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Lost Odyssey (Xbox 360) artwork

Lost Odyssey (Xbox 360) review


"You know, if you don't put much thought into things, the concept of immortality is pretty damn sweet. Since you're living forever, you'll be a drifter (don't want to freak out the mortals with how you're not aging, do you?), which means you'll see as much of the world as you please. You'll get to experience all sorts of cultures, watch civilizations rise and fall and pretty much be a walking encyclopedia of knowledge throughout time. "



You know, if you don't put much thought into things, the concept of immortality is pretty damn sweet. Since you're living forever, you'll be a drifter (don't want to freak out the mortals with how you're not aging, do you?), which means you'll see as much of the world as you please. You'll get to experience all sorts of cultures, watch civilizations rise and fall and pretty much be a walking encyclopedia of knowledge throughout time.

Leave it to someone who's spent over a thousand years making his way through life to show me the truth. Immortality can be a real bummer, dude. Throughout the centuries Kaim Argonar has been around, his life hasn't been all peaches and cream. In fact, it's been marked by one tragedy after another to the point where amnesia seems to be a blessing for him in Lost Odyssey. Why would a person want to remember the repeated heartbreak of being fated to lose every single person with whom they develop an emotional attachment? He's immortal, they're not. What to him would seem to be a few happy days.......would be their entire life.

Which makes his immortality an eternity of loneliness.....an eternity of searching the world for anything giving his unending life some sort of meaning and purpose. As Kaim progresses through Lost Odyssey, he rediscovers lost memories in the form of stories, allowing the player to realize just how depressing his existence truly has been at times. On its own, this is a well-done turn-based RPG -- but the addition of Kiyoshi Shigematsu's "Thousand Years of Dreams" series of stories makes it a haunting experience that stuck with me every night after I turned off my 360.

What is the best occupation for a man who can't be killed in one of those worlds where swords and magic collide with some sort of technological revolution (aka: the average J-RPG planet)? Mercenary. Throughout the centuries, Kaim's life has been reduced to being a sellsword for one nation or another in a seemingly endless series of conflicts. His skill on the battlefield is unparalleled because, well, he's likely seen more fights than all the other soldiers put together.

And so he goes from one fight to another, occasionally getting the chance to take a deep breath and appreciate the subtle hints of beauty around him. There's a certain poetic nature to Kaim's musings. He's the sort of person who can appreciate the sight of the petals of a lone flower glistening in the early-morning sunlight.....while being resigned to the fact that flower will be trampled under the feet of onrushing soldiers in mere hours. When you have an eternity to ponder things, you notice and appreciate the smallest and seemingly least significant things around you. It keeps you sane.

During times of peace, or perhaps when he just needs a break from the battlefield, Kaim's existence becomes that of a drifter. He goes from town to town, seeking out odd jobs. Sometimes he stays in a place for weeks, months, maybe even years.....but always finds himself back on the road. The loneliness of his existence being the one constant. Nearly all of Shigematsu's stories reiterate that point. Kaim is not like other people and he knows it. He has no true kinship with those he encounters and nearly always maintains a certain emotional distance. His existence may be permanent, but all that seems to accomplish is making it devoid of purpose. A few years on the battlefield, followed by a few more spent traveling and selling his services as a laborer.....repeated over and over until it all seems devoid of meaning.

That is, of course, until the events of Lost Odyssey start to unfold. As Kaim's amnesia starts to unravel, he discovers family members he didn't know he had, as well as other immortals and winds up gaining a true purpose for his life. It all seems fitting that a guy like Kaim, whose life had been a seemingly endless journey without a destination, would see this game's quest conclude with a happy ending. But then, for one fated to exist as long as him, can you really call it an ending?

Rating: 9/10

HAMMER-time's avatar
Community review by HAMMER-time (April 24, 2009)

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