Since the release of the PS Vita the handheld has faced major setbacks in terms of economic return and overall consumer affinity. When the PS Vita was showcased at E3 Sony had stated they would release over 40 games during the course of the PS Vita’s initial release. Only a portion of this number has been released, and with the current departure of Monster Hunter from Sony’s arsenal it is looking grim for the PS Vita. But there is some hope for PS Vita owners and future owners. A new title has just been released dubbed Ragnarok Odyssey. A game heavily influenced by Monster Hunter concepts, and norse mythology. Is Ragnarok Odyssey the messiah of the PS Vita? or is it just another game to sweep under the carpet?
Ragnarok Odyssey like I said earlier is influenced by the Monster Hunter formula that has led the franchise to major success over the years. The story of Ragnarok Odyssey is not one of depth or does it have any deep philosophical themes. It is a basic story that has you put into the role of a mercenary. As a mercenary you’re tasked with protecting the town/fortress you are currently inhabiting from the lummoxes. Lummoxes are these large creatures that control monster hordes and lead these attacks on the town, they may be classified as boss level monsters. The story unfolds in progression as you complete quests and continue to make a name for yourself as a mercenary. Other than that there is nothing really to flesh out from the story besides that fact it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and leaves room for humor which always a good thing.
The biggest star of Ragnarok Odyssey is its gameplay. The gameplay mechanics in Ragnarok Odyssey is what sets it apart from being just another Monster Hunter clone. Smooth, and fun are the first words that come to mind when i think about how the game feels and runs. Ragnarok Odyssey is fast paced and tends to lean a bit more into the hack and slash genre of gameplay. But it is no way mindless, the game is designed to ease you into to battling monsters and their larger counterparts. Even though the game is easy in its beginner phases, you cannot just charge in and mash attack buttons. If you do plan to use this method expect to fail numerous quests.
In certain instances you can get ambushed by a group of varied monsters at random as you progress through the area map. When an ambush occurs you’re locked into that specific area until you defeat all the monsters part of the ambush, this can range from 1-40+ monsters at a time. There are key attributes given to your character aside from their class for you to toy around with. The first would obviously be the base stats all classes come with. These stats affect the amount of attack, defense, agility and the damage area a character has.
You can select between the sword warrior, hammersmith, hunter, mage, cleric, and assassin classes. Each class varies in their stats, for example the hammersmith class has the highest damage output and the hunter has the lowest. If you ever feel that the class you chose in the beginning doesn’t suit you, you can always change it later in the game. This feature is unlockable after you reach a certain part in the story and allows you to switch at will between any of the listed classes. You’re stats aren’t set in stone though; you can increase your health, stamina, damage, and defense stats by completing a chapter in the main story.
The primary weapon of all players when it comes to battling large hordes and boss level monsters is a unique mode called “Dainsleif Mode”. Dainsleif Mode is a state players get through playing the story, it increases the players damage and dashing abilities. This allows players to even up the odds when facing a larger horde or boss level monster. This mode does have its downside though, when a player is in Dainsleif Mode you take consistent damage and the only way to keep your health up is to keep on fighting. You can toggle this mode on/off by touching its icon on the screen if there is nothing left for you to fight.
There are many other key aspects to Ragnarok Odyssey’s gameplay that separates it from other games centered around this genre. Ragnarok Odyssey offers a robust customization system involving armor sets, headgear, weapons, dyes, and hairstyles to separate your character from everyone else’s. Usually armor plays a big part in stats and defense against certain creatures. In Ragnarok Odyssey armor doesn’t have direct influence on stats but allows you to equip items called “Cards”. Cards are stat inducing items that you can attach to your armor and gain access to benefits such as ATK LV.1. Not all cards give off the same effects, some will just give you benefits while others come with a cost for their usage other than their card cost. Weapons can also have effects such as these, and their effects can be amplified by refining them. Cards can be obtained through purchase or by defeating monsters and receiving a drop. You cannot equip an infinite amount of Cards to your armor, but you can expand your armor sets by paying a fee to increase the amount you can equip. A feature that was also included was a lock on/off system. This allows players to hone in on monsters and target specific body parts of boss level monsters for more damage and crafting materials otherwise unattainable.
Lastly the aesthetics of Ragnarok Odyssey are breath-taking on the PS Vita. Ragnarok Odyssey brings the OLED screen to life with its bright and vibrant textures. The level designs stand out from all their counterparts, and provide a non linear artistic scenery. The soundtrack was very pump oriented with the singular goal of getting you excited for combat. The quest hub that was designed for players was simple and got the job done. You could report to HQ to be assigned story missions or you could travel to the tavern to take on harder versions of those quests. The tavern acts as the multiplayer hub as well. You can choose to party up with 3 other players VIA ad/hoc or wireless play.
Ragnarok Odyssey is what the PS Vita needed to bring out its true power and appeal. Being a heavy Monster Hunter player I was on the fence about this game prior to playing it. I can proudly say that Ragnarok Odyssey truly shines as its own original title even though it borrows a large amount of Monster hunter concepts. Ragnarok Odyssey is a day one purchase for anyone who owns a PS Vita or intends to pick one up.