Slick graphics, a smooth combat system, and gameplay reminiscent of Monster Hunter on the PSP, Ragnarok Odyssey delivers a solid Vita title that fans of the genre will want in their collection. The gameplay is there, but I question its longevity. As I'm a huge fan of the MonHun games, so I'll be comparing the two a little bit throughout my mini-review.
I only put a few hours into the game last night, but I can tell that I'll be putting quite a few more into it in the future. Here's what I liked:
-Instance based quests
-Crafting system based on collecting items from defeated monsters
-No stat upgrades, game is clearly gear-based
-Card system on your gear has me interested. I like mixing and matching skills. In MonHun, this was accomplished through different armor choices, where this game has a single piece of socketable armor you load skill-cards into.
-You can jump and perform aerial combos. I haven't grasped the combo system quite yet, but there are a lot of moves you can perform.
-Very pretty visuals, definitely one of the best looking portable games I've played to date. (I only have the Vita, not 3DS)
-Easy to pick up and play short missions, great for a portable device
-You can pause, although you need to enter a menu to do so.
-Touch-screen potions and emotes is VERY well done. 99% of the game relies on standard button control, while you drink potions by tapping your quick-slots on the touchscreen.
-Virtually non-existent load times when inside an area, and very short load times to get access to it in the first place. By the time you walk through an area portal, you're already in the next part of the map. No waiting around, which is awesome.
-Very easy to use interfaces.
-Detailed information on skills, cards, items, etc. Have a question what a skill does? Just hit triangle and it'll display the skill in more detail. I really like this. Often in MonHun you need to look up skills in your books, which you may or may not have immediate access to.
Here's what I didn't like:
-Very linear. In MonHun you can climb terrain, use ladders, and the maps had vertical movement as well as horizontal movement. This isn't the case, unless the maps open up after Chapter 1. Right now, you're stuck in various corridors until you fight a boss monster, which is usually in a slightly more open area.
-Camera can kill you if you're pushed up against a wall fighting a large monster. It's very difficult to see when someone is attacking you if the camera isn't positioned correctly. The lock-on system helps with this, but I'm still getting the hang of it.
-Blocking/dodging is difficult in some areas as you either A) get swarmed or B) can't get out of the way when attacked by a larger monster. Often it does feel like you're destined to get hit no matter what.
-Potions heal such a minimal amount they're almost worthless early game. Good thing you can take 9, it takes 9 to refill a low HP bar.
-Difficulty spikes like crazy in some instances. Fighting monsters is fairly easy until you're locked into a cage with 10-12 of them at once in an ambush. Then it becomes extremely hectic, but probably much more manageable with more players. I have yet to try multiplayer on this, so I cannot comment on that.
-Lack of class swapping early on. I went with sword warrior, but want to try assassin or hunter. I haven't gotten far enough to unlock the other classes yet.
-Random enemy drops. Who drops what? I have no idea. It's fairly random, which encourages multiple runs for equipment upgrades. The cards drop by the enemy that is on the card though, so fighting orcs will eventually get you an orc card.
-So far, nothing like the MonHun farm. I sort of miss the mines and fishing. I don't think anything like it is in here, but I liked utilizing mine often. I also miss something like the feline chef, which I also used all the time.
At this point I'm really enjoying the game. Regardless of the issues listed above, many of them are negligible and the game is fun. Probably my favorite game on the Vita thus far. I'm going to try multiplayer with a friend tonight to see how it runs and you can have up to 4 players online (and matchmaking is available, yay!). I'm not sure if it'll have hundreds of hours of gameplay like MHFU, but it does provide an enjoyable alternative to that game. I'll post more impressions when I can get a few more hours in tonight.
Have you played Ragnarok Odyssey? What are your thoughts?