Lost Odyssey review
Lost Odyssey is a JRPG about an immortal amnesiac mercenary and his quest to regain his memories and discover his purpose. The game is mediocre at best, but the story is fairly good (and the music is excellent). This game made me cry (albeit I played it as a teenager, when I cried a lot more easily).
Particular points I want to praise the story for:
- The main character is strong. He sees his immortality as a curse and his arc is about coming to terms with it. It's handled excellently, central to the plot, revealed in the beginning and resolved in the end; he has a very deep background that we learn about gradually throughout the game; and his emotional vulnerabilities complement his badassery. He isn't confined to a single mood; he behaves like a coherent, believable person. Most of the other characters are also really good.
- The story makes very good use of child characters. Two of the party members are children, and they get both sides of things. On one hand, they save the adults multiple times, are playable in battle (they have magic energy), and have personalities that are more than stereotypes. On the other hand, they do act their age: they get scared of the monsters and hide behind the adults in at least one cutscene, cry several times, and do some really imprudent things when the adults aren't around and need to be saved by them.
- The ending is excellent. While it's terrible that most of the explanation is hidden away in an optional dungeon, it all makes sense if you do understand it, there's no Deus Ex Machina and the triumph comes with a sacrifice and an awesome dilemma for the main character.
There's also a lot to criticize.
- Two of the party members are rulers. I don't consider it a deal-breaker because the story also keeps the evils of government offscreen and unmentioned, so it's more turning a blind eye than consciously justifying evil. It's only standard fare for a fantasy story.
Why you should be an annarchist
- There are a couple of scenes that invoke the misandrist trope of asymmetric violence rules, but it's not as bad as the trope usually is; one of the times another character vaguely criticizes it, another time it's partially excusable. The only really bad instance is in a hidden optional scene. So it's a massive improvement over FF13 in this regard.
FF13 story retrospective
- The magic system is a typical unexplained magic system, and it's used for a Deus Ex Machina at least once (when the Uhran mage teleports Tolten and Seth out of the snowstorm in Gohtza).
- The romance subplot is poor; the pair seems to have no chemistry at all. It's actually very similar to Han/Leia except without the abuse.
Star Wars review
- Both villains are poor. One is a generic power-hungry world-conquerer (albeit he isn't strawman evil; his actions are at least plausibly explicable) and the other is completely incompetent and used for comic relief several times. On the bright side, he's good comic relief.
- The nudity pandering is ridiculous. All four of the female party members are scantily dressed, and two of them have their breasts blatantly exposed. If you thought FF13 was bad...
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