North American PlayStation 2 cover art
|Publisher(s)||Activision (North America)
Sony Computer Entertainment (Japan and Europe)
Sky Odyssey (called The Sky Odyssey in Japan) is an action/adventure flight simulator for the Sony PlayStation 2. It was developed by Cross and released in 2000. The game's soundtrack was composed by Kow Otani, who also composed the music for Shadow of the Colossus, a variety of Gamera films, and various anime.
The game follows an Indiana Jones-style storyline in which the player character flies through several areas of a fictional world, collecting artifacts as well as pieces of a map. The adventure mode of the game focuses on reaching the hidden tower of Maximus, which is located on one of four uncharted islands which are explored in the game.
The player in the game is given control of 10 different aircraft, 7 of which must be unlocked. These range from real world aircraft (such as the Fairey Swordfish), to prototypes that never saw actual flight (e.g. the Kyūshū J7W), to completely fictional ones. While a few of these are military aircraft, no combat actually takes place in the game. Instead players are given the task of flying complex missions to search for the map pieces needed to find the Tower of Maximus. Most missions involve traversing from one point on the games map to the next, but rarely is this straight forward. The missions often follow a path that requires flight through extreme terrain such as canyons, caves, and mountain peaks.
To further complicate things, rogue weather patterns, rock slides, and other natural phenomena will constantly impede on progress into these areas and will often threaten to destroy the player's aircraft. In addition, several of the game's levels require certain tasks to be completed to advance. Examples of these include mid air refueling with a moving train, or attempting a fuel dump in order to cross a high mountain pass. After the mission is complete, players are given a score ranging from A+ to D and can buy new parts to customize their aircraft. Higher scores lead to more parts being made available for purchase. In addition to the main adventure there are two bonus modes called Target Mode and Sky Canvas Mode.
In Target Mode players must take off and navigate through a series of targets in the shortest amount of time as possible and return to the runway for landing. Sky Canvas Mode requires players to Skywrite different words and symbols before the smoke can be blown away by the wind. There is also a training mode and a Free Flight mode. Training mode introduces players to the controls of the game while Free Flight mode lets players freely fly their unlocked aircraft without the restrictions or dangers found in the main part of the game.
Sky Odyssey was well received by the game critics. It has achieved an average score of 78% from Game Rankings, a reviews aggregate. IGN gave the game a favorable score of 9 out of 10 stating that Sky Odyssey is a game "that belongs in the software library of every PlayStation 2 owner." It also said that while some may be turned off by the game's lack of violence, "the intensity and adrenaline levels that players will reach while playing this game really surpass what you'll ever likely get in a straight action game." In an IGN list of top 10 most underrated games Sky Odyssey came in at number 6 on the list. Gamespot gave the game an 8.3, praising it for its wide variety of aircraft and missions. Gamespot also liked the weather effects and physics in the game.
Both sides however noted that the game's graphics were not up to par, and stated that the game was somewhat difficult for newcomers. GameVortex, however, stated that the training modes in the game provide enough help to newcomers. IGN praised the game's soundtrack, while GameVortex stated the different variety of gameplay made the game enjoyable.
Not all reviews were positive however. The Official PlayStation Magazine gave the game 3 out of 5 stars, while GamePro gave it 2.5 stars on the same scale. IGN and Game spot noted that the game is not for everyone, especially those expecting a "straight up action game." Still, Gamespot said in the closing of their review that, "those that are willing to overlook the game's graphical imperfections and can grapple with its relatively steep learning curve will be rewarded with a fully satisfying game experience."
Notes and references
- "Sky Odyssey Release Summary". GameSpot. 2000. Retrieved September 16, 2007.