Ragnarok Odyssey Ace is a remake of Ragnarok Odyssey which came out back in 2012 on the PS Vita. This was so under the radar I didn’t even know the game existed and I’ve been a long time fan of the series. However this was probably a good thing because ROA is a worthwhile investment, especially if you have yet to play the original Ragnarok Odyssey release. If you’re looking for some huge additions and plot line fillers that isn’t what you are getting but at least it’s a better experience to play.
ROA’s story is virtually the same as RO, you’re a fresh recruit to defend a kingdom (seeing Monster Hunter similarities already). You customize your character making him or her as kawaii as your want and start bashing things. No joke, whether it’s cute or repulsive, if it gets in your way? Kill it, story done! There’s plenty of monsters to discover and you’ll definitely be seeing a lot of them while hacking and slashing your way through the campaign.
I’m generally not a fan of real time fighting in my games, but in ROA it felt much more easier to maneuver than in something like Monster Hunter and less scary looking (is that a good or bad thing?). The tutorial is worth reading through the game if your new to it to help you get started and learn how to take on the enemies that are thrown at you. The ability to hire a few CPU characters to join your party and help you fight is a new feature for ACE, which would be great for those times when you can’t find other humans to join and hunt monsters with.
This is very much a grinding heavy game, which I like that in most games but I need an incentive to keep playing and it wasn’t going to be graphics sadly. One of the immediate let downs for me was the opening of the game. As a fan of the 2D anime styled Ragnarok Online, I expected some flashy anime animation or some cinematic CGI cut scenes, but alas it was filled completely with in-game footage – well at least you’re not being deceived by the game, what you see is what you get.
However, one of the most fun aspects to the game for me was the in depth customization options available. I have to applaud GungHo for giving us more cute options of interchangeable appearances and voices for our characters. I felt the hair was a little limited but hey, I am all about customisation. Having more reign to customize your player as you want is a great feature; if you’re going to be grinding for hours, you may as well look kawaii as ever. There’s also loads of cute DLC outfits and accessories available including costumes from Grandia, Tales of Symphonia and Gravity Rush, many of which are free to download if you feel the need for even more ways to dress up your characters. All of these cute clothing options and some of the CPU characters you can hire could make it appealing for the anime-loving fans in the audience.
I really hoped that they would incorporate some nice animation/CGI cut scenes to make the endless grinding more bearable during the main campaign since it doesn’t really seem like there’s a lot of emphasis on the story in the game. The apparent lack of story makes me wonder if this should really be classified as an RPG?
Remember I mentioned ‘grinding’ before? Enter the Tower of Yggdrasil (which may sound familiar to fans of the Etrian Odyssey games). After you complete the main campaign, you have access to a randomly generated dungeon spanning 400-floors! Other than it being a legendary Nordic tree, it is just there to fulfill your grinding needs – no further plot twists or enlightening – no sir ! This is a place to murder more monsters. If you’ve had enough grinding by the time you’ve completed the campaign and reached this point, there may not be much to stop you from ending the game there. If you’re able to play the game with other people, I’d say it would probably would be more enjoyable playing ROA with friends locally like with MH while out and about on the PS Vita, or online when on the PS3 at home.