I feel like this thread is an appropriate place to bring up Ragnarok Odyssey Ace
(ROA), which I am currently enjoying the hell out of - but nobody else in the universe seems to care about and/or like. The game is also available on the PS3 with cross-play, but it's very clear that the Vita is its native platform. Ace
is an upgraded, content-enriched version of Ragnarok Odyssey
, much in the same vein as the "G" or "Ultimate" entries of the Monster Hunter
franchise. Is it clunky and flawed? Yes. Does it have some really interesting ideas in spite of those warts? Yes. Do those ideas make it fun and worth playing? Absolutely.
Many have dubbed the Ragnarok Odyssey
games as less-than-successful entries in the giant boss-enemy "Hunting" RPG genre that Monster Hunter
(MH) helped birth, but this comparison leads folks to evaluate the games' differences from
Capcom's landmark series as failures to be
, which is simply unfair. ROA
is a far lighter game than Monster Hunter
. Combat is faster, less technical, and lacks the deliberate sense of weight that define's MH. Setting aside the presence of the colossal boss monsters, ROA mechanically bears a much stronger resemblance to a 3rd person adaptation of a Diablo
style game - not unlike the earliest versions of Sega's Phantasy Star Online
. Though weapons and armor are crafted and upgraded using components, these pieces are gained by much more liberally given drops than MH's system of stingier carves. Weapons can be found with unique stats and abilities - they don't have to be made. ROA doesn't place a huge emphasis on materials management. Potions are simply purchased rather than synthesized. Little prep is needed before engaging in a quest. It's a breezier approach that isn't better or
worse . . . it's simply different. ROA is a game I can play when I'm stressed out and need to chill - and although my love for MH is boundless, I can't say the same thing about that franchise
What really has me hooked about ROA though, is the Halomonas weapons. Unlike regular weapons that you find dropped from enemies. Halomonas weapons can be evolved and customized. MH's weapons can be upgraded with components and funds along branching paths - but the choices are limited. ROA's Halomonas weapons involve much more choice. Instead of paying a fee and ponying up a number of items out of your inventory to upgrade, Halomonas weapons require the completion of "Made to Orders." These Orders can certainly consist of providing certain prescribed items, but they can also take the form of individual quests that require you to slay X amount of enemies. The act of upgrading your weapons actually generates additional gameplay. Furthermore, each weapon's upgrade tiers only allow you to complete a certain number of "made to orders" out of a list. Each order will provide a stat boost, or add a new ability to that weapon - but you have to pass some up. As a result, we both may have the same exact Halomonas bow, but I favored a string of attack stat boosts, but you chose to add a poison arrow ability while sacrificing raw power. The same items, customized two different ways. Halomonas weapons are a really cool system, and it bugs me that so few people are talking about them, or the game that they're in.
Games like ROA, that lack AAA polish, but are filled with interesting ideas seem to have found a ready home on the Vita. It's for this reason that I have fallen in love with the platform. I may not own as many games for the system as I do for other platforms - but every one of them is profoundly interesting - even the ones that I don't consider particularly good.