Lost Odyssey – A Forgotten Adventure

I’m not crying, *you’re* crying.

Final Fantasy fans were facing something of a transitional period in their lives in the mid 00’s. Final Fantasy X would prove to be the last “traditional” mainline entry in the series, with turn-based combat and soundtracks from legendary composer Nobuo Uematsu soon to become a thing of the past. XI was fully online, and XII introduced the real time “Active Dimension Battle” system, moving the series in a new direction and modernising the classic formula for newer generations.

Balthier and Fran were pretty cool, I guess. Whatever

For someone like myself who thrives on repetition and routine, quite happy to play the same game with a new story and mild gameplay tweaks over and over again for 30 years, this was a hard pill to swallow. I would nurse a grudge against modern Final Fantasy games that would not abate until 2013, when FFXIV got its glossy hooks into me. But at the time, I felt petty and jilted. Where’s my next classic Final Fantasy game, Square Enix?!

Have I mentioned critically acclaimed MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV before? With an expanded free trial which you can play through the entirety of A Realm Reborn and the award-winning Heavensward expansion up to level 60 for free with no restrictions on playtime?

Chill the fuck out, 17 year old past self. There is hope. Lost Odyssey released in 2007, published by Microsoft for the Xbox 360, developed by Feelplus and planned by Mistwalker, a development studio helmed by Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, who also wrote the story. That’s right, baby. An emotional, world-spanning, epic narrative? It’s in. Turn based combat with random encounters? Back. A soundtrack by Nobuo Uematsu that sets your soul on fire? You better believe that shit is back. We were in business once again.

Pictured: Uematsu composing the score for Lost Odyssey

Sakaguchi wasn’t the only writer on the project either, famed author Kiyoshi Shigematsu contributed over thirty short narrative sections to the game- essentially a break from the gameplay itself to explore the past of the main character in traditional text form. These asides would prove to be some of the more memorable moments of the title, with a couple of the stories in question still capable of bringing me to tears to this day.

I challenge anyone to read Hanna’s Departure with dry eyes.

The gameplay itself wasn’t simply a classic RPG retread, either. The battles themselves had just enough tweaks to keep it fresh and interesting, with the “Aim Ring System” evoking memories of Final Fantasy VIII’s gunblade trigger, and the two character types, immortals and mortals, working together and learning from each other in cool ways.

Did I mention overworld travel is back too? You GOTTA have overworld travel.

Yes, Lost Odyssey truly was a life raft for maladjusted teenagers like myself who couldn’t accept change. It was received well both critically and commercially- Microsoft was even thinking about turning it into a series! But ultimately it has faded into the mists of time. I’d jump at the chance to revisit this world again.

Let’s make it happen, Sakaguchi-sensei!

Author: Joebotnik

I am an interactive entertainment enthusiast.

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