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Ragnarok Odyssey Review

Ragnarok Odyssey Review

With no confirmation of a Monster Hunter iteration and Phantasy Star Online 2 nebulously assured for ‘sometime in 2013’, PS Vita owners eager for a creature-killing time sink have been forced to remain stalwartly optimistic. Mercifully, the release of XSEED’s Ragnarok Odyssey for Sony’s portable platform is likely to satisfy that craving, by delivering an absorbing procession of quests that are ideal for gamers with an abbreviated amount of playing time. Save for a structure which fails to mask the game’s repetitive nature and several minor technical glitches, Ragnarok is a worthy additional to the Vita’s woefully underdeveloped role-playing library.

Booting up the game for the first time ushers players to the character creation screen, where an avatar is generated from an assortment of preset parts. After selecting a name, face, hair style and voice, players pick from one of six job classes. From the Sword Warrior capable of wielding a Cloud Strife-sized sword, the bow-brandishing Hunter, and offensive powerhouse- The Hammersmith, Ragnarok’s roster of characters cover the fundamental archetypes. Expectedly, selection is more than just cosmetic, with the decision affecting gamer’s approach to combat- at least until player’s unlock the ability to change classes at will.

Ragnarok Odyssey Review

Prudently, Ragnarok Odyssey forgoes the long-winded opening dialog which often accompanies the commencement of a role-playing title, allowing players to quickly jump into their first errand. Eradicating a collection of ten Porings (Ragnarok’s rendering of the conventional vulnerable slime) is the player’s preliminary undertaking, a task which occurs with incessant frequency during the title’s twenty-hour campaign. One slight variation is the fetch quest, which tasks the player with gathering a specific commodity that’s divvied up by slain beasts. Regretfully, Ragnarok doesn’t articulate the general location of commodities, and when combined with the randomized nature of drops, errands can occasionally prove fruitless. Still, given the brevity of these tasks, quests are an ideal length for PS Vita owners seeking commute-time creature carnage.

When pitted against the majority of the game’s ground-based and airborne minions, the title’s battles are refreshingly breezy. Each class uses the triangle and circle button to release a volley of strikes, with certain classes having the ability to charge attacks, block, and enter Dainslief mode- a berserker ability which proves offensive power in exchange for constantly dwindling health. Given Ragnarok’s overarching structure, comparisons to Monster Hunter’s combat are inevitable. In execution, they’re divergent, with Odyssey providing manic, combo-tapping, air-juggling brawls that contrast sharply with the methodical monster scrutiny and measured swings of Capcom’s franchise. Although attacks can dizzy the lead character, leaving the player prone to assault from a mob of incensed enemies- picking off isolated foes is about as deep as Ragnarok’s strategy gets. This allows the title to be more accessible, but also eliminates the pleasure of discovering attack patterns and uncovering a creature’s inherent weakness.

Ragnarok Odyssey Review

Ragnarok Odyssey’s lighthearted interpretation of combat is particularly evident when the game seals off a small area, preventing passage until every adversary is vanquished. During these episodes, conflict is predictably intense, but frustration can occur when ranged characters such as the Mage or Hunter are forced to fight in tight spaces. As with boss battles, the game’s camera can have difficulty keeping up with the action, forcing players to hack away at unseen adversaries. Otherwise, third-person perspective is functional, optionally allowing players to lock on to foes with the left trigger, and cycle through threats with a tap of the directional pad.

Whereas JRPGs traditionally focus on the improvement of a player’s stats, Ragnarok Odyssey employs an inverse approach- tasking players with advancing the proficiency of their weapons and armor while their abilities remain stagnant. Strangely, the material requirements for cultivating equipment are buried within the title’s menus, making efforts to develop specific pieces of gear cumbersome. Alternatively, the title’s handling of buffs is inspired, permitting players to carry a number of cards in battle which augment the hero’s basic abilities. Embedded with the game’s outfit equipping screen, management is effortless, allowing for a speedy shift of loadouts.

Ragnarok Odyssey Review

Naturally, the stateside localization of Ragnarok Odyssey includes the online multiplayer component which was patched in after the release for the Japanese version. While solitary gamers searching for escalated levels of challenge are free to take on quests offered at title’s local tavern, it’s apparent that these expeditions were designed for a party of four characters. Aside from the regulation that the party cannot accept missions which transcend the progress of the least experienced team member, Ragnarok’s multiplayer experience is otherwise unfettered. Boosted by a bulky assortment of emoticons and gestures, the seeds of camaraderie are available for players to cultivate, as well as maintain with powerful matchmaking tools.

Although the PS Vita’s first birthday is looming, the portable’s software library still feels underdeveloped, enfeebled by omissions across several key genres. While not without fault, Ragnarok Odyssey is a worthwhile entry in the action/role-playing realm, with gameplay mechanics aligned with the constraints of commute time gamers. Had a version of either Monster Hunter or Phantasy Star Online already been released for Sony’s portable, Ragnarok would likely seem subordinate. Without such a point of reference, the title emits a muted sheen, separated from the shadow of an unsparing competitor.

Ragnarok Odyssey Review

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

37 comments

  1. I heard at least one person say it felt a bit like a 3D beat ‘em up? true?

    • It’s a lot more fluid that MH that’s for sure. With MH you have to find opening for big, slow swings. This is much more button mashy.

  2. “Although the PS Vita’s first birthday is looming, the portable’s software library still feels underdeveloped”

    Ain’t that the truth. You need first-party support and Sony’s not doing it. I mean where is LittleBigPlanet Karting for the Vita? A God of War game? Killzone? Resistance that wasn’t made by one of their third-tier teams?

    • Really that is what you ask for? The Vita is hurting because people can’t simply appreciate games anymore.

      When people beg for a Karting game and think that is a truly developed first party title you are losing your damn mind at that point.

      Sure it is a fun game but how many god damn Karting games are there? The Vita already has Mod Nation Racers.. Is that not enough Karting for you?

      How many God of War titles have we seen yes all great but so played out, I have owned a Vita for quite some time now and not once have I regretted the fact God of War is not out yet. I played it enough on my PSP…

      Killzone also, sure it will be the most amazing FPS on the Vita no doubt but again Killzone has been done a so many times already it is not a game I am really looking forward to.

      It is always people like you reciting the most basic slew of games that have been done a thousand times over complaining about it lacking games, there are plenty of great games on the Vita you are just refusing to acknowledge them for whatever reason.

      Gravity Rush for christ sakes was amazing enough to say that game was underdeveloped is an insult, along with UC:GA or Unit 13 is just being absolutely ridiculous.

      The Vita hasn’t even been out for a year and people complain so much just like the PS3 when it was first released, now look at all the lovely games the PS3 got and how popular it became. How ironic.

      It is just something I can’t understand people judging a system so early on in it’s life span like this, I could understand if there was a better handheld or even a better one coming out but there isn’t.

      The Vita is the most powerful gaming handheld to exist right now, why people can’t just appreciate it for that is beyond me.

      Instead you beg for games like LittleBigPlanet Karting??? Really??

      • I agree that the Vita is the most powerful hardware, but I do think the software is lacking.

        Take Resistance: Burning Skies. It was good, but not great and certainly not up to Insomniac’s level of programming. Call of Duty is coming but we still don’t have a really good FPS for the system. (Unit 13 is third person) For hardware with two sticks, you’d think that would be already done.

        But Gravity Rush, LBP, and Uncharted are all great. I guess people are just asking for more.

      • Hardware powerful doesn’t sell systems. Software does. Look at the DS vs. the PSP. The PSP was much more powerful, but the DS won.

        “I could understand if there was a better handheld or even a better one coming out but there isn’t”

        But Sony as acting the the 3DS/3DS XL doesn’t exist. Sony needs to think competitively instead of just being in the race (like they did sometimes with the PS3), otherwise, It’ll be like the DS vs. PSP war all over again.

        • I really hate the “which hardware won” argument – and that extends to all platforms. Both the PSP and the DS turned a profit. Sure, the DS made MORE of a profit, but you know what? Everyone got to go home with a paycheck, so everyone came out on top. If your neighbor is making more money than you, that doesn’t mean your losing, that just means you have different goals.
          If the Vita can turn a profit on a small market, that’s fine. I don’t need to know that more people are playing “my system” than the other one, I just need to know that I can play the games that I enjoy (which, admittedly, I can’t do on the Vita).
          I’ve been playing videogames for a quarter-century now, and through 5 console generations, I only owned the “winning” system for 1 of them, but I loved the hell out of my Master System, Genesis, Dreamcast and my PS3, regardless of how many more people owned SNESes.

          • Isn’t the Genesis the won that sold more?

            Master system was outsold by NES
            PS2 or PSOne took Dreamcast
            Xbox 360 sold more than PS3.

          • I suppose that’s true. In the UK it was the clear winner, and in the US, it was neck-and-neck, but the Genesis technically sold more. Worldwide, I think SNES had the edge. But it always seems like SNES is touted as the clear “winner” of that generation. I guess that harkens back to my argument about how dumb paying attention to “The Big Race” is.

  3. I heard there was a bit of lag on the MP, which would ruin things for me. Did you see any?

  4. this is how weeabos spend their weekends?

    • This site is weeabos only, Dood. GTFO. Go read IGN.

      • Stop. Just stop.

        Was debating on picking it up, but saw the download was $39.99. I don’t see why 3rd parties can’t cut us a small deal, and maybe give digital games a 10% price reduction.

        There’s no manual, box, cut to retail, etc.

        • Some 3rd parties do offer small discounts on digital games but not many. Ubisoft does as rayman and AC 3 liberation is 36$ on the psn store.

  5. Can you play the PSP version of Monster Hunter of the Vita yet? That seems like the way to go, especially if you can use the right stick for camera control.

  6. I heard SeanNOLA want to know if there’s paper dolls…

  7. Just got power back today. Thanks god I can’t read reviews and download games again. I thought I was going to go fucking crazy.

  8. I noticed Jim Sterling gave it a 9.0 and complained a whole lot, and IGN gave it the 5.0 (at least their complaints matched the score).

    Same complaints here (except for classes in the sealed off zones. That’s new) and score that split the average. To me that makes a lot of sense considering the type of game.

  9. So is there a difference if you’re grind to collect material that in turn level up your gear and stat-grinding?

    Isn’t the effect in the end, the same?

    With that I’ve finally made peace between Deagle and NOLA.

  10. “Whereas JRPGs traditionally focus on the improvement of a player’s stats, Ragnarok Odyssey employs an inverse approach- tasking players with advancing the proficiency of their weapons and armor while their abilities remain stagnant”

    Ok, first this isn’t a JRPG. Second, have you even played Monster Hunter? Since you compare the two games I would hope so. But it appears not. MH is the same way.

    • Robert knows JRPGs– probably a bit too much. I’m pretty sure he was using that as a point of comparison.

      Now the question is that is Monster Hunter and MH-like games JRPGs? They are Japanese and there are role-playing elements. So because they aren’t turn based they don’t qualify? Explain why for me.

    • Take it from someone who paid the extra $10 for the Merc edition, this game is fun (and needed for Vita) but has flaws.

      Difficulty level jumps all around. As 1Up said some levels are really easy (and you have three “lives”). Other are hard as hell. I haven’t seen too many outlets say that.

      And it’s repetitive. Real repetitive. Monster Hunter has more monsters and they’re more intelligent, running away sometimes. Here, they almost all must hang out until you get close. Menu screens are a mess like the review here said.

  11. Really good review. Like someone said, I liked Sterling’s 9.0, but the words didn’t really seem to match the score.

    IGN on the other hand, the guy admitted he didn’t even finish the game.

  12. I bought this on Wednesday. Ro is much better than this review (and the IGN one let on) It’s actually one of the best PS Vita games out there.

  13. I beginning to think that threads are just for agreeing/disagreeing with review scores and not for actually talking about the game. :(

  14. Are you guys going to review Assassins Creed 3 for console or Vita?

  15. Good review, Robert. Seems fair because you said exactly what was good and bad about the game.

  16. Bought it Last Friday. Worth every penny. One of the best VITA games out there right now. A B- is a joke. 5.0 is an outrage.

    I don’t get what’s wrong with reviews.

  17. I haven’t seen this anywhere but PSN. Is this on cart as well?

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