Sunday, February 03, 2008

The Hard-To-Please Sony-centric NEOGAFFERS love Lost Odyssey, too.

Reading comments over here:

It seems that Lost Odyssey is getting some good feedback from the generally-hard-to-please Neogaf forum audience (also known as 'The GAF' - 'Gaming Age Forums').

Just as a bit of background, Neogaf is a multiplatform site which, (it seems to me anyway), is largely biased in favor of anything that has to do with Japanese games and consoles. Normally anything Xbox360-related is trashed on the Neogaf forum. This includes Japanese-made games which are released for the Xbox 360. These are generally seen on Neogaf as sales failures in Japan, and thus they usually get the cold shoulder and a lot of negative feedback. Despite this oddity I visit Neogaf because they usually get the console gaming industry news first. But I don't trust most of the user feedback on video games that is given there. Normally the only basis for the quality of a game on Neogaf is the Japanese sales of a title, or the legacy of a series or game character (Final Fantasy, Super Mario, Solid Snake, etc); in other words, if it sells in Japan and is a series that brings back sweet, sweet childhood memories, on GAF it must be good.

Microsoft is generally seen on Neogaf as the 'enemy'---the threat to the status quo dominance of Japanese consoles in the worldwide marketplace. So anything and everything that has to do with Microsoft is usually portrayed in a negative light on the forum.

So imagine my surprise to see some positive buzz for the Xbox 360 exclusive game, Lost Odyssey, on this very forum.

If you read the entire thread, near the beginning, there were early impressions given out by longtime NEOGAF forum members Duckroll and Bebpo on Lost Odyssey, and they were quite harsh and negative. They based their impressions on the Japanese version of the game. To be honest I felt a bit worried when I read their opinions. But the newer impressions, which are based on the Asian version with complete ENGLISH voice/text/menus, are much more positive, and clearly jive with the impressions that Yahoosoda is giving me on the game. This leads me to believe that one of two things are possible:

1. Duckroll and Bepbo's grasp of the Japanese language is flaky, at best. They likely skipped out on the 'Thousand Years of Dreams', or couldn't understand and translate their emotional context completely. Their ineptitude in the Japanese language renders their opinion completely moot.

Yahoosoda tells me the 'Thousand Years of Dreams' is required have to read them if you want to understand and appreciate the characters, story, and universe of Lost Odyssey.

2. Duckroll and Bepbo are the usual Japanese console fanboys who do not want the Xbox 360 to succeed. With the 'relative' failure of Lost Odyssey (sales-wise) in Japan, they're going the 'safe route' by having a negative opinion. That way, once any negative reviews roll out for Lost Odyssey in the West, they won't look like fools.

That said, the positive opinions for Lost Odyssey on the GAF are a surprise for me. I just hope that when people try out this game, they have an open mind about it and not immediately cast doubts just because 'FINAL FANTASY' is not in the title of the game. While it is clear that Lost Odyssey is an attempt by Microsoft to capture the Japanese audience that failed, this should not cloud one's appreciation for the game. The Japanese might not agree (with their money) that Lost Odyssey is a good game, but that does not mean that the game itself is no good.

Maybe this is a bad analogy---just because you don't see everyone buying expensive Jaguars, Mercedez Benz's or Ferraris doesn't necessarily mean that those cars are no good. If Japan sales are the only measure of a game's quality (as NEOGAF usually calls it), we'd miss out on a lot of great titles that we know would never sell in Japan.

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