Review | Ragnarok Odyssey
I never got into Capcom’s Monster Hunter series on the PSP or Wii. I played it a bit, but just moved on.
However, in that limited amount of time I can see a lot of similarities between it and Ragnarok Odyssey a game based on the Ragnarok Online MMO.
The game starts you off with the ability to make your own character before finding out a bit about the story. The gist of it is you’re helping your guild take care of enemies in the world to make it safer, starting with smaller enemies before building up to gargantuan bosses.
While choosing your character, you can also choose one of six classes to be as well. Each class has a set weapon still and advantage as well, such as the Cleric being able to heal itself or the Assassin using speed to make up for less attack power. The other classes include the Sword Warrior, Hammersmith, Mage and Hunter. Also, unlike other games, you can change your class between missions to help with a specific mission, or just to try it out.
After watching the intro cutscene, you can hop right into missions at the guild hall by going to the mission counter and accepting either quest missions or the occasional optional mission. Most missions are normally fairly simple, such as killing a certain number of a certain monster or finding some items. After completing a mission within 30 minutes, you can see your spoils of war, go back to the guild hall, equip some items, select the next mission, rinse and repeat.
Unfortunately, as you can probably guess, this means that repetition can set in as well. For me, it never hit too bad. I would just put the game down for a bit, play something else, then pick it up again. However, on trips I can see where this could become a bore rather fast.
The biggest drawing point for the missions is the size of them. Missions clocked in at 30 minutes, although very few actually require that time. This is great for a handheld like the Vita, because instead of going for long gameplay experiences, you can get short bursts by playing one or two missions, putting it down and still feeling that progress has been made.
The actual missions are made up of smaller maps you go through killing various enemies to unlock the next path. Characters have a regular attack, with skills tied in during combos using circle. Most classes can also guard and dash as well.
As you go through missions, you’ll also get a firsthand experience of how the difficulty bounces up and down within a level. You can go from facing enemies that will fall in a few hits to areas that feature 20 enemies that can swarm you and quickly take your health down. This isn’t even counting the boss battles that can occasionally be cheap.
I found the best way to deal with enemies was to utilize the juggle system. There’s an AP system that monitors your use of dashing, jumping and bigger attacks. However, to effectively juggle and cause good damage, you’ll have to monitor your AP gauge as battles progress. It’s a good feature that adds some depth to an otherwise simple battle system.
Before moving on, I want to bring up the Vita controls. The only time you’ll use the touchscreen is to take a potion or use a multiplayer interaction. Otherwise, everything is done using the buttons on the Vita. It’s a great use of the screen for the game, and nice to see they didn’t try to force touch controls where they wouldn’t work.
Outside of missions, there’s a house you can go to save and receive gifts from friends, as well as a Tavern you can go to join up with friends and play or even play multiplayer difficulty levels by yourself for better loot. The village also features various vendors to buy equipment from or upgrade equipment with loot you find. Unfortunately, when you get to the higher levels of weapons you try to upgrade, farming becomes key and trying to find where items drop at can become a challenge in itself.
Speaking of loot, another piece of loot you can find are cards, which basically take the place of leveling up in the game. The cards can boost certain stat bonuses, better healing bonuses or enhance skills. Cards cost a certain amount of space to put into armor, so mixing and matching to find the best combos become key. Cards can also be bought as well, but some of the best ones come from enemies.
Going back to the Tavern, it should be noted that parties are limited by the person who is the least farthest in the game. So, if someone is on chapter eight but a person joins on chapter one, you can get stuck running them through. Thankfully, you can customize and set matchmaking rules about what chapters have to be beaten already.
The multiplayer handles fairly nicely, although I occasionally ran into some slight freezes. Still, it’s one of the better action-RPG experiences out there with friends to try out.
Graphically, the game looks impressive as well. Environments are colorful and interesting to see, and bosses can be fun to look at before you destroy them.
Overall, Ragnarok Odyssey offers a fun experience for Vita owners in need of short bursts. It doesn’t break the mold or do anything astonishing, but gamers looking for something to play with other Vita owners will find enjoyment here. However, if you only care about the single player, you may want something with a bit more variety in the long run.