Replay Value: 9.1
With their second game in hand, Activision is already off the right foot with their PS2 games. While there were many critics who found Orphen a less than average game, I found it to be an enjoyable experience with fun gameplay and nice graphics. Activision's second title which is developed by Cross, is Sky Odyssey a simulation game which is fully described by its name. If anyone remembers PilotWings 64 for N64, Sky Odyssey is sort of like that except the game is much more deeper and overall an experience like no other. It's no secret that games that play in the vain of Sky Odyssey are extremely rare, mostly the reasons would be hardware limitations, and once again it shows us how critical the 128-Bit generation is in the role of new videogame creations. Sky Odyssey is the ideal example of a game that is doable now, but wouldn't be great if done previously. Read this review of Sky Odyssey and find out why this is a must have PS2 game, or at least deserves your interest.
With games like SSX and Tekken Tag looking as well as they do, it's now more interesting to see how other launch or near launch PS2 games would come out. Sky Odyssey isn't the greatest looking game in PS2's library but it sure is pretty nevertheless. With this game being a simulation-based featuring air planes, air craft detail was the one thing I was wondering on how well it would turn out. Surprisingly the result is not bad at all, the crafts are built solid, they may not have marvelous looking glares surrounding them but parts such as, tails, the nose and wings look very nice, but I wouldn't call these models revolutionary though. Now the environments on the other hand are vast, full of freedom and the textures are superb. You'll fly through dangerous rock paths, view rock slides and even cross the sea, the levels are great, they are very well thought out and it shows. Sadly Sky Odyssey isn't anti-aliased, although it isn't very noticeable if you look close enough onto the plane, you'll notice some jaggies here and there. The weather effects are where it's at with Odyssey, weather plays a major role in this game, so lens flare of the sun light is something that you may see a lot, thunderbolts in the background are another key weather effect and the rain drops look amazingly good. While it may not pack the best graphics, Sky Odyssey is still a pretty game to look at with extremely good looking weather effects.
It's not exactly PilotWings, since Sky Odyssey is a game that soars way over the Nintendo title in more ways than one. To kick things off, Sky Odyssey is a very deep game with tight physics that both beginners and advanced gamers can learn quickly thanks to its two control selections, Easy and Advanced. With the control in check now comes time for you to get your gears in check and be prepared for the ride of your life, as Sky Odyssey will take you through over 40 missions through rough terrain which includes rock slides, or hit the sea and attempt to land on a plane carrier that is floating on the water and waiting for your arrival. The levels are truly inspiring the missions you are expected to do may seem hard for awhile, but you really should give Sky Odyssey time, because this will be one trip you'll never forget. To enjoy the trip you are granted 11 air crafts and a few secret ones as well, but you only start out with three decent air planes. Making your way through the main mode, you will eventually come across three different paths that you can take, but in order to open up a completely new path you have to complete the extra paths before hand. Taking the paths will be extremely worthy, because some areas will leave you completely in awe and in amazement over an incredible task that you have to complete. One task that left me in awe was the mission where your plane sprung a leak and you have to land on top of a train in order to fill up your fuel so that you can make it to the airport for repairs. Now after you land on the train a cord will be attached to your plane and your plane will take off and you have to keep up speed so that the train and plane fly close to one another or else the cable snaps, it's really cool.
After completing certain missions you will be rewarded with new parts and sometimes critical parts such as floats that attach to the bottom of your plane. Not only is Sky Odyssey deep in gameplay but it is deep in modes including Adventure (main mode), Target (you fly your plane through targets and try to get the bull's eye), Training, Free Flight, and Sky Canvas. Sky Canvas is without a doubt one of the best modes in a videogame. This mode lets you make designs in the air with your plane, by releasing smoke and flying through rings to create the design required for the stage. If you've ever seen writing in the sky done by planes, this is exactly what this mode is, except there is only one plane. I should also mention that you can paint your planes by selecting their wings, tails, noses and other craft parts. Sky Odyssey deserves to be on everybody's wish list this year, along with Midnight Club, SSX and Madden 2001, Sky Odyssey needs to be put right next to those three as being one of the best PS2 games yet. First Activision got me addicted to Tony Hawk now it's Sky Odyssey.
Wow who was behind the audio area here? The music is wonderful, it interacts with the environment and makes hazardous conditions in the game feel so much more frightening, if there is a storm or strong wind, the tune would go into a lower tune and have harder drum beats in the background, almost as if it was a panic attack. The soundtrack itself really makes you feel like you are actually setting off to the air, with cheerful tunes that really bring out the "I'm high up in the air" feel, if you know what I mean. The engine sounds are nice, when the propeller turns at full speed you can tell, just as you can tell when the propeller is slowing down. The medium of choice for this game is DVD and with all of the voice acting for mission briefings it's no wonder why that was chosen. The voice that briefs the missions for you sounds very good, he speaks the dialogue clearly (even though sub-titles are included) so you won't have any trouble understanding what he says. Awesome audio, clearly comprehensible, a job well done by Cross.
The controls are first rate, throttle is used with the Square button, decreasing propeller force is done by X causing the propeller to spin slower so that you would be able to reduce speed easier, and maneuvering is used with the left analog stick. For making turns use the L1 and R1 buttons so that your plane tail would would maneuver your plane. With the game allowing you to use Normal way of controlling your plane and a beginners way to play. The Dual Shock is a very strong and there are many different shocks to be felt from the force feedback, and the analog sensitivity is precise. Smooth controls make Sky Odyssey an even better odyssey than before.
Sky Odyssey has been out for about two weeks now, (sorry about the delay folks) and it should be available in your retailer for $49.99, which means that you need to crack open that piggy bank and cough up that dough to the cashier, 'cause Sky Odyssey is a game worth every penny of what you are willing to spend on it. While the game may not boast the best visuals, the addictive gameplay is what this game is all about and believe me this games got a lot of it. The uplifting soundtrack is something to appreciate and the crisp controls trully make Sky Odyssey a must have videogame for all of you PS2 owners out there.