Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden
The first comment many have made upon seeing Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden is that it looks like World of Warcraft. Indeed, both boast colourful high-fantasy visuals, flaming horses, and an attractive range of punctuation headgear. Gameplay-wise Sacred Odyssey is a very different beast.
As a game which claims to be an RPG, the RPG elements of the game are disappointingly few and far between. There are quests, but these are generally the same mundane tasks seen in every computer RPG for years. There is no experience, choices in conversation, in your character’s abilities, or in equipment. The ‘Blue Orb’ seemingly is the local currency but, aside from healing potions, all shops only sell two items. Ever.
Aside from amassing wealth, there are two major forms of character progression. The basic form of progression, by which your abilities improve, revolves around ‘collections’; finding groups of artifacts placed around the world. The second of these is the story-driven acquisition of weapons, the abilities of which often grant access to new areas or are used in puzzles.
The puzzles in Sacred Odyssey aren’t afraid to make you think. Your hand is held, to a point, but there are a few logic and riddle-based which can leave you scratching your head for a while. Similarly, ingenuity and a keen eye are often rewarded with artefacts for your collection.
The boss battles are among the high points of the game. They involve a combination of both the environment and your abilitity to take the brutes down, but otherwise the combat can be frustrating at points. As enemy attacks break yours (and vice versa), it’s easy to get swarmed. With many encounters involving a combination of melee and ranged enemies teleporting around you, a lot of the time in combat is spent either dodging or blocking. Attempting something clever in combat, such-as hiding behind an obstacle to evade incoming arrows, only results in being shot through the wall as you realise that the developers didn’t bother to program that in. The game, however, gifts you with enough potions that combat isn’t that challenging in the end. Indeed, sinking your money into potions before the final battle (as that’s all you can buy) will likely guarantee victory.
The controls can be irritating. The camera adjustment is slow and, regardless of your auto camera orientation setting, the chances are good that you’ll need to adjust it constantly. It seems impossible to just change your facing without moving, or attack in a direction you’re not facing, so the simple act of changing who you want to attack can take a couple of attempts. The game does make some use of the touch screen to let you lock targets, but this only goes for non-fatal ranged attacks so most combat is melee.
This review wouldn’t be complete without noting that, overall, the game has a strong Legend of Zelda feel. The puzzles, the boss fights, the weapons that double as tools, the horse, the princess…
Many mobile games are padded to some extent. Some manage this gracefully, but there are a number of points in Sacred Odyssey where it feels like your time is being deliberately consumed in order to lengthen the experience. If you want to collect all of the artifacts, for example, then you need to re-visit empty dungeons. The padding sours what could have been a shorter and more fun experience and, combined with the lack of equipment or character choices, removes any replay value the game may have had.