Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden HD
Climb on the horse and slay some orcs in Gameloft's Zelda style adventure.
Gameloft's Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden was clearly inspired by a certain Nintendo franchise starring a popular elf. There's a talking tree (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time), a princess in distress (Zelda again) a fairy companion and a young farmhand who sets off to rid the world from evil. Despite the obvious comparisons, this well-made third person adventure offers several hours of orc smashing fun.
Most of the enjoyment comes from exploring the kingdom of Lasgalen on horseback, traveling to different areas and accepting quests that normally involve slaying monsters, solving simple puzzles (pushing crates, turning mirrors) or retrieving items. There's also a satisfying amount of loot to collect, and in-game currency lets you purchase a variety of items that prove useful in combat.
Of course, it helps that the controls are easy to use. You have a virtual analog stick to guide the hero, Ayden, through this mostly beautiful world, as well as buttons for attacking and summoning his horse that literally appears out of nowhere. Gameloft also deserves praise for the camera, which is easily manipulated by dragging a finger across the screen.
That said, the lackluster story kills a lot of the momentum. The writers tried to be tongue in cheek with weak attempts at humor and pop culture (Beetle in the Sky with Diamonds) that don't mesh well with a medieval fantasy environment. It almost seems like Sacred Odyssey's creators tried to make fun of the genre, but it doesn't come off well, and the terrible voice acting makes the dialogue even worse.
You'll also notice that the game's inconsistent visuals. Some environments look downright ugly, thanks to fog and some drab backgrounds. That's not always the case; at times, Sacred Odyssey shines. Just don't expect a premier graphical experience.
Finally, there's a matter of price. Charging gamers six bucks is fine. No problem there. Advertising it as a free App, however, and then asking for cash a few minutes in seems weird. Just tell us what it costs up front and be done with it.
At the same time, it's hard for us to hate this game. Gameloft didn't beat Zelda, not even close, but Sacred Odyssey has the necessary ingredients for a hit, including tons of action, a plethora of missions and some likeable characters, even if they sound like dopes.
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod Touch (3rd generation), iPod Touch (4th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1.3 or later.
Requirements (HD version): Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 3.2 or later.
What's Hot: Impressive Zelda clone, enjoyable horseback riding and combat, plenty of quests to complete.
What's Not: Impressive Zelda clone, enjoyable horseback riding and combat, plenty of quests to complete.