Ragnarok Odyssey ACE
Reviewed by Rachel McBurney
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2014-04-09 PS3 Action/RPG T (Teen) Xseed Games / Game Arts

In 2012 Ragnarok Odyssey was released for the PS Vita, and ended up receiving half-hearted claps from reviewers and gamers alike. Recently, Xseed decided to revamp this title and release it again for the PS Vita and the PlayStation 3, calling it Ragnarok Odyssey ACE. ACE gives the game a bigger boost in monsters, challenges, and a few new skills, but is it more of the same or a new experience that players will bite right into? Let's find out!

When you first load ACE, it feels almost like you're watching a trailer for the game. An epic, cartoony depiction of Ragnarok appears before you in all his winged glory, looking dangerous and evil, and spreading those enormous wings just so you know he means business! From there, the game cuts to a brief look at the in-game content, accompanied by fast-paced alternative music meant to get you in the mood to fight. It will then take you to the title screen, and you're ready to jump into the action! Once you start a new game, you'll be able to create your own playable character. The customization options are your typical choices: sex, hair, face type and class. For the available classes, you have Hunter, Assassin, Mage, Cleric, Sword Warrior, and HammerSmith. Choosing a class will ultimately depend on how you like to play. For instance, a Sword Warrior is a slower melee class who can pack quite the punch, as opposed to an Assassin who is very quick, with more hits in over time but less damage dealt.

Once you've completed setting up your character, you instantly get thrown into the game, and only get a very brief description of what's going on and how you are to play. You find out you're a new recruit, and are going to help wipe out any monsters that threaten the people, and eventually take out the Behemoths that are terrorizing the land. Once you take a look around you'll be off to your first mission, which involves killing random mobs with your weapon of choice.

When you decide to head out on a mission, you will be ported to a random location and can then roam freely until you complete your objective. Unfortunately, you won't get a clear objective aside from indicators that there are enemies on the map, and the game only allows you a few seconds to scout around for treasure and loot before porting you back out. This can be frustrating on some of the more complex maps, as you can't really see where to go, or what to do, and if you miss loot you may just be out of luck. Once an objective is reached you will receive a completion screen before being ported back into town, along with a list of all the new loot you have! Now, you have the option to immediately sell all or some of it, but it won't actually let you scroll through the information on each item, which makes this entire section a moot point. If you want to sell something, be sure you know exactly what it is and what it does, otherwise you may be giving away a rare drop or something that could prove useful moving forward.

Seemingly trying to emulate the Monster Hunter feel for gameplay, the fighting mechanics are fairly straightforward, with the ability to lock onto targets with the D-Pad, and hit them with either the square or circle buttons. Once you start fighting, the game seems to auto-lock onto the next target, so hit L2 if you want to be able to roam freely (or run away) as the game forces you to auto-face the target, and seems to grab targets at random leaving you to either disengage the enemy or scroll through them via the D-Pad to get to the closest one to you. This system can be slightly cumbersome, but overall the game is fairly simple to figure out, and whether you're playing online co-operatively or by yourself, you'll be able to collect items and Cards (crystals that can be attached to gear which give better stat points, such as +1 to Attack), and level up so you can tackle the even harder content. The boss fights have much heavier mechanics than the mobs, forcing you to learn their movements and use it against them, timing your attacks or dodges more carefully, and making sure you're geared up enough for the boss you're fighting before you begin. If you don't get the boss the first time, you can always return later once you've done a few more mob missions and geared yourself out a little more.

While XSEED clearly tried to upgrade the graphics for the PlayStation 3, ACE is still very clearly a port, with pixilation and lower resolution in many areas. The game graphics are reminiscent of Final Fantasy VII, with a slightly more realistic pull than the doe-eyed anime classics that the backdrops and basic layout may remind you of (such as the Disgaea series). Customizable suits are available to you, and gigantic weapons are what you'll be sporting for the Hammersmith or Warrior classes (which are almost twice as big as the character holding them), with plenty of colour variations and suits to choose from!

Like many anime action RPGs, ACE has a relatively large collection of music to choose from in the game. You'll start off with two separate tracks, and be able to purchase more from a vendor in town as the game progresses. From light and airy tunes, to military tin numbers with heavy bass notes, there's something from everyone and you can choose to listen to the music randomly or stick with the one you love.

Ragnarok Odyssey ACE isn't a game that you'll be drooling over for its complex battle system, intense story, or stunning graphics. While it's not super cutesy - or too realistic either - ACE has its own charm with different types of NPCs that are either obsessed with you, hate you or are trying to con you, though interaction is mainly superficial and meant for a few smirks here and there. It's the type of game you can pick up and put down as needed something to kill random mobs with and not get overly involved. While ported to the PlayStation 3, the PS Vita version may be the best option for long waits, car rides, or any time you're away from home, as the missions are fairly quick. For those who enjoy a straightforward battle system without a ton of fluff, Ragnarok Odyssey ACE definitely a game you should consider adding to your collection.