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Ragnarok Odyssey Review: A Reason to Own the Vita

Ragnarok Odyssey is a title I heard about through my network within XSEED. For many people there is not a lot of games to offer for Sony’s newest handheld, the Vita. For people like me, despite my negativity, can find a silver lining and a reason why I have a Vita. I can safely say Ragnarok Odyssey joins that family of “Reasons to have a Vita”. With some ideas that are new and old the game proves itself as a standalone skill driven JRPG.

Ragnarok Odyssey is a game taking place in an original world based on the Norse Pantheon. War is raging on between the humans and giants after the fall of the gods that separated the races. That is the story and mythos behind the game. To be quite honest, I enjoy the Norse Pantheon but this game’s story did not interest me too much. It falls a bit flat in the hook factor.

The real reason why people should get this game is because it is fun as hell. With my blunt execution aside, Ragnarok Odyssey does a lot right in terms of gameplay. There is too much focus on grinding, levels, and high level equipment in today’s WRPG and JRPG world. When stats are everything it is easy to just Google what the best weapon is and farm until you get it (I am looking at you Borderlands 2). Offering a skill driven combat system with a crafting mechanic that allows the player to customize their armor’s abilities Ragnarok Odyssey is a game worth playing.

I will start off saying this game has random difficulty spikes that can be enjoyable or just plain frustrating. The combat system is a bit clumsy at first and the tutorial is not the most informative. There is nothing wrong with that, I can push buttons and see what they do to figure things out. This somewhat new “Sling, Fly, and Smack” battle system revolves around juggling enemies and hitting them into other enemies or walls to cause more damage and rack up a combo count. Some enemies can be juggled immediately and some have to be staggered or stunned to juggle. Deal enough damage and you can even juggle bosses.

Aside from the combat system there is character customization. While it is not the deepest around in the beginning, once you start doing missions and buying clothing the customization gets a lot bigger. There are over 20k combinations that are based on gender, facial features, accessories, and job class. Which brings me to the class system; they are Sword Warrior, Hunter, Hammersmith, Assassin, Mage, and Cleric. Each class uses different clothing and weapons. They also have very different base stats. You are not limited to the class you pick upon starting your game. You have the ability to change your class (later in the game). Your stats are created by armor, tarot cards (get to that in a second) and weapons so the ability to change your class is easy and can break up the monotony if that is your sort of thing. Variety is the spice of life it seems.

Tarot cards are picked up from enemies, earned from missions, or bought at the card store. These cards have buffs and debuffs that greatly vary. There are versions of the same card that can be better and generally they are much rarer. Many of these cards have debuffs accompanying the buffs which makes you think about if equipping an Attack lvl 3/Defense Drop lvl 2 is a good idea.

Accompanying the card system there is a craft/refine system that will consume all of your funds. With the right amount of coin and materials you will be able to increase the card equip capacity of your armor or increase the attack power of your weapon. You can also dye your armor to fit your color scheme of accessories. A lot of the really good items are hard to come by and you may have to Google to find the enemy that drops them. While it is not a necessity I found a weapon and have upgrading it 5 levels and even with the new weapons to make at the blacksmith I still haven’t had to change the weapon.

The way the game plays out is in linear dungeons that you must break boxes and kill enemies to proceed. The objectives range from killing 100 enemies to collecting 20 of an item dropped by specific enemies. There is not too much variety in this but there is the end of chapter boss fight and in some cases mid chapter boss fight. This is when the difficulty can spike. The lock on system allows you to target certain areas of the boss to hinder it in battle. Some bosses seem to demolish you in a few hits and when you die, your reward is halved. If you die three times, you have to start over. The game is skill based so you can’t grind to become a higher level. The most you can grind for is money from redoing the same missions and the boss drops. If you die, you need to dodge more, simple as that.

The level variety is not the best and you will be going to the same area multiple times. The music is pretty good but nothing spectacular. The core gameplay is what really matters and it works splendidly. The multiplayer is also really well done. The connection is pretty solid and you can easily find rooms to join. You can play with up to four people and for some of the extra missions, it is needed.

Ragnarok Odyssey is a game that every Vita owner must have. The gameplay is challenging and fun. It can get really repetitive which is my biggest gripe about the title. I give Ragnarok Odyssey an 8.75/10.

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