Impressions – Ragnarok Odyssey (PS Vita)

Following up after a few months because, try as I might, I just can’t find reasons to keep going back to Ragnarok Odyssey. I’ve played probably 30-40 hours – which is a very small amount of time for the genre – and I’ve realized that certain aspects that seemed positive in the initial play experience just don’t hold up in the long run.

So I’m done. I just don’t find any further joy in playing. The parts of the game that burned me out were actually some of the parts I was excited for initially. For my initial impressions, you can see my 8-hour review here..

The simplification of the game seemed promising. But then I realized that they’d taken it to an extreme that is virtually unforgivable. During your first chapter you aren’t able to change classes, you aren’t able to upgrade your weapon more than twice, and you can’t really find any weapons that are significantly different. Once you get past that, you can upgrade further, but you realize that regardless of which specific weapon of a certain type I choose to use… I’ll be using the exact same resources to upgrade it… and the upgrades will come at a very slow pace and have a seemingly minimal impact. Perhaps sometime down the road these upgrades become meaningful… but in the early game it just feels redundant… and really punishing since if you find a better sword, for example, then you have to go back to the start and farm out all the ‘rare’ basic materials you used in upgrading your first sword so you can upgrade past that stage, and then basically progress through using the exact same materials you used initially – at least… as far as I’d seen.

Altogether it’s a very frustrating experience… and one that is just exacerbated by the awkwardness of the map layout. One of the things that made this genre so appealing was that you had various methods of traversing the map and the monsters would take advantage of them too sometimes… you had freedom but so did they. Ragnarok Odyssey so completely removes this feeling of freedom that they might as well not even have a map. They might as well just have you accept a mission, go to an arena, and have enemies spawn one after another for you to fight until you’ve killed enough. There is no gathering except from crates around the map, most of your fighting is done in little ‘caged’ areas that resemble nothing so much as a 3d fighting game’s arena, and your attack combos often take so long that you really can’t safely use most of them unless you’re fighting something incredibly weak.

Why would you add an attack combo system where every attack has a massive rampup time and you have no way to interrupt it or disengage really? It is kind of baffling, really. It is unfortunate because most of the combos are quite fun when you get them off – but the likelihood of doing so drops so dramatically so quickly that you end up falling back on the attack with the least ‘windup’ time over and over again until they’re ready to be stunned or knocked into the air(which you can tell by the convenient indicator above their head) in stead of trying to create interesting combinations. Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by how clean recent games have been… but after the novelty of the elements of this game wore off, I quickly tired of it.

It is a real shame – this game had a lot of potential, and could have been something fantastic. But it fell so far short that it ended up being more tiring than anything.

 

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