After a great thunderous sound, the people of Rune Midgard find themselves under attack from mysterious creatures from the Millennium Peaks. It’s up to you and the residents of the kingdom to fight off these giants and survive.
The story doesn't sound like much – primarily because it barely exists. Between missions, you’ll interact with various shop keepers and townsfolk who will attempt to add context to your actions, but frankly, you’ll probably end up mashing the X button in order to skip all of the text.
The game is split into nine different chapters, each containing a handful of missions. While there's a lot of content, there are very few actual mission types. Objectives tend to revolve around hunting a specific number of monsters, looting a certain quota of items, or killing a boss. In an attempt to keep things feeling fresh, there are a few different maps and a lot of different enemies, but that won’t be enough for most gamers. The difficulty ranges from massively simple to blindingly difficult.
With six different classes, there's more than enough variety to accommodate your personal gameplay tastes. Sword warriors offer a balance between offensive and defensive abilities; Hammersmiths focus on slow and heavy damage; Clerics have the ability to take massive hits as well as heal themselves and others; Assassins are known for their rapid attacks; Mages excel at multi-target battles; and Hunters are the obvious choice for long range damage. Once you reach the second chapter, you’ll be able to switch your class at will. The different approaches are well balanced, and, as such, it's fun to shift classes from time to time without having to start the campaign again.
The title scraps any superfluous touch controls, focusing on the Vita's more traditional input options. It only takes a couple of missions to understand the controls, but it can take a chapter or two to master your class’ combos. These moves are typically combinations of the two attack buttons and can range from spinning a hammer at great speeds to raining a barrage of arrows from the sky. The distinctive combo system fits the combat extremely well and makes landing massive attacks both satisfying and exciting.
As for equipment progression, Ragnarok Odyssey is fairly unique. Throughout the game, you'll accrue weapons with various statistics, one piece of armour, and cards to equip to your suit. These cards and weapons can be looted from enemies, purchased from vendors, or traded with other players via Near.
Each card contains different statistics and bonuses designed to make your character tougher, but they also contain a ‘card cost’. Armour pieces can only hold a certain amount of cards based on their type. These limits, as well as your weapon’s attack, are the only elements that can be upgraded in the game. For individuals who love collecting, the card system can be a great deal of fun as finding them all will take an immense amount of time.
The only other way to improve your character's abilities is to complete entire chapters to grant permanent statistical boosts. While this whole system is unique, it often feels as if your character isn't really developing, and, ultimately, isn't as effective as conventional means of character progression.
The multiplayer aspect of the game is where it really starts to shine, though. While the lobby system is a bit confusing at first, online play is smooth and addictive. The missions are similar to those in the single-player campaign only slightly more difficult. Up to four individuals can play at once, and as long as everyone has a stable connection, the gameplay is just as smooth as in single-player.
Unfortunately, voice chat is not supported in this title. Some of the later fights require teamwork and precise coordination in order to survive, and using the limited text and gesture options during these occasions is almost impossible. As such, the battles can end up feeling needlessly frustrating.
The game runs nicely, but the textures and effects are dull and nothing to brag about. And while the music is excellent, the sound effects are repetitive and become fairly annoying over time. Luckily, they can be turned down in the settings.
Ragnarok Odyssey falls short in a few areas, but there is still enough quality gameplay to encourage you to persevere through the repetitive missions and slow character progression system. Fans of the RPG genre in particular should check out this title, while everyone else might want to adopt a more cautious attitude before approaching.