- Publisher: ATLUS
- Developer: Vanillaware
- Release Date: 06/07/16
- Console: PlayStation 4
Every once in a while, a game comes along that makes you go “Hot damn, this is awesome!”. You play the game, possibly beat it, and move on with your life, secretly hoping for a sequel, or perhaps, if you dare to dream a bit bigger, an HD remake when a new console is released. For me, Odin Sphere is certainly one of these games.
For those not familiar with the title, Odin Sphere Leifthrasir was first released in 2007/2008, with not too much more than a few hushed comments here and there. For those that discovered it though, it was very much beloved, though many agreed that it could use some tweaks and balancing. 8 years later, the game is still amazing, but in its new form, much more so than before. And for those of you who get nostalgic easily, the game even has a “classic” mode, a ported version of the original that you can boot right from the main menu. As with most remakes, they’ve amped up the graphics and refined the audio, and the controls feel more than natural.
Game play itself is is so much more than it’s ever been; all the controls are quite simple and the tutorials come in right as you need them, and are easily reviewed in the “Story Archives”. Combat is super fluid and there’s more than enough combo variations to get your hit chains well into the hundreds, if that’s something you care about (and let’s be honest, who *doesn’t* like maxing out a combo multiplier?). And speaking of gameplay, for those of you who never played the original, here’s your fair warning: this game is LONG. There’s five different protagonists you play through the game as, and each of their campaigns is decently lengthy, as they all have their own stories that overlap and tie together.
Now, despite how much I thoroughly enjoy Odin Sphere, no review would be complete without an honest evaluation of its flaws, and loathe as I am to admit it, there are a few. First and foremost, the repetition. While I can appreciate that each area of the game has its own enemies, and that each battle stage features them in slightly different configurations, by the time I reached the 8 hour mark of my play through, I was certain I had tried every single combo in the game at least a few times over, and then some. And while this game is more complex than any single hack ‘n slash out there (and that’s not at all what I’m saying this game is, mind you) new mechanics and plot points aren’t really introduced often enough to really keep me hooked for more than an hour or two at a time.
All in all, Odin Sphere will always be one of my favorites; it’s a nice blend of a fighter and an rpg with dazzling graphics and sound, and with multiple characters to choose from it’s easy enough to change things up now and again (once you’ve beaten the campaign for the first time, anyway). Though it can be repetitive at parts, there’s still plenty of ways to shake things up, and at the end of the day, it’s a LOT of game play considering the how short most games are these days. What I truly admire about Odin Sphere though, is the fact that it manages to tell multiple stories, most of which feature somewhat strong female leads, as opposed to damsel-in-distress based missions with male only characters. And while that doesn’t really affect the quality of the game or alter my experience playing it, I certainly believe in giving credit where it’s due, and feel that it’s worth mentioning here.
Final score: 9/10