Next-gen consoles call for next-gen games, and there is at least one company that's willing to step up and set an example. Mistwalker has already proven itself as a competent developer with the smash Japanese RPG Blue Dragon, which makes it easy to get excited about its next game. Lost Odyssey is its second RPG for the Xbox 360, and seems to be brimming with artistic quality.
"While Kaim is a mercenary, expect a special focus on the less combative aspects of a long life, such as falling love and raising a family.
After years of similar stories, gamers are starved for some originality. Good versus evil has been done, as have heroes chosen by fate or young adventurers looking for fun. Mistwalker brought award-winning Japanese author Kiyoshi Shigematsu on board to make something unique. The story of Lost Odyssey has less to do with epic battles and more to do with everyday life. Well, 1,000 years of everyday life. The main character, Kaim, has an immortal, indestructible body and has survived countless wars. Shigematsu-san has written “The Memory of a Thousand Years,” which alludes to a story set in flashbacks and dreams. And while Kaim is a mercenary, expect a special focus on the less combative aspects of a long life, such as falling love and raising a family. Kaim is not the only person with an immortal body, either. Mistwalker has revealed that at least one other, a woman named Seth, has lived for 1,000 years.
Where there are mercenaries, there is battle. Several cinematics and a playable demo have made it plenty clear that Kaim is capable of wielding a sword, although details are sketchy on the specifics. Other than it being turn-based and menu-driven, little is known about the battle system. One interesting thing to note is that in the demo Kaim would automatically revive when his HP was reduced to zero. Whether or not that was a demo-only feature is not known, but it will be interesting to see how Kaim's immortality affects general gameplay.
Character designs are being handled by Takehiko Inoue, the famed Japanese cartoonist responsible for such manga as Slam Dunk and Vagabond. These designs mesh seamlessly with the gorgeous, living world that Lost Odyssey takes place in. The graphics are a far cry from Blue Dragon's super deformed style, but the darker, more realistic atmosphere will fit better with the darker story.
Heading up Mistwalker's music department is none other than Nobuo Uematsu, the man responsible for dozens of memorable soundtracks over the last two decades. Released music is limited to trailers and the short demo, but if Uematsu-san's record is any indication then Lost Odyssey will be chock full of good music.
The RPG starved system will benefit greatly from the addition of a game by such an all-star team. Lost Odyssey's release date is slated as the ever-vague “2007,” so expect to wait for this Xbox 360 gem. But you know what they say: “You have to suffer for beauty.”