Namreh Avatar Posted on 2/16/2011 by Namreh
Games
Reviews
With generous nods to both the Zelda and Fable franchise, Gameloft's mobile action-RPG is one of the best on Apple's platform.

If you can manage to get past the obvious comparisons and cribbed ideas to some of the genre's best games then Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden is probably the best and most enjoyable third-person action role-playing puzzle adventure worth playing on the Apple's iOS platform. The story and setting are what you'd expect from most games in the fantasy genre and somewhat predictable, but still more than adequate, as the real draw is solely on the technical presentation and addictive action-puzzle gameplay seen. Yes, it may borrow liberally from both The Legend of Zelda and Fable franchises, but at least Gameloft isn't trying to hide their love (the hero's two horses are named Miya and Moto) and the replication provides enough satisfaction if a quick and deliberate mystical adventure is what you’re after.
Release: February 3, 2011
Rating: 9+
Publisher: Gameloft
Written by Herman Exum (associate editor)

Those who've been keeping up with Gameloft's recent string of mobile hits are probably aware of their expertise at bringing original titles to Apple's devices that take more than a few ’inspired’ liberties from other established games, and while some consider their work borderline digital plagiarism, they almost almost deliver competent and enjoyable versions that live up to the spirit of the originals. With intergalactic space marines and modern guerrilla warfare already in the bag, they’re upping the ante with Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden, which can genuinely be described as an ambitious link to a more well-known action/role-playing adventure series, and one that succeeds almost without trying or using much force.

Your journey begins in the land of Lasgalen where you assume the role of Ayden, a simple farm boy whose destiny is more than it seems. It doesn’t take long for the young work hand to stumble upon a chance encounter to save a young Princess from a few rouge orcs, which jumpstarts a quest that will test both his courage and faith to the god Uryah, as well as rid his realm of the ominous evil known as Amonbane.

In his efforts to save his homeland from certain doom he'll have to explore the vast countryside on horseback and find the four fragments of ryah’s Holy Grail by engaging in third-person hack n’ slash action with healthy doses of puzzle-solving in between. You’ll find yourself inside a mystical tree in order to purify evil one moment, in an active volcano to quell it’s inferno the next, and finally face-to-face with the evil sorcerer himself. The tale unfolds through in-game cinematics that will have Ayden not only saving the world but also doing his fair share of good deed questing along the way, no matter how insignificant the task may be.

It also goes without saying that your epic with begin with a simple blade and shield, but you'll soon acquire tools that make the challenges easier and help prepare you the final battle ahead. If you happened to have played a 'similar’ game like this before be prepared to find items like the Gauntlet of Brakor (power glove), Locrian Hawk (boomerang), and the Nagual Cobra (grappling hook). This should for anyone who’s ever sat down with that ‘certain’ game starring a young lad clad in a green tunic (Ayden even gets a talkative fairy companion along the way), and a true qualifier that imitation truly is among the most sincere form of flattery.

The controls feel remarkably familiar too, and that’s a good thing if you weren’t expecting responsive third-person control from a touchscreen game. Movement is handled through the onscreen virtual stick while basic combat uses virtual buttons for attack and blocking, and it doesn’t take long to become fully accustomed to them when in the thick of surrounding orcs and navigating through villages and dungeons. Combat is seldom more than frantic (virtual) button-mashing that auto-targets the closest enemy; a system that works to help alleviate instances when the camera isn't cooperating like it should. Ayden also sports a small jump/dodge maneuver (surprise) in non-combat moments, and cycling through your inventory is a fairly slick experience.

The polished visuals really look great, especially when viewed on Apple's crisp Retina Display, and benefit greatly running on latter-day hardware configurations (I played the game on the iPod Touch 4). There's great detail in the various locales and environments you’ll travel through, from lush grasslands to the frigid mountaintops of the north the areas they're vivid and pretty immersive for a mobile game. This feat extends to the characters as well, as each model looks identifiable and recognizable, an aspect we seldom see in most console games. The only other thing you'll possibly need to even see (and play) this would be a iPod Touch or iPhone with the latest hardware (3G or above), as the game won't run on some older versions. Then again, its probably time to upgrade your Apple device anyway.

ThThose decrying the game as just a shameless rip of one of Nintendo's most popular franchises (indeed, Ayden's horses are named Miya and Moto) are missing its second most obvious inspiration, namely Lionhead Studios' Fable franchise, right down to its more realistic characters and British-style humor.  It also brings surprisingly good voice-acting (for a Gameloft game) to bring this fabled tale alive, plenty of NPC interactions, along with  plenty of miscellaneous questing along the way. The only thing missing is a pet dog.  Then again, you do have two horses...

If you can manage to get past the obvious comparisons and cribbed ideas to some of the genre's best games then Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden is probably the best and most enjoyable third-person action role-playing puzzle adventure worth playing on the Apple's iOS platform. The story and setting are what you'd expect from most games in the fantasy genre and somewhat predictable, but still more than adequate, as the real draw is solely on the technical presentation and addictive action-puzzle gameplay seen. Yes, it may borrow liberally from both The Legend of Zelda and Fable franchises, but at least Gameloft isn't trying to hide their love (the hero's two horses are named Miya and Moto) and the replication provides enough satisfaction if a quick and deliberate mystical adventure is what you’re after.







This next-gen COD style mech adventure is one best experienced with equipment that can make it shine, even if the underlying product is still kind of dull.
April 14, 2014Read More!
A great example of a 'clone' of popular genre games done right, especially those unavailable on platforms they make the most sense on.
April 14, 2014Read More!
A streamlined version of 999 that doffs the need for convoluted gameplay, presenting the same events and chilling twists that make the game accessible to anyone. In short, it's awesome.
April 14, 2014Read More!
While commendable to see a darker take on familiar archetypes, fans may want to stick with a different strategy-RPG that doesn't try so hard to be edgy.
April 14, 2014Read More!
A new act, class, loot system and more await fans in the first expansion to Blizzard’s Diablo 3.
April 8, 2014Read More!
See More From Games...
Sausage factory fiction writing personified; not a bad book, but not a very good one either. It just exists, and nothing more.
April 18, 2014Read More!
Pure silliness, wrapped around a history lesson that’s largely apolitical; stars persons and places more recognizable than the first book.
April 7, 2014Read More!
Stories written between 2003 and 2010 that are bagatelles; not bad, but not memorable; not the Waldrop collection to start with, but buy it anyway.
April 3, 2014Read More!
An exemplary vision spanning 192 pages, with plenty of juicy information about Respawn’s wondrous new world to sate even the most jaded of gamers.
March 21, 2014Read More!
Even if its source material wasn't to your liking, there’s plenty to enjoy about this accompanying tome, especially if you can appreciate great art when you see it.
March 21, 2014Read More!
See More From Culture...
Katsuhiro Otomo and three other directors serve up a wild anime anthology in this wonderful and bizarre collection.
April 18, 2014Read More!
Lacks the nostalgic pulp magazine atmosphere that made its predecessor so much fun, but as a Marvel film it gets the job done.
April 4, 2014Read More!
More audacious than volume one, mostly because of von Trier’s willingness to delve into the darker, often unexplored recesses of the mind.
April 4, 2014Read More!
In spite of Berry's incredible performance(s), the film cannot escape its controversial subject matter or its melodramatic plot.
April 4, 2014Read More!
Disney returns its Peter Pan spin off series to the high seas in The Pirate Fairy.
April 4, 2014Read More!
See More From Movies...