Initial release date: January 14, 2016
The HD remake of Vanillaware’s PlayStation 2 masterpiece Odin Sphere is told in five tales from the perspectives of five unique protagonists. Odin Sphere Leifthrasir expresses the original game with glorious HD graphics in Vanillaware’s renowned style, expanded worlds with new monsters, fully voiced story scenes, and a fine-tuned refreshing combat and RPG system to perfect the gameplay.
Odin Sphere features a large story from five different perspectives, as mentioned in the description above. Stories range from a woman trying to avoid the fate prophesized by her late mother, to a daughter constantly trying to prove herself to her father. Ultimately, they all come together with numerous supporting characters to tie up numerous plot points and provide satisfying conclusions. I really enjoyed how much thought the developers put into the story, and the various endings involved. Like most who do not rush to a FAQ, I trigged a bad ending, but the game makes it quite clear what you need to do to get the good ending afterwards. I found it satisfying to do the extra work, as it only took another hour or two.
An action game relies heavily on its combat system, especially given that players will visit locations multiple times. Thankfully, the gameplay holds its end of the deal up, for the most part. Each character has multiple moves and skills you unlock as you play the game. Many of them have specific situations they work best in, making sure you constantly consider their full list of skills to get the most out of the characters. With that said, I did feel that Oswald, the Dark Night, felt too shallow in how he plays. It detracts from an otherwise nearly perfect experience.
As you play, your characters gather numerous materials that they can combine to create potions that can heal, inflict damage, control the battlefield and more. Using the right item at the right time can make difficult encounters more manageable. Characters may grow, buy and find various food items which they can combine into dishes that increase hit points and offer huge experience gains.
While it has been said hundreds of times, I feel the need to add my voice to the chorus. This game looks awesome on an HD TV. Every time my wife would walk by, she would comment on the visuals. I applaud Vanillaware for showing us what great 2D visuals can look like in the 21st century. To say that this game looks like a painting come to life only begins to describe its appeal. I also enjoyed the music as I played through the game.
After beating the game, a new game plus mode opens up. It features tougher, elite versions of enemies, and even some new bosses. I look forward to trying it out. Some of the skills you obtain come right at the end of the characters’ stories. Furthermore, playing on the default setting, the game eventually became a bit on the easy side. This mode addresses both issues, and adds to an experience that will already take most gamers 30-40 hours to beat.
I can certainly see some gamers only giving this a “Play It” or “Beat It” on my review scale. However, I felt compelled to not only beat it, but that I would love to do more content with additional challenge. Thankfully, the new game plus mode offers just that. Therefore, I give my official stance on Odin Sphere, the highly coveted “Complete it!” rating.