XSeed had some of the best overall created box sets for the PSP during its run, and their first effort for the Vita title Ragnarok Odyssey, they could not have done a better job. The box is crafted out of shiny, bright and poppy aluminum styled material that shines and looks beautiful on the shelf. Inside, you will find a "Mercenary Guide, collector's CD album, a set of playing cards, and the game itself.
Aside from the immaculate box, the first thing that drew my eye was the Mercenary Guide: Guide of Midgard. At first, I assumed it would be more an art-book than anything, but to my woe and surprise, it was a very detailed miniature guidebook that spans 92 pages. The pictures are clean, the design is nice, and I can see it being really helpful the more I get into the game. I know many Vita owners, including myself, are really irritated and bummed that the Vita does not come with manuals (digital only), but this totally fixes the problem for this game and then some. World maps, area maps, character and monster bios, and extra info makes this purchase all the more worth it. The book itself is made of outstanding paper materials. This is really a treat.
After the joy of looking through the book, I quickly tore the plastic off of the CD case to see get a hear of the album, and the music is just about what I expected from a game of this genre. It hits all the same tonal areas out of what you would expect from Monster Hunter for instance, but it keeps a more anime tone to match the visual aspect of the game. The theme is good but nothing that inspired. I've only listened fully to about 6 tracks and skimmed through the rest, but it's decent for a random listen and it's better than I expected. I would say the slip cover case it more inspired and provoking of love than the music. Do not get me wrong; I do really like the music and it sounds like it will do the game justice, but do not expect Final Fantasy status music, which I doubt anyone did to begin with.
The cards are not anything especially eye catching, but what they are is well made. At least it wasn't cheap, flimsy paper they worked with. I do not know if every box comes with a random set of cards; I got two of the same card in mine, and the rest were assorted monsters. I have not done research about these or have looked them up; however, they are good collector's pieces regardless and the artwork and stats on the back are nice overall. A great bonus on top of everything else that is for sure.
As for the game, I have only dug a short time into it, and I can say a few things about it. Firstly, the menus are not hard to handle and getting through the setup is a breeze. The graphics look gorgeous on the Vita's OLED screen and do more justice than the slightly above PS2 inspired graphics screenshots as seen online. When I was playing during some battles, I was totally invested into the missions and the game-play defiantly worked well with the soundtrack, listed earlier. I haven't had the chance to interact online or local play, but if it's anything like the single player missions x2-4, you will have a great time.
Ragnarok Odyssey is not for everyone (especially if you like a more traditional RPG experience or tend to like shooters or the like), and the anime art style may turn some Western players off; however, the core experience seems like it will be a blast, and the game plays very fluidly on the Vita. The controls are easy to handle and there is a ton of content to explore. Overall, if you are a fan of Monster Hunter or co-op mission games, this is the game for you. The reviews so far have been critical (IGN) or luke-warm, but give the game a shot and you won't be let down.
Also, this collector's edition is one of the highlights of the year, especially for only 10 dollars more than the normal price. Pick it up before people start price gouging! Good luck and have fun.
UPDATE (Nov 5, 2012):
After spending some time through the game both on single player and online, my statement stands firm from beforehand: this game is defiantly worth it. I've gotten to the fifth chapter and have played dozens of online missions. The players online are nice, fun, and respectful, and I have not run into anybody just screwing around and being rude, which is a good sign. The combat is intense and having four players is a blast. The strategy and efficiency, especially when the classes of each player are varied, help the fun and excitement, especially for harder missions. I play as the assassin class myself, and although I really like that class and keep it as my main one, the game does offer the ability to have class switching after the second chapter. If anyone is worried about one class for the whole game or start over, do not be.
One thing to note is that there is little of a story in the game, but this game is more about the player experience than heavy handed story telling. It's great to just cool down and relax for awhile everyday, team up with some friends, and battle some monsters. This is the best multi-player experience for the PS Vita right now, and it deserves that title. Party chat works with this title, but you have to make sure you set it up with your PSN friends before you go online the game, or it will disconnect all of you from the network. This also means you cannot, for whatever reason, press the home button during online play. It can be bothersome if it is done by accident during intense play, but as long as you remember this, you will be fine.
Overall, Ragnarok Odyssey offers a tremendous amount of content, has a great trophy selection for PSN trophy hunters, and has the best online (and only RPG MMO styled, "Monster Hunting") for the handheld. If you are hesitant, but are even mildly curious, just go for it. I had two friends after I got the title that felt the same way, I talked them into it, and now we're playing every night, and they do not regret the purchase whatsoever. Gaming is all about having fun, and this title offers that fun in such an excitingly way, in a tight, portable experience.