Let the Odyssey commence
If you don't immediately get the reference to the two horses, Miya and Moto, owned by our hero in the game, then you’re probably not going to be bothered about the obvious homage Sacred Odyssey pays to Nintendo’s Zelda games. Which is just as well, because Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden is a great game in its own right.
Gameloft have chosen an interesting path for their latest game, a freemium model that gives you the game for free and then a one-off cost to keep playing. What this means is that the game really has to wow players right from the off.
Graphically, this is achieved pretty early on. The outdoor locations look beautiful as you wonder around the farmyard before finally setting off on your horse for an adventure. It does seem to put a strain on all but the latest hardware though, 3GS owners may find the game struggling at times, but certainly nothing that prevents you from wringing the fun out of the adventure.
Luckily, the story and action live up to the promise set by the graphics. The farm is just the beginning as Ayden soon finds Orcs invading the land and get roped in to helping the battle against evil, unaware that he has a greater purpose set for him.
Before long, players will find themselves fighting huge waves of Orcs, spiders and solving puzzles in those classic cavern scenarios that any Zelda fan will instantly feel at home in. To help in your quest, new weapons are given to you along the way. Again, familiarity creeps in as you are handed a boomerang and glove, but it never feels forced or old, just fun.
The story trots along at a good pace, never outstaying its welcome and even if you do tire of your quest to find grail pieces, there are plenty of NPCs with side quests and merchants waiting for you to try out their new wares. Players can get lost for hours in the game without progressing along the main path set by the story, but sooner or later you will want to get back on track.
Special mention should be made of the voice acting. While it’s true that some voices are better than others, there’s a quality here that many iPhone games fail to reach. While not everything is spoken, there’s a fair amount of spoken dialogue in the game too and the rest of the written text never reaches the realms of of overkill, unlike some adventures.
There will still be those who complain that this game is a Zelda Rip-off and that it has no new ideas, but to me Gameloft have created a perfect new adventure based loosely on the ideas of a much loved franchise. Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden is a treasure among a heap of average adventure games, a mix of great characters, fascinating story and gorgeous graphics. I eagerly await the inevitable sequel: Return of Ayden.
- Sound: 10
- Graphics: 9
- Gameplay: 9
- Longevity: 8
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