TOKYO--Lost Odyssey, the second major Xbox 360 role-playing game being developed by Mistwalker Interactive, after Blue Dragon, is being shown behind closed doors (and long lines) here at TGS. We braved the crowd to get our hands on the title, though, and here are our impressions of the game.
Although Lost Odyssey is still a good way away from being complete (the show brochure implied that it was around 45 percent complete), the demo being displayed already had a number of impressive, full-CGI cutscenes that play before and during the action. Although the plot is difficult to discern, the main playable character, Kaim Argonar, is a young, heroic soldier fighting in an army of humans against a huge number of robotic enemies. The setting of the game appears to be somewhat steampunk in origin, what with the robots and all, but there is also plenty of fantasy-inspired touches, such as how almost everyone in the battle wields a sword, even though there's definitely evidence of cannons being used elsewhere. The enemies themselves are extremely stylized, with huge helmets and glowing red eyes.
But hey, swords are cool, too! After the human forces get off to a bad start, with some graphic depictions of their deaths at the hands of the robots, Kaim appears and starts to seek his revenge. Although he's only lightly armed and armored, his skills in war are more than enough to take on the robots, as he begins dispatching hundreds of them single-handedly. Soon enough, the cutscene fades into an actual, player-controlled battle, where we managed to take the reins ourselves.
Combat here, as in Blue Dragon, is standard Final Fantasy fare from what we've seen, with a strict turn-based system determining who acts when. You've got a standard attack with your sword, as well as both defensive and offensive magic to rely on. The standard attack seemed powerful in these early fights, as it would automatically kill any robots we targeted, as well as any enemies on either side of our target.
After a few robots went down, though, we were faced with a larger robot tank, which consisted of a squat quadruped body that had two cannons and a large saw blade attached to it. To defeat the machine, we had to consistently attack the two cannons, which returned fire when their turns came. The saw blade performed a powerful attack, though, as it was drawn up and then dropped down on our character's head, crushing him and instantly killing him. For some reason (perhaps since Kaim is apparently 1,000 years old and unkillable), we were automatically brought back to life with a small amount of health, letting us heal and finish off the two cannons. Interestingly enough, at this point, the saw blade fell back to the ground in front of us. Although we were still in battle, selecting the attack command launched an in-battle cutscene, wherein the swordsman ran up the sawblade and stabbed the robot in its sensor spire, sending it crashing to the ground. All of this took place in the middle of the larger battle; many smaller skirmishes were taking place on the periphery of this fight while it was going on.
Here's where the game got a bit weird, though. Immediately after destroying the robot tank, a CGI cutscene began, in which the gray skies above the battlefield parted. Where the sky would normally be, a huge mass of volcanic activity appeared; although it was initially a solid rock, it quickly melted down into flows of pure lava, which dropped to the battlefield, indiscriminately finishing off both humans and robots. There was no real explanation given for the appearance of this apparently magical attack, and the main character was likewise a bit surprised by its arrival.
Luckily, we managed to survive the cutscene and began trekking through the overworld exploratory mode, which had us traversing over cooling lava streams. Exploration here is fairly standard, although it's a nice touch that you're able to attack piles of junk and ruined vehicles to gain new items; they fracture and fall over, and your item floats out.
There are random battles here, and after the volcanic activity of the immediate past, it appears that most of the robots in the area were partially melted down, revealing a burned, fleshy body underneath their armor. Perhaps they're cyborgs? Regardless, they were quite disgusting, so we easily dispatched any that we encountered. We also ran across a couple of enemies that were more along the lines of classic "monsters," with one being a small, flying wisp that attacked for light damage but was flanked by a large, armored toad that dealt out hurt when it licked us.
History teaches us that anything that combines swords and robots must inherently have something going for it, so we're definitely looking forward to getting our hands on more of Lost Odyssey in the future. It's still a good ways away from being released (the press guide lists it only as a 2007 title), so stay tuned to GameSpot for more details as they become available.