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Previews

Lost Odyssey

The all-action RPG with more stops than a train timetable sent by telegram...

After years when just releasing an RPG on Xbox was enough to see the devoted genre fans promise to cleave the pointy ears off their first born with a rubber halberd just for a glimpse of a random battle, now - suddenly - there's some competition. And judging by their E3 performances it could be Lost Odyssey that loses out.

While the in-game graphics slap your optic nerve like a discount dominatrix, our latest look at the second child of Sakaguchi's seasoned loins didn't reduce anyone to pools of geek-goo.

Lost property
However stunning the reel shown on stage at Microsoft's conference looked, however many people hooted at the latest demo, it did little to dispel the same worries that appeared since we first got hands-on. It wasn't that there wasn't much to show.

Zoom

Indeed, for the first time we discovered that our hero, the 1000-year old Kaim, doesn't always have to be in the party; at set times the elderly mullethead will be dragged off leaving you with other immortals; blue-haired magician Seth, Tolten, a golden knight, and Sed who packs heat, plus wrinkles.

Or that story gets in the way. Plot seems to play less of a role than some of Sakaguchi's previous million character chunt-erings. Instead Kaim's story of love's lost will be told in a separate mix of storyboard and sound titled 'A Thousand Years of Dreams'.

And with the flashbacks made optional, the game's pacing is nippier than Blue Dragon with moves flying in, timed button-presses used to target attacks and the magical effects being reigned in to last seconds rather than longer than the Hundred Years War. The interactive backdrops were also on show with a battle below a crane which shed its explosive load onto the foe below - foes that seem to range from immense dinosaurs and impressive steel beasts, to crappy little cute things.

No. It's some of the other stuff. Like, the action constantly being stopped and started again It's not ponderous as much as annoying. And the new vocals demoed for the first time at E3 seemingly being recorded by people with all the sexual dynamism of a night watchman on a trading estate.

And while duff voice acting is pretty standard in Japanese RPGs, there might be too many other, niggly areas in which Lost Odyssey is exactly that: standard fare through and through.

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