on the train tracks in the freezing cold. The children are later saved by Ming and Jansen. The four unite and rescue Kaim and Sarah. In Uhra, Tolten learns that Gongora has announced Tolten's death and has usurped the throne, thus he joins with Seth to help free her son Sed, who joins the party, and his pirate hydrofoil submarine, the Nautilus. The entire party reconvenes in Gohtza.
The immortals talk and begin to recover their memories, realizing that they are actually observers from a parallel universe. In Gongora's diary, he explains the difference in space-time, where 1000 years is equivalent to 1 year in the parallel universe. The diary also explains that the immortals' world has been affected by the emotions of people in the mortal realm.
After regaining their memories, the party heads for Grand Staff. They recognize that Gongora is attempting to use the Grand Staff to destroy the portal between the two worlds, killing the other immortals and making himself effectively invincible. The group confronts Gongora in the Hall of Mirrors, the only place where they are vulnerable to death. The mortals help to block the mirror's power while the immortals fight Gongora, but their powers are equally matched. When the mortals become trapped in their own barrier after absorbing too much power, Seth drags Gongora through the mirror, allowing Kaim to break it and prevent him from ever returning.
In the epilogue, the nations led by Ming and Tolten come together to rebuild society, and the monarchy is restored in Uhra. Ming and Jansen get married, while Kaim and Sarah settle down to help raise Cooke and Mack, all aware that Seth is able to observe their happy endings.
Lost Odyssey's "A Thousand Years of Dreams" were penned by an award-winning Japanese short story writer, Kiyoshi Shigematsu, who worked directly with the game's producer Hironobu Sakaguchi on Kaim's backstory, while Sakaguchi alone wrote the game's main story. The memory sequences were translated into English by Jay Rubin, a respected Harvard professor who also translated the works of novelist Haruki Murakami. While Rubin originally objected to what he perceived as "adding to the world's supply of senseless violence," he relented after viewing the material and being "shocked" at its pacifist message and "vivid imagery". The short stories in the game were presented in a format similar to visual novel games.
Japanese manga artist Takehiko Inoue headed the game's artistic team, while famed game composer Nobuo Uematsu was recruited to create a more contemporary soundtrack. Mistwalker developed the title with cooperation with Feelplus, a subsidiary of Microsoft created specifically to aid Mistwalker. Feelplus is made up of around 40 former Nautilus/Sacnoth developers, most famous for the cult favorite Shadow Hearts video game series. (Sacnoth was officially announced as being dissolved in 2007.) Former Square (now Square Enix) employees at Microsoft are also involved.
The president of Feelplus, Ray Nakazato, commended Shigematsu for "really good" storytelling, and the character and creature production staff for creating high-quality content without any delays. Game design progressed smoothly due to the team's experience with the genre. However, he also felt that there were several things that could have been done better during development. Starting development with a large staff caused aspects to be changed upon release of the Xbox 360. The three separate teams that created battle, adventure, and cut scene components ran into "various issues" while combining their work, causing him to consider "seamless" development for any later projects. Little-used parts of the environment were given an extensive level of detail, resulting in a waste of money and time, and concept art was given the same extensive level of attention. Off-the-shelf motion capture was used in some cutscenes, while choreographed motion capture was used in others, resulting in "inconsistent" quality.
The game ships on four dual layer DVDs, more than any Xbox 360 game to date. It was the first RPG developed using the Unreal Engine 3.0, a decision that allowed development before the 360 was even released, but the Japanese development team had trouble keeping up with the engine's regular updates and had trouble reading the requisite manuals. This caused technical setbacks such as long loading times.
On July 11, 2007, an English trailer of Lost Odyssey was shown at E3 2007.
According to Peter Moore and Microsoft's E3 press event Lost Odyssey was to be in stores worldwide for the 2007 holiday season, although it was actually released in February 2008 in both the US and Europe.
On November 19, 2007, at a special Blue Dragon/Lost Odyssey concert held in Shibuya, Tokyo, it was announced that the game had gone gold and was ready for its Japanese release date of December 6, 2007. According to a special bloggers event at which selected people were invited to play demos of the game from the very beginning, it was confirmed that English/Japanese voices were selectable in the Japanese version.
An issue regarding the packaging has led to several complaints from consumers. Since the game could not fit onto a standard DVD, it requires four discs. In Japan and Australia, the solution was to use an oversized case with two disc trays to store the discs. In the United States and PAL territories, however, the first three discs were held on a single 3-disc spindle inside the main game case. The fourth disc came packaged in a paper sleeve. The concern is that the method used for the American and European versions could result in scratched discs.
Another fault of the packaging during shipping resulted in many complaints. Reactions between the underside of the disc and a substance on the paper sleeve caused the fourth disc to be almost unplayable. Various methods exist online to remove the added layer from the disc, with the most common being recommendations of multiple uses of disc cleaners or pouring boiling water over the disc and wiping the residue off. Installing the disc to the console has also been touted as a way to fix the issue, which is known to cause disc-reading errors or freezes.
On April 25, 2008, the first American content pack for Lost Odyssey was released for those who pre-ordered the game in America, though it is available for free download in Japan. The content allowed the player to learn the "Weapon Guard 2" skill, and contained a new dream titled "Samii the Storyteller".
In the newly released content pack, the "Triple Bonus Pack", another dream, titled "An Old Soldier's legacy", was included, as well as the "Killer Machine" ring. Another feature, the memory lamp, which enables the viewing of all previously seen cinematic cutscenes throughout the entire game, is located in the Nautilus and is only accessible in Disc 4.
On May 25, 2008 another content pack, called "Dungeon Pack: Seeker of the Deep!" was made available on the Xbox Live Marketplace for 400 Microsoft points. It included a new dungeon, "Experimental Staff Remains", which is only reachable using the Nautilus in Disc 4. It contains unique items and monsters that can only be found in this new dungeon. It also adds another six Achievements with a total of 100 Gamer Points.
The soundtrack was scored by Nobuo Uematsu. The vocal track "Kaette Kuru, Kitto..." is sung by the Japanese Pop band FLIP FLAP, and both "What You Are" and "Eclipse of Time" vocal tracks are sung by Sheena Easton. The harp version of "Eclipse of Time" is arranged by Hiroyuki Nakayama while the piano version of "Kaette Kuru, Kitto..." is arranged by Satoshi Henmi. Both Hiroyuki Nakayama and Satoshi Henmi arranged the guitar version of "What You Are". The soundtrack was released on January 23, 2008 by the Japanese label Aniplex.
|Soundtrack, Disc 1|
|3.||"The Gun Barrel of Battle"||1:52|
|5.||"An Immortal Life"||0:48|
|9.||"The Capital of Uhra"||2:00|
|12.||"A Sad Tolten"||2:32|
|14.||"An Enemy Appears!"||1:41|
|15.||"World of Ice"||4:08|
|16.||"March of War"||1:55|
|17.||"Crisis & Warning"||2:34|
|18.||"The White Mother Ship"||3:23|
|19.||"Eclipse of Time (Harp Version)"||3:48|
|21.||"The Capital of Numara"||2:57|
|22.||"A Tiny Memory"||1:48|
|24.||"A Formidable Enemy Appears!"||3:00|
|26.||"Kaette Kuru, Kitto... (Piano Version)"||3:55|
|29.||"A Sign of Hope"||2:35|
|30.||"Theme of the Pirates"||2:05|
|33.||"The Witch's Mansion"||2:25|
|Soundtrack, Disc 2|
|1.||"Kaette Kuru, Kitto... (Vocal Version)"||6:33|
|2.||"The Mystery of the Demon Machine"||2:01|
|4.||"Saman, Town of Merchants"||2:15|
|5.||"The Capital of Gohtza"||2:02|
|7.||"The Demon Possessed Man"||2:27|
|10.||"What You Are (Guitar Version)"||3:02|
|11.||"Battle with the Demonic Beast"||2:31|
|12.||"The Wanderer of Darkness"||3:05|
|13.||"Great Ruins of the East"||2:19|
|15.||"The Great Voyage"||2:59|
|18.||"Howl of the Departed"||4:56|
|20.||"Light of Blessing ~ A Letter"||5:19|
|21.||"What You Are (Vocal Version)"||5:28|
|23.||"Eclipse of Time (Vocal Version)"||7:11|
It is uncertain which version should be considered the original. The game was developed in Japan, the story and dialogues were originally written in Japanese and, additionally, it was released in Japan first, yet all the lip-sync was done using the English version as reference. Nevertheless, the Japanese cast is the first to appear during the closing credits.
|Character||Japanese voice actor||English voice actor||Korean voice actor|
|Kaim Argonar||Etsushi Toyokawa||Keith Ferguson||Jae-Heon Jung|
|Seth Balmore||Seika Kuze||Tara Strong||So-Young Lee|
|Sarah Sisulart||Takako Uehara||Kim Mai Guest||Yong-Shin Lee|
|Ming Numara||Kaoru Okunuki||Salli Saffioti||Nam Jung|
|Jansen Friedh||Kosuke Toyohara||Michael McGaharn||In-Seong Oh|
|Cooke||YUKO (FLIP-FLAP)||Kath Soucie||Yeo-Jin Yoon|
|Mack||AIKO (FLIP-FLAP)||Nika Futterman||Min-Jeong Yeo|
|Tolten||Ryō Horikawa||Chad Brannon||Sang-Hyeon Eom|
|Sed||Yōsuke Akimoto||Michael Bell||Min Roh|
|Gongora||Haruhiko Jō||Jesse Corti||Goo-Han Kang|
|Kakanas||Kōji Ishii||David Lodge|
|King Gohtza||Chikao Ōtsuka||Peter Reneday|
|Lirum||Sumi Shimamoto||Shelly Callahan|
|Maia||Natsumi Sakuma||Melodee Spevack|
|Metacritic||78 out of 100 |
|Edge||7 out of 10 |
|Electronic Gaming Monthly||80% |
|Eurogamer||8 out of 10 |
|Famitsu||36 out of 40 |
|Game Informer||8.5 out of 10 |
|Game Revolution||B |
|GameSpot||7.5 out of 10 |
|GamesTM||8 out of 10 |
|GameTrailers||8.8 out of 10 |
|GameZone||8.5 out of 10 |
|IGN||8.2 out of 10 |
|Official Xbox Magazine||7.5 out of 10 |
|Official Xbox Magazine (UK)||8 out of 10 |
|PALGN||8 out of 10 |
|Play Magazine||9 out of 10 |
|TeamXbox||8.3 out of 10 |
|X-Play||3 out of 5 |
|Destructoid||9.0 out of 10 |
|Extreme Gamer||96% |
|Game Valor||9.4 out of 10 |
|Xbox 360 Achievements||94% |
Lost Odyssey reportedly sold 40,000 copies in Japan on its first day at retail, around 50% of the shipment. As of February 17, 2008, the game has sold 104,417 copies in Japan according to Famitsu numbers. The game has done much better in the West; according to NPD numbers Lost Odyssey debuted at #7, selling 203,000 in its debut month of February in North America. As of January 2009 the game has sold about 348,000 copies in the United States according to the NPD Group.
Famitsu awarded the game a score of 36/40, with all four critics each giving the game a 9. This was one point less than the 37/40 score given to Mistwalker's debut game, Blue Dragon. As with Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey received somewhat mixed, although generally favorable, scores from Western critics.
The issue many took with Lost Odyssey was its deliberately old-school gameplay mechanics, particularly the traditional combat system, which several critics found to be dull and dated, as well as the game's use of random battles, which were further deemed an issue by their purportedly lengthy load times. Xbox Focus gave the game a 4/5 rating, declaring its story as profound, but taking an issue with the camera control and the odd character design. Unlike other critics, however, Xbox Focus's Alex Yusupov deemed the combat and random battles as exhilarating, and that "it's better to take a tried and true technique and make it better than introduce a completely new idea that could possibly screw up an entire game." IGN found that the ring-building system, immortals, and skill system added a fresh feel to the game's otherwise traditional combat, and 1UP.com praised the "timed button press" aspect of the battles, saying it makes them "more engaging than you'd think."
While the visual novel flashback sequences, penned by Kiyoshi Shigematsu, were widely acclaimed, critics were divided on the main story itself. RPGFan stated that the story and gameplay were both "overused, uninspired, and stilted", but that the memory sequences penned by Shigematsu were "some of the richest, most emotionally charged storytelling seen in any RPG to date". GameSpot praised Lost Odyssey's "fascinating cast," character development, and "great plot," and also called the combat system "solid." The reviewer also described the flashbacks as "well written and emotionally gripping." GameSpy, called the main plot and characters, "shamelessly derivative." GamePro magazine agreed, declaring that the main story was not particularly compelling, although it noted that many subplots carried plenty of emotional weight. On the other hand, Game Informer magazine deemed the story line as being "one of the most compelling tales ever told on the Xbox 360," and praised the "cool combat system." GameTrailers said, "what sets Lost Odyssey apart is a deeply moving story that places an emotional focal point on its characters."
Despite critics' differing opinions in other areas, the game's graphics and high production values have received universal acclaim, although load times and framerate issues were also universally pointed out. However, it transpired that the copy that some reviewers received apparently had longer loading times than those of the retail version. GameSpot amended their review on February 19, 2008 to reflect this, but did not change their original score.
On November 21, 2007 a book of short stories based on the main character of Kaim was released in Japan called He Who Journeys Eternity: Lost Odyssey: A Thousand Years of Dreams (永遠を旅する者 ロストオデッセイ 千年の夢 Towa o tabisuru mono Rosuto Odessei sennen no yume ). It is penned by Kiyoshi Shigematsu and features 31 of 33 stories found in the "A Thousand Years of Dreams" sequences throughout the game itself.
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