This is the forum thread with the exchange between Patrick Joynt, username "deadairis" and "Sennin".
(Before I continue, thanks to Sennin from NEOGAF forums for actually having the courage to take on the reviewer from Gamespy. Unfortunately I couldn't thank him myself, since NEOGAF has really strict account creation policies and I simply can't register because I don't have an e-mail account that fits their requirements. )
*warning, there are SPOILERS in this post....so if you don't want to get spoiled, don't read further*
Gamespy Reviewer, Patrick Joynt : deadairis
A gamer on Neogaf : sennin
Deadairis: "I think I covered most of the issues with Lost Odyssey in my review It's not an atrocity of a game, but it's not as good as it could have -- and should have -- been."
Sennin: "Mistwalker created just about the simplest combat resolution system possible. Have the most hit points and spend the most magic points, and you win.
I'd challenge this statement directly. Can you provide video of this tactic being universal for the following fights?
Disc 1 -
Diacorn (capable of casting Ground)
Boss Grilgon (show me without the use of strategic planning, how long it takes you to level grind to what level before you can kill Grilgon?)
Mad Sarbella (first visit, no Aqua spell or enough Cold Water Stones to make Aqua ring)
Boss fight: Bigimoray (no Yellow Band allowed, after all in your own words, only HP and MP are all you need.)
End of Disc 1 boss fight (remember, no tactics allowed! Use ONLY HP and MP to defeat this boss, if you cast the one spell that is absolutely crucial in winning this fight, you've contradicted your own claims)
Old Soceress Mansion. Use only HP and MP to beat Soul Armors. Good luck with that.
Black Cave. Remember to button mash your HP and MP in dealing with Dark Sorcerer. Let us know how that works out.
Magic Slider. Once again, the one size fits all tactic of using HP and MP should only be utilized, or you've forfeited your own rules of HP and MP reliance. No tactics allowed.
My two favorite bosses to date. Living Ice and Ice Magic Beast. I would love to see a video recording of level grinding with maximized HP and MP in fighting these 2 bosses.
Please, educate us on how "simple the combat system Mistwalker devised" truly is."
Deadairis: "So, you can prove that with the most hit points and the highest magic point expenditure in those fights, you'll lose? Because that's actually the direct contradiction of the point. You're mentioning "button mashing," "no Aqua spell," and other things that aren't part of the statement in your examples.
I'm curious -- if you're spending tons of magic points (as pointed out in my statment) what implies that you can't spend them on, say, an Aqua spell (as mentioned explicitly in your counter-examples)? Other than your desire to defend Lost Odyssey?
You've read my statement to mean "don't cast spells," apparantly, which is charming -- but grievously inaccurate. What exactly do you think I was suggesting you spend magic points on? Gumdrops, candycanes, or both? No, you're probably spending them on hitting the guy weak against water with water, and the guy weak against fire with fire, and healing your casters, and wow, by the end of it "...this is, fundamentally, the combat system from Final Fantasy." Which is the summation of my review of the combat, and stands up nicely to all the examples you brought up.
But I am eager to see you explain to me what you thought I advocated spending MP on, if not spells and abilities as needed. Really -- I'm all ears.
Edit: And to stave off a potential response: "Well, what else can you spend them on?" Changes to encouter rates. Abilities that sway an encounter but aren't the only way to win it. Improvements to your rings. Long term-spells that consume a set amount of mana per turn but don't simply pull a character from the fight. Gaining abilities you don't have. Press-turn style gains. A ring system that isn't a dumbed-down version of Shadow Hearts...any of the numerous adjustments we've seen since FF1 to make RPGs more than just pretty spreadsheets."
Sennin: (On deadairis's point: "So, you can prove that with the most hit points and the highest magic point expenditure in those fights, you'll lose? ....")
This is painfully simple for anyone who knows what I'm talking about. Aqua Spell is only first available at Ipsilon Mountain - Mining Site. But it is near the end. When the player starts out at Ipsilon Mountain - Mining Site, Mad Sarbella spawns. His element is Fire, in which only Aqua can inflict additional bonus damage. But what's so frustrating about Mad Sarbella the first time you face him? He has 2 powerful abilities: Counter and Roar (Attack Up). Without Aqua, how can you win against him? The answer isn't in the party's HP or MP - but in getting the ingredients to direct an attack against his TYPE: Beast Rings. Ouch, strategy 1, level grinding zero.
(On deadairis's point: "You've read my statement to mean "don't cast spells," apparantly, which is charming -- but grievously inaccurate. What exactly do you think I was suggesting you spend magic points on? Gumdrops, candycanes, or both? .....")
Excuse me, I find it distasteful to put words in my mouth. Go ahead, try MP based attacks on Dark Sorcerers, and watch them counter hit your party back with the exact same spell. That's right, they have an innate Reflect and when your party meets them the first time, there is no dispel or any other way to remove this buff.
Solution? Use Physical attacks with Magic Rings, since Dark Sorcercers have no weakness to elemental attacks. Again, the player is forced to use Ring synthesis and gain the advantage. No matter how much HP/MP you have, you are just wasting resources in slugging it out with him.
This is given full exponential lectures when you face off against Disc 3's bosses. Ask anyone who has fought them, how helpful MP is against high magic resistance bosses who hits hard with Freeze attacks against an all mage party - that is low on HP in LO.
Seriously, did you play beyond disc 1 to make such bold, ignorant sweeping statements? How can anyone come to the conclusion HP and MP are all you need in LO if you take the time to understand the enemies' defenses?
Last but not least, diminishing marginal returns on exp. I'd be generous and grant you the notion level grinding is a possible way to triumph in LO. But as I've asked, how long did you take to level grind? What smart players can do in 20 minutes by strategy, you took 2 hours to accomplish by grinding?
(On deadairis's point: "Edit: And to stave off a potential response: "Well, what else can you spend them on?" ....")
I'd tackle the above points made 1 by 1.
Improvements to your rings - You can do it via synthesis, why use MP to further enhance it? Y'know, high level rings? lv 1,2 and 3 bonuses? You ever made even one of these? If you have no idea how to sync one, I'd be happy to teach you.
Gaining abilities you don't have. This is rich. Most skill-linked abilities from mortals and accessories does exactly what you ask for from MP usage. Surely you will agree to trimming the fats on redundancy if you're a pro gamer who advocates for efficiency?
Press-turn style gains. And what's next? Criticising Mistwalker and LO for directly copying Atlus' Persona? Surely you cannot be suggesting that Mistwalker opens itself up to potential IP infringment lawsuits in such a reckless manner?
A ring system that isn't a dumbed-down version of Shadow Hearts - this is probably the only point I'd agree with. Sure, let's wait for LO 2. Meanwhile, I'd take the intricate Ring synthesis system while the iron is still hot.
At this time, the Gamespy reviewer is still unable to respond to those arguments. That said, I think it clearly reveals that this person doesn't know how to do his job right, and I strongly question the credibility of his review of Lost Odyssey.
The enemies in the game are beatable without having to grind like crazy. But what is required out of the gamer is to explore the world for items that will be needed to fight these bosses or items that will give your characters enough time to actually kill them. The boss Bogimoray is a perfect example of this.
My wife is now at disk 4. The option to continue and kill Gongora is already available but she isn't going to proceed with that yet. However, she did tell me that she fought the challenging bosses in this area without having to go on a long grinding session. She just explored the dungeons as much as she could and she isn't even sure if she did explore everything. Just to let you guys know that my wife's party currently has an average level of 40. She can't really go and explain to me why this is significant but from what she has read with the reviews, chances are if those reviewers ever got to where she is now they will most likely throw their controller or start grinding until they reach level 99.
I guess most reviewers are trying to argue that the game can only be won by brute force attacks and ensuring that your level is far higher than the enemy. While you can go through the game like that, there are other more efficient ways of going through the game without having go through all the grinding trouble. But even if you do get the items to help you in battle, you will still have to use your head. You have to cast buffs, replenish your GC, keep your characters alive. Getting perfect in your ring aim will greatly help your predicament as well.