Each map is still divided into small chunks, but this appears to be nothing but a design choice designed to make Monster Hunter fans looking for something to play on their Vita feel more at home. In fact, the game probably would have benefited from an even more traditional approach, adopting a level style similar to that of the sprawling maps of the Phantasy Star Online series.
Combat functions as the heart of these games, and Odyssey deals with it through winning mix of the unique, the familiar, and the accessible. The battle system focuses on combining attacks with different properties into long combos; you can try stunning your enemy, launching it in the air, or slamming it against another monster, a crate, or a wall. By mixing attacks together, the action never ceases flowing, and thanks to the characters’ high mobility — provided you have enough stamina, you can potentially stay in the air the whole time — combat gracefully shifts from the ground to the air and then back to the ground with great dynamism and close to no effort.
On the other hand, one could argue that the game lacks finesse and shies away from technical gameplay. And it does indeed: Ragnarok Odyssey doesn’t take itself too seriously, but neither should you. It takes pride in the simplicity of its controls and mission objectives, but it also leaves wiggle room for dedicated players with options to power up and combine weapons or customize their alter ego’s appearance, stats and skills — equipping cards in armor slots to activate special abilities in a similar fashion to Ragnarok Online.
Like Monster Hunter, players regularly head out into a territory made of multiple smaller maps and littered with monsters that drop valuable crafting material. Each class has a range of attacks and combo moves to pull off, though they control more or less the same. Regular melee attacks are performed by pressing the triangle button, while advanced skills are utilized by pressing circle at various stages of the melee sequence. Most classes can also guard with triangle and RB, as well as dash with the square button — crucial for closing distances and avoiding enemy strikes.
Combat is a satisfying barrel of brawler-style button mashing, and Odyssey isn’t afraid to ramp up the challenge when it sees fit, assaulting the player with multiple aggressive foes or huge boss creatures that can take quite a pounding before falling. The difficulty spikes can be quite a shock to the system, especially as missions go from too easy to surprisingly ravaging at the drop of a hat. It’s usually not too much of a problem, save for the fact that Odyssey often relies on the old cheap method of providing enemies unbreakable combos that are capable of stopping your own attacks far too easily. Most opposition can be skillfully overcome with smart use of dashing and guarding — but be warned that often it feels impossible not to take damage, and some of the grouped opposition feels straight-up bullying as foes take turns to smack you down, render your character dizzy, or toss you halfway across a room.
At first glance Ragnarok Odyssey looks like a mindless hack and slash title, but there is far more to it than that. As mentioned above, there is a fairly deep customization system, which comes into play in combat as well. Since your class makes very little difference (basically just different weapons), you’re forced to solve all your problems by playing better, using items efficiently, creating a new build and or leveling your gear. This all makes a difference, since the enemies tend to be pretty diverse.
As you progress through the various chapters, you will have to fight an array of different enemies. Every enemy has their own little stick, which can VASTLY change how you want to go about the mission. At first you might get poisoned or burned, but later on things like paralyzation can quickly lead to failure. This is because once you get stunned/paralyzed, you’re wide open for attack. It isn’t common for me to lose 40% of my health just by getting paralyzed once, so planning your assaults is a must. If you’re not a big fan of planning ahead, I found good (great?) dodging, potions and power works very well too.
Visit newpsvitagames.net for more ps vita’s new games list.