A monster hunting game with style.
I do not own a PS Vita. Yes, I know that can be considered blasphemy in some circles, but I have never picked one up. Because of this, I missed out on Ragnarok Odyssey a few years ago. I had always heard it was a decent Monster Hunter type game, and that is a series I have grown to love over the years. Now that I have played through Ragnarok Odyssey ACE on the PS3, I’m starting to think I may need to take a closer look at Vita games.
Ragnarok Odyssey ACE (ROA) is a follow-up/expansion to the original Vita title. It has everything the Vita title had with a ton of new additions. These including new monsters to hunt, new chapters filled with new quests, new items and weapons and new super attacks called ACE attacks.
Utilizing the Norse mythology, players take control of an up and coming hunter sent to defend a town from the monsters invading the lands during an impending Ragnorok. Players are sent out on missions to eliminate monsters both large and small in hopes of save their town. Doing this will also supply the player with materials they can use to craft better armor and weapons. Sound familiar?
There is no leveling system in ROA. Instead, characters earn cards that give stat boosts to the character through loot drops, completing quests, or buying them outright. These boosts include high attack power, special types of attack damage, better defense, higher critical hit damage, etc. Each set of armor has a certain amount of slots for cards. Players can use materials and money to increase these slots, as well as increase the number of points that can be allocated to an armor set. It sounds simplistic, and it is in concept, but after finding numerous cards with both beneficial stats as well as negative ones, finding the right trade-off can be a complex balancing act.
The combat is fast and hard-hitting. Unlike other “hunting” games, ROA feels like an action game mixed with the aspects of Monster Hunter. With light attacks mapped to the Triangle button and hard attacks to Circle. Depending on what was pressed and how many times, the combo system is very dynamic and can offer up some pretty flashy attacks. I played mostly with the Swordmaster class. Using a two-handed sword to juggle enemies in the air while hacking and slashing my way through a dungeon crawl was both satisfying and fun. If players wish to change-up the way they play, the game allows them to change their class at any time after the first chapter. So if Swordmaster isn’t my thing, I can totally change it up and play a Mage with devastating magic attacks, or a Cleric to use my healing abilities to aid my allies in combat. The combat really changes depending on what class is played.
The character has to manage both health and stamina, also known as AP. Bringing numerous potions into a mission is a must for later quests, and knowing what kind to bring is another balancing act. Since I could only have three types of potions equipped at a time, I was asking myself questions like “Should I take some antidotes with me in case there are poison monsters in the next quest? Or should take some Max HP increasing potions so I can take more damage against a boss?”
Got an ACE up your sleeve.
One of the new additions to ROA is the ACE attacks. These AP required attacks are devastating and have the potential to hit multiple targets multiple times. For instance, the Swordmaster has an ability called Magma Breaker. This ACE attack can be activated to hit one single enemy for heavy damage, or charged to release numerous hits. Granted, the four seconds it takes to charge that attack will leave the player open for attacks, but if they can get it off, it’s going to hurt whoever is standing there big time.
The boss fights are where this game really shines. I encountered monsters as big as buildings that have an insane amount of hit points. While near a large boss, players are allowed to jump numerous times using some of their AP to reach certain parts of the enemy’s body. Strategically attacking points on a boss will break parts of their armor/body and both slow them down as well as possibly stun them. These large, epic fights are what make co-op a blast.
Friendly monster killing.
The co-op allows players on both the Vita and PS3 version (cross-platform play) to take on quests together. Here, players can help out others while still gaining money and materials for their own character. Players can create a room and host their own game or can join up with others and help them out, up to where they have made it in the story. With a nice party of different classes, creating a nice synergy during fights is both fun and required when taking on some of these giant bosses, but seeing my friends flying around the stage while we all try to take out a massive monster was a pretty awesome spectacle.
One of the small problems I do have with the game is the difficulty spikes I encountered while taking on new bosses. It seemed like I was almost required to go online and recruit players to help me out. The game does allow two AI controlled allies to be hired to help in missions, and they do help, but it’s nothing like having a player controlled ally on my team.
The camera can also take some getting used to. Locking on is a must for some battles, both during boss fights as well as just going though a dungeon. Multiple times I found myself hitting enemies or getting hit by enemies that weren’t on the screen, and even when the lock on was activated, the camera would zoom in too close to my character and would not have what I wanted on-screen. It’s a minor thing, but it did get in the way a few times, especially during boss fights.
Grinding my gears.
While it comes with the territory of these kinds of games, grinding is a must if players want to get the best out of their characters. Playing the same quests over and over may be essential; while doing this in co-op mode is much faster and a different change of pace, it is still grinding and can get dull even with friends.
There’s a ton of game here. A good 30+ hours are already here from the original title, and with new additions like an endless dungeon and tons more loot and equipment, ROA can last players well into the 60 hour mark.
With the amount of content and the online play being a blast, I highly suggest Ragnarok Odyssey ACE to action RPG fans. The combat is both complex and fun to execute, and the RPG customization options are abundant as well. Fans that have played the original title will still love taking on the epic battles both new and old, and the PS3 version controls and plays wonderfully. If you don’t mind a little grinding for better weapons and equipment, putting the time into ROA can be a very rewarding and enjoyable time spent.
Review copy of game provided by publisher. Primary play on PlayStation 3.