Title: Ragnarok Odyssey Ace
Developer: Gravity / XSEED
Game Type: PlayStation Vita
Download: 2.1 GB
NA Availability: Digital Download | Retail
EU Availability: Digital Download
If there were a genre of games that I would say you find the most of on the PlayStation Vita, as opposed to any other console, I could not think of many genres. Many of the PlayStation Vita’s games are of various genres also found on other consoles. RPGs like Persona 4 Golden, Conception II, and Final Fantasy X. First person shooters like Call of Duty and Resistance. Racing games like Need for Speed and Sonic All-Stars Racing. Fighting games like Street Fighter x Tekken and PlayStation All-Stars. But there is one genre that I would agree that Vita has a lot of that most other systems don’t, Hunting and Raiding.
To define the genre of Hunting/Raiding games isn’t very easy. In essence, it is the genre that games like Monster Hunter started, where you are sent into a dungeon on a timed mission to defeat enemies or enemies and a boss and to collect materials and weapons as you lay the smackdown, normally with huge weapons that it doesn’t seem possible to carry and use. It’s hard to define the genre because so many people think of it differently. Some call them Action RPGs. Others say they’re Action titles. The worst part? Even big companies call them different things.
The Vita has been home to many titles like this, as have the 3DS and PSP. However, the Vita is home to a lot of them. Monster Hunter began this genre and the Vita is getting a Monster Hunter game before too long, but there are other options. Ragnarok Odyssey. Toukiden: The Age of Demons. God Eater 2 in Japan. Soul Sacrifice. There are a lot of different Hunting/Raiding games available and Ragnarok Odyssey has recently been advanced and released in the form of its new form. This is our official review of Ragnarok Odyssey Ace for the PlayStation Vita.
Raiding games don’t have a huge aspect on story. For the most part, it will be kind of like an MMO, where the story is set there, but most of it is about what kind of quest you’re currently working on. The story is normally set in stone at the beginning and just emphasized when you get the bigger quests at key points during the game. The same is set for Ragnarok Odyssey Ace. Except for its background.
Unlike other Hunting games, Ragnarok Odyssey and Ace have background elsewhere. Whereas games like Soul Sacrifice and Toukiden have their own world they’ve created, Ragnarok Odyssey is set in the same world as the popular Norse-themed MMO from 2003, Ragnarok Online. All throughout the game, you will see enemies that are from the MMO and reference after reference about people and locations from the MMO as you play. This is what makes Ragnarok Odyssey’s story unique, as it has it’s basis from Ragnarok Online.
To put it simply, your land is being invaded by a race of huge beings known as Giants. These “lummoxes” as your commander likes to call them, are causing problems throughout the entire kingdom and it’s your job to go after them as well as to defend your own base and land against attacks from the leaders among the giants. This is put in place and the entire game is built on quests leading up to launching attacks to defeat the leaders of the Giants.
The first thing you need to know if that this genre isn’t well-defined by the communities. It feels like an RPG at times, and at other times, it doesn’t. So, we are going with that this is a Hunting game. You will spend most of the time in this game, doing quests that will have you exploring dungeons and other areas, in search of killing a certain number of monsters, a certain type of monster, gathering materials, or taking down a Boss.
When you first start up the game, you will be asked to create your character. All of the character models are heavily inspired by anime, so if you like anime or that style of game, then you’ll be right at home here. With the creator, you can pick your character’s gender, hairstyle, costume colors, skin color, voice, hair color, among other things. It’s fairly extensive, though not as much so as other games.
The most important part of Character Creation is choosing your class. This is the Job Class you can play the game as, and how you will fight, with each class having a different kind of weapon and abilities. There are six classes to choose from, each having diverse abilities. You can choose Swordsman (Broadsword), Hammersmith (Hammer/Axe), Assassin (Twin Daggers), Hunter (Bow), Mage (Staff), and Cleric (Mace). You will gain the ability to change your class later in the game, but for the first couple chapters you’ll be stuck with the class you choose, so choose wisely.
You’ll be at your Home Base often, whenever you’re not doing quests, and there’s a lot to do there. But we’ll start by talking about quests. One thing you need to know is that all quests are timed. When you go into a quest, you will have a timer on the HUD of your screen that will fail the mission if it meets 0:00:00. This is mostly to go in sync with the other games of this genre. The timer doesn’t really have an impact on this game. Every mission that I played never got close to reaching zero by the time the quest was over, even with the end-game bosses. But, it is there, in case you want to explore or farm on highly-resistant pieces of a boss.
As you are exploring dungeons, you be using button combinations to do different attack patterns and abilities. Each class has different combos, like a triple slash from a sword or summoning a whirlwind of snow from a staff. You will be able to attack in different ways as well as dashing to go towards an enemy or to dodge an attack as well as being able to jump into the air to do air combos. That’s one thing Ragnarok Odyssey has that is unique. It is one of the only Hunting games that allows you to jump. Also note that jumping and using skills uses up AP/Stamina and that takes time to regenerate.
When you are fighting normal enemies, you have one target and defeating an enemy makes it drop materials, weapons, or a card (accessory you can equip to give you an added effect like HP Up or Critical Attack Up). When fighting a boss or a giant, you will have multiple body parts you can target. This is very important as fighting a specific body part can cause it to break and drop items that only that specific body part drops. This is essential for refining weapons.
Once a quest is cleared, you will get a small timer before you are taken back to the base, where you are given your quest rewards, in the form of cards, weapons you picked up, and materials.
When at the base, there is a lot you can do. There are shops where you can buy costumes, weapons, as well as refining those. Refining uses money and materials, which will make weapons stronger and upgrade its skills, and increases the equipment slots on costumes and armor, allowing you to equip more card accessories to it at one time. There is also a Beauty Parlor, where you can change your character’s appearance, and your room, where you can change equipment, access DLC, save your game, or change your class.
Refining weapons is the key to doing well in this game. Within each chapter, the difficulty spikes up. Since there is no leveling system other than stats increasing a little when clearing chapters, you need to constantly work on refining your weapon as high as possible to make it stronger to make those stronger enemies more manageable. This is where the game gets repetitive as it is a constant cycle of quests, hunting materials, and refining your current weapon.
The thing about Ace is that it is an enhanced and extended version of Ragnarok Odyssey. There’s a lot that was added that wasn’t in the original game, but don’t expect the game’s story to be incredibly enhanced past the initial 9 chapters that the original game had. There is a lot to do, definitely, but there’s not a huge new storyline.
Some of the things included in ACE are obtained early on in the game. Most notable are the Billionaire Pot, Ace Skills, and A.I. Mercenaries. The Billionaire Pot is something set in the Tavern/Quest area of the main base. This allows you to recycle materials, weapons, and cards you don’t need to get something back in return. You can get Weapon Skill Cards for weapons (used for upgrading skills in refinement), potions for cards and materials for materials.
Ace Skills are new abilities that can be set to work with the R and Face Buttons. Two of these were originally skills you could use in the original, but there are also a lot of new skills that help balance things out and make some classes more easy to play the game with, notably with the Mage Class. The AI Mercenaries is also a big addition, allowing you to take two AI characters with you on Quests in Single Player.
The other notable addition is the content added for the storyline. The Tower of Yggdrasil is the key to finding the new Niflheim area as well as the new bosses introduced for Ace, including the Black Dragon that Nobuo Uematsu composed a battle track for. This dungeon has 200 floors and the quests for this are more of a dungeon crawler navigating through this giant dungeon rather than just like a single quest, leading you through 25 floors per quest. It feels a little different from the main game, and is quite a bit of fun as the stages are randomized.
There’s definitely a lot of game here. If you can get into the battle system, the main storyline will last you roughly 25-30 hours and then probably 5-10 more for the Tower of Yggdrasil and the extra features. It’s not easy to get into these kind of games, due to the minimal story impact and the focus on really liking the gameplay. If you can get into it, then you’ll love it. If you can’t get into it, then you’ll probably be annoyed trying to get through all of it. It’s a love it or hate it type of game, or genre in general.
The controls for the game are fairly extensive, utilizing pretty much all of the buttons on the Vita, in addition to the touchscreen. I won’t say it’s hard to learn, because it’s not. Even the touch controls are pretty straight-forward. It’s a lot to take in at the start, though.
You can move your character around with the Left Analog Stick and move the camera with the Right Analog Stick. Using the X Button will allow you to jump, and the Square Button to dash. The Triangle and Circle buttons are used for attack combinations. The Triangle Button is used for physical attacks and the Circle button is to finish a combo with an animated attack. The face buttons are also used with the L and R buttons. With the L Button Held down, you can press a face button to use an equipped ACE Skill and R with Circle for Dainslef Mode, a powered-up form.
The touchscreen is used for bringing up the Map, and using potions. Your potions are shown on the screen and tapping on them will allow you to use them, and this is the only way to use Potions. If you were hoping you could set potions to buttons, it cannot be done. You can also tap your ACE Skills on the touchscreen to activate them if they’re charged up, though I found the button combinations to be easier for those.
The controls are easy to get used to, but they’re a lot to take in, at first. Players of the original Ragnarok Odyssey will be at home with most of it, though.
As far as the presentation, Ragnarok Odyssey Ace looks good. It isn’t the best-looking game on the Vita, but it looks good. The whole world is vibrant and colorful, and the visuals have been touched up since the original game. It doesn’t look as smooth as the PS3 version of Ace, but it looks good. Just don’t expect it to be on-par with the visuals of games like Final Fantasy X HD Remaster and you’ll think it looks very good.
Music is something to be noted. As with the design and style of the game, the music sounds like something taken straight out of an anime series. While most of the music is the same as it was in the original game, it is worth noting that one new song for Ace is the track Roar of the Black Dragon, a song composed by famed game composer, Nobuo Uematsu, whom is most famous for music from games such as Final Fantasy VII, Super Smash Bros Brawl, and Chrono Trigger.
The game plays pretty well, for the most part. Gameplay runs smooth and the load times are a bit shorter than they were in the original game. Despite this, it does suffer in multiplayer. If you are in a match with a player who has a weak Wi-Fi connection, it will be very laggy throughout the quest. This is not noticeable in the Tavern before going on a quest, but in a quest, itself.
If you’re a fan of the Hunting genre and Ragnarok Online, or enjoyed the original Ragnarok Odyssey, you will be at home with this game. There is a lot of new content to dive into, from Mercenaries to the Tower of Yggdrasil to ACE Skills. Despite this, it will still feel very much like the original game. There is still a lot of repetition involved and if you cannot really get into the battle system, you won’t enjoy this game much. But if you can, there’s a lot to do.
The PlayStation Vita Review Network rates Ragnarok Odyssey Ace a 7/10.