Would you like to read a story?
Odin’s Sphere Leifthrasir is a remake of Odin’s Sphere on the PS2, with better graphics and a great treatment of the game, how does it do? Mostly, with remakes, the score given relies heavily on the nostalgia of playing a game you once loved. I’ve not played the original (although it appears the original is also in the game itself, as there is an option of playing a classic version.) so I’m looking at this with a new pair of eyes and judging the game based one first playthrough so I will not be able to compare it. The game may or may not be a good, great or perfect remake but I will tell you how it felt to a person new to the series.
Firstly, the story is superb and superbly told. You start off as Alice, a little girl who wants to read a story. The best way to start is the beginning with Gwendolyn a Valkyrie who has events thrust upon her when her sister dies. These whirlwind events take her through many troubles and personal crises ultimately having her question her place in the world and her part in the coming end. At all times, the narrative is beautifully told, the game itself looks like a children’s book as imagined by a child, with flowing and beautiful scenery as characters that have emotions, both through brilliant voice acting and well-made visuals. When Gwen struggles with decisions close to her heart, you can see it on her face, I’ve almost never seen such emotive 2d sprites and the detail of character is staggering. Gwen is not alone, after you finish her story, you unlock others, all told in a cinematic order that reveals hidden and shocking truths. There is Cornelius, Mercedes, Oswald and Velvet to follow. As well as hidden books thereafter if you followed the story and completed the fifth book according to how the legends foretell it happening. By the end I was satisfied, each character had their story and it played out well, leaving me very happy. Sometimes a game can go on for too long or not enough but Odin’s Sphere definitely had that perfect balance where I was content enough with the ending but eager enough to go through it again to see if I missed anything.
The game is a 2d side scrolling RPG, so the game elements are very important. The character handle simply so it is easy to get into the game but there is a layer style needed to get everything out of it. Everyone will find that a character handles better for them than others, personally I really liked Oswald’s play-style and found Cornelius’ to be fairly simple but struggled with Mercedes. It is down to personal preference who you liked the most but that each of them plays differently and yet the controls are so simple is a great testament to the battle system. Crisp and responsive, you soon wish for battlefields filled with skeletons, elves and fairies to test your abilities against. Boss battles are suitably epic with many of them taking up large portions of the screen and just as many of them eliciting emotions in you that make you want to pound them into the ground. The RPG elements thrive allowing you a great freedom in how you want to fight and build your characters.
Exploring the circular areas (As each level’s right and left edges join together and certain points.) gives you access to different abilities and the absorbing of Phozons allows you to use magic and upgrade said abilities. There is also an Alchemy system in game that allows you to make and change potions to your strengths, adding a new layer of strategy to keep you on your toes and give you and edge on getting those high battle ranks. The customisation and creation aspects are plentiful and there are several little goodies to find, like recipes for gourmet cooking that increase your stats and exp, special coins that may or may not be important later. Whether you like to be competitive with battle or enjoy finding every single unique item, Odin’s Sphere tries to rope you in with everything it can.
Lastly the music and sounds come under review. Absolutely Beautiful. I cannot stress enough how wonderful it feels to play a game with a good score and sound effects, the immersion rests on such details and it was truly like being in the story. The music was fitting and adapted to the surroundings, I never thought at any point it got repetitive or boring. Each and every sound seemed to be placed in position to enhance the players enjoyment. From subtle notes in the story to the adrenaline pumping beats added to the background music when you fight a boss. The game was a glorious and wonderful experience because at every place there was amazing music and the voice acting, whether in Japanese or English was incredible. You could easily hear the emotions in their voices, the passion and sadness whenever one was needed. As you played through the games, these little things really reinforced the strength of the game and you could easily be playing for hours without rest, not even noticing that ten hours had gone by.
Odin’s Sphere is a masterpiece. I’m not sure what the remake built upon in truth as almost everything seemed perfect. My complaints became extremely personal by the end, as I don’t enjoy spinning (Something that can be at issue with games with constantly rotating cameras and consistently circling backgrounds.) There were times where I didn’t enjoy the visuals or didn’t appreciate small maps that could be circled in seconds by fast moving characters. The controls for each character varying but not enough to present a challenge on lower difficulty, perhaps the point to allow an easy immersion but I found normal to be too easy most of the time. I loved the game though and played it until I could play no more, if you want a game that will give you the story of five lifetimes, with combat that will leave you in a cold sweet and music that will leave you at the mercy of the game’s whims… look no further than Odin’s Sphere Leifthrasir. I doubt you will be disappointed.