Published on May 3rd, 2014 | by Joseph Saulnier0
Ragnarok Odyssey ACE
Ragnarok Odyssey hit the shelves in way back in 2012 and was labeled as Monster Hunter for Vita. With huge shoes to fill, the game didn’t necessarily stand up to its billing. It performed decently though, especially for being on a system that has had its bumps and bruises along the way. Jump forward to April 2014… and we get Ragnarok Odyssey Ace. There are various enhancements from new “Ace Skills” to master and unleash on your foes to the Tower of Yggdrasil, an end game tower with 200 randomly generated levels. But, can this upgraded version find its voice and gain an audience?
Ragnarok Odyssey Ace is an Action-RPG which excels in the action category, but kind of misses the mark as a strong RPG. When starting Ace, you are faced with the choice of choosing between six classes: Mage, Cleric, Hammersmith, Hunter, Swordsmen and Assassin. All have their inherent strengths and weaknesses. This choice, often times an integral part in a standard Action-RPG because they will be your only character until the end, has almost no bearing because you have the ability to change classes between missions. Once selecting your character, you are able to customize him or her with an assortment of new options.
The fighting mechanics in Ace are fast and furious and, sans a wonky camera angle at times and a frame rate drop here and there, exceedingly fun. Well… they are at first anyway. When dispatching monsters, you unleash deadly combos via the triangle and circle button that complement your chosen character. Once you defeat enough enemies to fill up your tension bar, you can unleash Dainsleif. When triggering Dainsleif mode, you won’t have to wait to chain combos, you don’t lose AP (stamina) and you cannot be stunned. Wait… that sounds kind of like God mode. Doesn’t it? Not quite. The catch is that your health continuously decreases if you aren’t dealing damage. Once completing the objectives for the typical RPG fetch quests, you are sent back to rummage through the junk. And there is a ton of it. Interestingly enough, fighting through dungeon after dungeon doesn’t give you experience points. Instead you are given cards that you place on your character for various effects. Only once you complete the 10 missions in that section do you level up your character. By taking that route, the game bogs down in sections that have difficulty spikes.
Having said that, the game is almost painfully easy in its first couple sections. You will go through the same levels, killing the same enemies, earning essentially the same loot. Monotony sets in fairly early on in Ace. It’s a shame because the boss battles, typically the last level in the section, are quite enjoyable. They are tough, but rewarding once figuring out how to defeat them. Plus they usually have some nice loot in tow. When you do get to the harder levels and boss battles, you can hire a mercenary. The mercenaries, paid at the completion of the mission, definitely help. Just not quite the way you’d expect. Where it’d be nice if they didn’t run directly into their death beds, they do work as a distraction while you take care of other enemies. Where Ace, and its predecessor redeem themselves is in online play. Playing with a partner or three helps cut through the monotony of fetch quests. After playing alongside your friends, it’ll be a dreadful, lonely feeling having to play solo.
That is Ragnarok Odyssey Ace in a nutshell. If you’ve played the former Ragnarok and enjoyed it, you will without a doubt enjoy this new edition. Although there is little in the way of drastic change, the game does add some nice ways to extend the gameplay. The Tower of Yggdrasil will leave you grinding for hours upon hours, and having the ability to transfer your character over and keep your hard-earned cards is nice. The idea to add a cross-save feature is nice, but the game feels much more at home on the Vita than on PS3. Ragnarok Odyssey Ace seems like a perfect $20 expansion that instead is being strangled with a $40 price tag on PS3 and $34.99 on Vita.
3 out of 5