Lost Odyssey

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Lost Odyssey was the second of two Japanese-style RPGs developed for the Xbox 360 by Mistwalker, the other being Blue Dragon. The game was produced by Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, scored by Nobuo Uematsu, written by award-winning novelist Kiyoshi Shigematsu, with character designs by Takehiko Inoue, the manga artist who single-handedly popularized basketball in Japan with the Slam Dunk series.

Now that your expectations are appropriately high, let's move on.

Lost Odyssey is a very Japanese RPG, centered around Kaim Argonar, The Hero, an amnesiac mercenary who is apparently immortal. As the game opens, he is serving in the army of the Magic Republic of Uhra, a nation still in turmoil from the abolition of its monarchy, in their war against the beastmen of Khent. The game opens with the final battle of the war, which is concluded by a meteor strike (which takes the form of lava pouring out of the sky) that wipes out nearly everyone on both sides save Kaim and another amnesiac immortal, a woman named Seth Balmore.

From the moment he meets Seth on, Kaim's memories start coming back. At the same time, Uhra is convinced that the meteor was the result of some finicky wiring in their new Magitek tower, and send Kaim off to investigate. The plot thickens as Councilor Gongora schemes to restore the inept Prince Tolten to the Uhran throne and restore the monarchy. All of this is set against the background of the "Magic-Industrial Revolution," as the nations of the world are struggling to incorporate Magitek into their daily lives. Prominent characters include:

The gameplay is classic turn-based combat based around a skill system. Mortal characters, which form most of the party, learn new skills by gaining levels, and can temporarily gain new skills by equipping items, while immortal characters can learn skills from the items they equip and by "skill-linking" with the mortal characters. Magic is divided into four categories - Black offensive magic and White defensive magic, which are obvious holdovers from Final Fantasy, as well as buffing-focused Spirit magic and Composite magic, which is a fusion of spells from other schools. General gameplay resembles NES- and SNES-era entries in the Final Fantasy series, but with the benefit of the Xbox 360's graphical power and much more elaborate Boss Battles.

Another gameplay feature of note is the "Thousand Years of Dreams" - as the game goes on, Kaim starts to recover his memory in the form of dreams. These dreams are displayed in the game as short stories. Read these at your peril. Tears will be jerked. The game can be played with dialog in both the original Japanese and in English, to satisfy both sides of the Subbing Versus Dubbing debate, and both are very high quality performances. The game was not much of a fan favorite in Japan due to the 360's unpopularity there, but enjoyed much greater success in the West. The opposite occurs with critics reception, scoring a 36/40 from Famitsu but mixed reaction from Western review sites.


Tropes used in Lost Odyssey include:
  • Absolute Cleavage: Sarah and especially Ming.
  • Action Girl: Seth
    • More like Action Mom.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The spheres the group finds scattered through Experimental Grand Staff, especially the entries detailing what happens to the security guards ordered to "test the prototype's interceptor skills throughout the facility" by Professor K.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit, though a rather generous one by modern standards
  • Auction: There's an auction house later on in the game where you can bid on items you've missed. Helpful if you're trying to get the Treasure Trove achievement.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: You will have two monarchs in your party by the end of the game.
  • Award Bait Song: "What You Are".
  • Back for the Dead: Lirum.
  • Badass Boast: When Kaim remembers what Gongora did to him and his family, he vows that, even if Gongora can't die, that Kaim will fill his life with so much pain that he'll spend all of eternity wishing that he could.
  • Badass Grandpa: Sed. Kaim is both badass and a grandfather (several times over, according to A Thousand Years of Dreams), but his eternal youth makes him not an example of this trope.
  • Bag of Sharing: Even when the party members are continents apart.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Cooke.
  • Blessed with Suck: Being immortal may seem awesome, but after a thousand years of everyone you love dying like flies and watching your children grow old and wither away it doesn't seem so great.
    • Inverted by the end of the game: when the love of your life is also an immortal, immortality suddenly does not sound so bad
  • Bling of War: Tolten's diamond-studded gold armor.
  • Bonus Boss: Lots. Persona, Blue Dragon, Holy Beast, Cave Worm, King Kelolon, Ghost of Eastern Ruins, Golden Knight, and Killalon from the DLC dungeon.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Cooke. Mack is significantly more mature.
  • Break the Cutie: Poor Sarah.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: The basis of what Gongora does to the other immortals.
  • Can't Catch Up: Beyond a certain point, the mortal characters in the party will pale into insignificance in battle compared to the four Immortals.
  • Character Level: Works the same way as most RPGs. EXP raises the level, AP helps the immortals to master skills.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Wandering around in Numara's Ghost Town early in the game, you can see one of the petrified monsters that Gongora used to hold the country hostage, which you'll have to fight much later on.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Jansen, and how!
  • Competence Zone: A very broad one. Even without the immortals.
  • Cool Old Guy: Kaim counts, despite not looking all that old. Sed fits this trope perfectly.
  • Creative Sterility: Mixed with Mega Manning. Immortals learn new skills by copying them from mortal party members or from support accessories they've got equipped, but will never come up with new skills of their own. Mortals learn new skills on their own, by leveling up, but can't copy skills.
    • Justified Trope: they already learned all those skills: as their amnesia fades away they start remembering their lost skills when they see their mortals compagnions learning then using them.
  • Criminal Amnesiac: Kaim and Seth are in this state when the game starts
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Mostly averted, but don't expect any of the immortals to be quite as indestructible in gameplay as Kaim is in the "meteor strike" cutscene.
    • Justified, however, since in battles immortal characters come back to life after a few turns if their health bar drops to zero. Kaim could have been unconscious for a bit and woken up.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Male version with Kaim; starts as The Stoic then begins to warm up once he meets his grandchildren and reunites with his wife, Sarah.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Gongora's plan to wipe the memories of the other Immortals requires a personal trauma serious enough that they want to forget. So he arranges them.
  • Doomed Hometown: The Immortals. Their planet was dying of a virus. The Immortals came to the mortal world to find the cause for the virus. The cause itself is the power of human emotion and magic energy.
  • Dungeon Punk: Arguably
  • Driven to Suicide: In the dream, "Letters from a Weakling" a girl named Myna marries into a judgmental, possibly racist, and closed-minded family and community. Their lack of acceptance eventually drives Myna to commit suicide by hanging herself in a barn.
    • Averted by the fact that the immortals simply can't die, so Gongora's plan involves them making them wish they were dead.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Mentioned in Kaim's dreams and quite expected of him; he's seen a lot of horrible things in a thousand years.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Notably, uses the Western elements but with strengths and weaknesses defined by an Eastern cycle.
  • Evil Chancellor: Both Gongora and Kakanas
  • Exposition Break: A fair few at the start of the game.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Averted, sort of. ONE character (Sed the pirate) uses a gun called a magic rifle, but wars are still fought with swords and shields. They have big magic tanks and cannons though.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Since he couldn't kill his fellow immortals, Gongora had to get creative.
  • Fetch Quest: One wonders who thought it would be a good idea to render a funeral as a tedious fetch quest followed immediately by a broken Mini Game.
  • The Fog of Ages: Kaim is a 1000 y/o amnesiac immortal, although his amnesia is really Laser-Guided Amnesia.
    • In the Thousand Years of Dreams, which happens before Laser-Guided Amnesia, Kaim is shown to have an excellent memory. In one case, he hasn't visited a village for 80 years and when someone in the village calls his name, he searches through his memory of the last time he was there(80 years ago!) and concludes he definitely doesn't know the person calling him. He knows the person, but can be forgiven because she was only 6 then, making her 86 when he returns. He remembers her after some prompting.
  • Friend to All Children: Kaim, surprisingly. It's mentioned more than a few times in A Thousand Years of Dreams that Kaim has made friends with children during his travels, and he gets along very well with his grandchildren Mack and Cooke.
  • Functional Magic: As standard for an RPG. Magic is also used in every day life, to create and power cars and weapons.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The immortal characters are still immortal in gameplay, in the sense that they revive after about two rounds if knocked out, but they can be knocked out and otherwise injured and if the entire active party is KO'd it's still Game Over, even though Kaim and Seth withstood a catastrophe that obliterated two armies in the opening cutscene and weren't so much as singed. While one can suppose that the Game Over is due to failure to complete the party's objectives rather than death, they're not always in situations where that should reasonably be the case, and there's no justification given for the divide between the immortals' cutscene invincibility and the way their immortality works in actual play.
  • General Ripper: General Kakanas.
  • Grind Boots: Played with early in the game - at Grand Staff, Kaim and Seth slide neatly down a slope without missing a beat. Jansen, meanwhile, tries to do the same and ends up sprawling at the bottom of the slope.
  • Handsome Lech: Apparently Jansen can turn this on and off at will. When it's "off," he's a talkative comic relief. When it's on, watch out, ladies.
  • Harmless Freezing: Horrifyingly averted when Gohtza and all it's inhabitants are killed in a freezing holocaust.
  • Hermetic Magic: When casting spells, characters will stand still with their eyes closed, concentrating until it's their turn. Some spells take two turns to cast, depending on the spell and the person casting it.
  • Hidden Depths: Jansen proves to be much more than the annoying Talkative Loon he first appears to be, especially after he meets Ming.
  • The High Queen: Ming.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Gongora in Disc 2. It seems winnable at first, given that he doesn't do too much damage, but then he decides to stop playing around and, by using Pain Surge, instantly kills your entire party. No question.
  • Hot Shounen Mom - Both Seth and Sarah
  • I Love Nuclear Power - Magic, for the most part, is treated as an energy source that allows many complex machines (like cars) to be built, but, well, being magic, it's capable of so much more. Your first major quest is going to a giant magic reactor, Grand Staff, which is leaking magical energy and mutating the local wildlife into monsters.
  • Immortality: Kaim, Seth, Sarah, Ming and Gongora are effectively immortal.
  • Impractically Fancy Outfit: Where to start? There's a possible Lampshade Hanging during the opening scenes in which a pair of soldiers wearing headgear with giant rings on them are surprised that Kaim - possibly the least fancily dressed character in the game - managed to survive, "especially in that outfit." In fact, Kaim, Seth, and Sarah all have relatively modest outfits, all things considered. Everyone else... not so much.
    • Ming is one of the worst cases. Seriously, that outfit is definitely one of the more Stripperiffic outfits in the game. And she's supposed to be a queen?
      • Fridge Brilliance: given Ming's immortality and enormous power and cunning (at least when she's not crippled with amnesia), she's basically reached a point where regalia has become superfluous: her subjects fully expect her to remain on the throne for centuries to come, so why would she need to maintain appearances?
  • Infant Immortality: Both Cooke and Mack can die in battle (or Ko'ed, but either way they get hurt pretty badly) and Mack Can actually die if you bring his HP down to zero in the boss battle where he's possessed in the Crimson Forest. Cue Tear Jerker of Cooke sobbing over Her Bothers Corpse. Worse when you remember this is basically right after Lirum's funeral.
  • I See London: Oh General Kakanas, you wacky jingoistic traitor....
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kaim comes across like this at the start. Jansen has his moments, but it's always clear that he's a pretty nice guy.
  • Joke Character: Tolten. He's like Edward, but with the advantage of having a real weapon to use... although one of his weapons happens to be the best in the game
    • He's actually a very good physical attacker (the strongest out of the mortals). However, He's outclassed by the immortals Kaim and Seth, and they can both learn his abilities.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: While nearly every pot, bookshelf, chest, and drawer in the visitable parts of town has useful items in it, the game has a hilarious Lampshade Hanging for this trope, in that the inhabitants of houses and proprietors of inns want you to take them for some reason. The innkeepers say that all the gold and potions lying around their businesses are "complimentary," while private citizens consider it a favor if you removed some of the clutter... you know, those piles of 100 gold coins that just do nothing for the flow of the room.
  • Large Ham: Gongora leaves no scenery unchewed.
  • Last Lousy Point: The game's infamous "Treasure Trove" achievement requires you to obtain every single item from all the lootable containers in the world. This includes not only treasure chests, but also every single pot, canister, rock pile, rammable tree, poster, underwater bubble, and other sorts of hidden stashes. Even with a guide, it's an incredibly arduous task. If you missed even one thing (and it's not for sale at the Auction House), good luck scouring the entire world for that Last Lousy Treasure.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang: Used very briefly for a pair of bosses at the end of the game. You separate into two teams of two characters and both parties must defeat their respective boss on the same turn.
    • Also used in the Eastern Spirit Temple in Disc 4.
    • Done by force in Disc 3
  • Limited Wardrobe: Kaim and the other immortals are shown in flashbacks ranging from 5 years to 1000 years, and with only a couple of exceptions from Kaim and Sarah, they all are wearing the same exact clothes. Aren't they worried about not being in fashion anymore?
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: Loading screens stick around for a while, but contain information on party member statistics.
    • The loading times are successfully mitigated by loading the game onto your system's hard drive (to the point where it's hard to take in the party member stats that quickly)... of course, that takes up over 24 gigs of memory for the four discs. Unless you just install the disc you're currently on, then delete it and install the next one when you reach the changeover point, of course.
  • Lost Forever: Averted. Any items missed in one-shot dungeons show up in the auction house.
    • Played straight, however, with the Shieldus and Barricadus spells (likely a developer oversight). If you didn't purchase them before Gongora freezes Gohtza, you won't ever be able to get them. The front gate of Khent is also inaccessible after that point, though there's barely anything to do there.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: Occurs when Kaim meets Lirum in Numara.
  • Lull Destruction: The voice actor for Jansen clearly strove to fill every second he could with chatter and wisecracks, at least on the English track.
  • Magitek, and lots of it. Magic has sparked what the game calls a "Magic-industrial revolution," allowing cars and all sorts of flashy technology to be developed. For some reason, guns are the one thing they don't have in abundance, but all sorts of other bizarre machines abound. Maybe it's the fact that you don't need a gun when you can shoot fireballs from your fingers.
  • Male Gaze: When Ming has to prove her identity as the Queen of Numara, she removes the silver emblem on her chest to reveal a royal crest. The camera focuses quite intently on her breasts during this.
  • Mayfly-December Romance: Jansen and Ming
    • It's mentioned in A Thousand Years Of Dreams that Kaim has been married many times over his lifetime, and Seth briefly mentions in a flashback that she took a mortal husband.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Gongora
  • Manly Tears: Kaim, who worked as a mercenary for countless battles, wars, and various odd jobs in the past, bursts into tears when he finally reunites with his daughter, Lirum, on her deathbed.
  • Medieval European Fantasy: The setting for the world borders on this, along with being steampunk.
  • Meganekko: Sarah.
  • Motor Mouth: Jansen. Has the remarkable ability to pack over five times as many excuses, commiserations, and complaints into a sentence as the average person. And every word is solid gold.
  • No Guy Wants an Amazon: White Mages Sarah and Ming are the romantic interests of story, while Action Girl Seth is not. Obviously subverted by Sed's unseen father.
  • Non-Lethal KO: Immortal characters automatically revive themselves after a few rounds.
  • Nonstandard Game Over: Usually if you fail to defeat any of the Puzzle Bosses the right way someone critical to the plot dies and you get a game over.
  • Obviously Evil: Gongora is so obviously shifty (just look at that Beard of Evil!) that the leader of the council keeps revising his position within the first half hour of the game. First he wants the construction of Gongora's giant magic tower, the Grand Staff, temporarily halted so he can send investigators, then he says he definitely wants it suspended and sends two unkillable people to check out why nobody's reported back from it, then he orders Gongora under house arrest, all in the same day. Sadly the heroes don't tumble to his evil until after the damage is done.
  • Our Immortals Are Different: The Immortals aren't technically immortal; it's just a difference in the passage of time. One year on their home world is equivalent to one thousand Earth years. It's more than Year Inside, Hour Outside, though, since not only do they continue to age so slowly as to be effectively immortal, they're also functionally unkillable by any method available within the game world.
  • Papa Wolf: One wonders if Kaim wouldn't have hated Gongora so much if he hadn't been involved with Lirum's disappearance.
  • Pet the Dog: The first clue that Jansen is a better person than he seems to be is when he saves a bird from getting blasted with hot steam in the White Boa's engine room. Ming, observing, remarks that he's really quite kind.
  • Pirate Girl: Seth
  • Pirates: Seth and Sed. Cooke wants to be a pirate when she grows up.
  • Point of No Return: Subverted twice with Grand Staff 1+2 and then played straight with the Tower of Mirrors
  • Prison Episode: Kaim and company are at one point obliged to escape from the brig of a royal yacht, dodging security drones and pussy-footing across pressure-sensitive floor tiles. Hilariously, they begin their escape by wiping the memory of their guard and convincing him that they were jailed by accident, so even if the player makes a mistake and the party gets caught again, the guard will apologize and let them back out.
  • Puzzle Boss: Quite a few of these.
  • Rags to Royalty: Jansen
  • Random Encounters: As standard for an RPG.
  • Really One Thousand Years Old
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Ming and eventually Tolten.
  • Save Point: They usually show up just before a boss fight.
  • Schmuck Bait: Most Puzzle Bosses in the game can end with you getting a Non Standard Game Over or curb stomped because you failed to realize you were fighting a puzzle boss, not a regular one.
  • Sealed Evil in a Duel: Exactly what Gongora wants to prevent. The fact that he tremendously pissed off Kaim, Seth, Sarah, and Ming does not work in his favor.
  • Sexy Backless Outfit: Seth. Kaim's armour also conveniently leaves his lower back bare, for the players who prefer men.
    • Or Fanservice for us female gamers.
  • Shirtless Scene: Kaim gets a short one early on.
  • Shout-Out: A couple of these, such as the Kelolon and the Bonus Boss Blue Dragon, both references to fellow Mistwalker game, Blue Dragon
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Jansen.
  • Smug Snake: Gongora. He has enough power, intelligence and "interpersonal skills" that you'd think he'd make a fine Magnificent Bastard... but he's so obviously evil and completely lacking in charisma, pummeling the slimy little git is all you'll think about.
    • Also done literally when Gongora turns into a giant snake to kill the head councilman.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Final Fantasy I-X.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: After you're captured on The White Boa, you're forced to sneak through the ship to retrieve your equipment.
  • Stripperiffic: Queen Ming.
  • Tagalong Kid: Mack and Cooke.
  • Take That: The rhetoric of turning Numara into a great military power that General Kakanas spouts makes him sound an awful lot like George W. Bush. The trope applies even more when considering that Kakanas talks big, but is an inept loser in the end.
  • Team Dad: Kaim, of the quietly surly but caring variety. Rather fitting, since his grandchildren are part of the group.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: Compromises a majority of the plot development in disc 3. Seth accidentally returns to Uhra with Tolten and reunites with her son, Sed, Cooke and Mack try to find a violet aurora that can reunite them with their deceased mother, Kaim and Sarah chase after them, and Gongora's weather machine separates Jansen and Ming from everyone else.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Tolten is such a well-meaning idiot it's almost painful to watch.
  • Victory Pose: Humorously, amidst the standard Victory Poses of the other character's, Tolten's is a relieved sigh.
  • War Is Hell: A number of Kaim's dreams deal with the horrors of war.
  • Warp Whistle: The world map acts as this, there's no over-world to speak of.
  • Wasted Song: Battle Conditions, a particularly upbeat and badass boss track, is woefully underused.
  • We Are as Mayflies: Immortality is not genetic, so Kaim outlives his daughter and Seth looks younger than her own son.
  • White Magician Girl: Subverted. Cooke is female, a healer, carries a staff... and is a Bratty Half-Pint who wants to grow up to be an Action Girl. Played straight, however, by Sarah.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Another major theme, for obvious reasons, but it's subverted by the ending in which the characters agree that eternity isn't so bad after all.
  • The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: Ming Numara
    • That's the consequence of her amnesia: her dream segment and what the party can learn by talking to her subjects shows us that without her memory loss she is a ruler with over nine centuries of experience in leadership under her belt who's frighteningly good at her job yet remain exceptionnally casual with her subjects outside of her working hours to the point that they treat her like their favorite aunt: the Queenly mask is meant to hide her crippled memory.