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Change YoY: =   My Rating: 9.0 / 10

Back during the 7th console generation I felt like there was very little reason for me to get an Xbox 360. I had a PS3 at the time, and just about every game that I was interested in was available on it, so I just thought I had no need for a 360. I didn't really care that much about Halo, Gears of War, or Fable. However, that generation was missing one thing I really wanted: a great Final Fantasy game. Except we did get one, just under a different name and on a console I didn't own. Hironobu Sakaguchi had founded a new company called Mistwalker after leaving Square, and eventually made a deal with Microsoft to develop games for their new console back when they were really trying to break into the Japanese market. This resulted in two exclusive titles, the latter of which is the topic here. Lost Odyssey was just about the only game I really felt sorry for missing during this period of time, and that remained the case until a decade later. My then-girlfriend, and current wife, bought herself an Xbox 360, and I figured I might as well try and find a copy of Lost Odyssey now, and eventually I did, for 5 euros. Turned out to be one of the best 5 euros I've ever spent.

There's a lot I loved about Lost Odyssey. The setting is quite unique, a world that is just emerging into a new world of technology following something of an industrial revolution, albeit one powered by new forms of magic rather than science, the characters are very well-written and each have their own clear personalities and goals, the story is admittedly following many familiar beats, but includes enough twists and turns to always keep the player guessing, and the music by Nobuo Uematsu is excellent. Yet, rather oddly, perhaps the best part of the whole game are these short extra stories the player can unlock over the course of the game that recount various events from the past, mainly related to the main character Kaim. While they aren't necessarily any masterpieces of literature, they are expertly crafted and emotionally resonant short stories that left a lasting impression on me, some of them genuinely hitting me quite hard as well. I still remember many of them vividly, even though it's been years since I played the game.

It's a shame Mistwalker hasn't developed a single new console game in over a decade now, having seemingly become a mobile game developer after The Last Story on the Wii. Perhaps because of that, Lost Odyssey feels almost like a swansong for the kind of RPG Sakaguchi once popularized with Final Fantasy. 

Last edited by Darashiva - on 26 November 2023