Whilst some of you may have been out enjoying the sun this weekend, this writer was hard at work, slaving over a hot controller and playing through the first few hours of Mistwalker's new RPG, Lost Odyssey.

Lost Odyssey is the story of Kaim, an immortal character who has lived more than a thousand years and doesn’t remember his past and doesn’t know where his future lies. Throughout Kaim’s journey, a handful of characters will join him on an odyssey to discover their intricate past and destiny, leading players through a dramatic story of massive scale.

Shipping on four dual-layer DVDs, this is the largest and possibly the most ambitious Xbox 360 release to date. The Unreal Engine 3.0 has been tweaked to produce stunning visuals - the introductory battle scenes are nothing short of spectacular - and the steampunk-inspired urban scenes are meticulously detailed.

The combat system in Lost Odyssey is pretty much what you would expect from a Japanese Role Playing Game, in that each attack is meticulously scripted, however Mistwalker have added bonuses in the form of rings which can be picked up and equipped. The rings can be manipulated, and provide the player with a boost to their combat skills by means of a unique targeting system. Simply use the right trigger to line up the attack, and release it at exactly the right time to deal out extra damage. It's a nice concept that works well, but it doesn't alter the fact that the combat is very much on rails. Think Final Fantasy, not Diablo II.

The scope of Lost Odyssey is massive. The producer, Hironobu Sakaguchi, has taken the work of the Japanese novelist Kiyoshi Shigematsu and created a vibrant world with troubled characters, and allowed the player to immerse themselves in a truly epic struggle between good and evil. This looks to be one of the stand-out titles for the Xbox 360 this year, and with over ten hours of gameplay per DVD you'd be best to set aside quite a few weekends to finish it off!


    * Engaging and disturbing cinematic story. With story sequences penned by award-winning Japanese novelist Kiyoshi Shigematsu in cooperation with producer Hironobu Sakaguchi, Lost Odyssey sets a new benchmark for the RPG genre with a combination of true-to-life cinematics and the story of an immortal man who has been suffering in many ways for 1,000 years. Players will witness Kaim’s life as he lives through many
    generations, becomes part of numerous families, falls in and out of love, and confronts all of the conflicts that arise.
    * Innovative RPG gameplay features. Lost Odyssey blends massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) elements into the game’s traditional RPG system, enabling players to make strategic decisions for a more immersive and deep gameplay experience.
    * Realistic graphics in next-generation gaming. Powered by Unreal Engine 3 technology, Lost Odyssey boasts stunning visual fidelity and rendering quality. The Unreal Engine 3 technology pushes high-definition visual designs to a higher level and brings out the smallest details in the largest battles. Gamers will experience a rich dynamic world with an unprecedented level of detail.
    * Massive scope: The massively scoped worlds, memorable characters, and epic storyline play as an intense and unsettling blockbuster action film. Heading up the artistic demands of the title is famed Japanese comic artist Takehiko Inoue, and renowned composer Nobuo Uematsu has created a contemporary soundtrack.