I just picked up Lost Odyssey for the X360, and played for a couple of hours. Clearly I haven’t played enough to be able to judge the overall quality of the game itself, but this rant is about something bigger.
Jeez, could there BE a more tired old game genre? For all its fantastic beauty,…Lost Odyssey plays exactly like a 20 year old game. Can’t we go somewhere new with the mechanics? And no, let’s not just make the battles real-time. That’s almost as old, and not the point. The point is, when I play something like LO (or Persona 3, which I talked about earlier this year), I just wanna run back to my computer and code up an entirely new vision of party-dungeon interaction.
That’s much easier said than done, of course. But I’m not sure I can say, "If it were that easy, everyone would do it." Clearly there’s a giant market for the same old dungeon-crawl mechanics, and a whole bunch of players who see nothing wrong with playing 50 different games that all function nearly identically. Japanese developers are famous for doing the same thing over and over. LO is from Square Enix, after all. And ChunSoft has been doing nothing but cutesy rogue-alikes for ten years (which makes my wife happy).
On a related topic, I have a profound dislike and distrust of Hollywood. So when I find a game like LO, which is really a "cinematic experience" assembled on top of a game engine, I naturally assume that some movie guy wanted to make a movie, and settled for making a game, and that situation bugs the hell outta me. You never see a video game guy desperately want to make a video game, but settle for making a movie, do you? Of course not. Movie people look down upon games as an inferior art form (they aren’t) and just assume their movie skillz will naturally allow them to make a good game (it won’t). They don’t get that the Art of a game lies in its functionality and gameplay, NOT its designer-imposed storyline.