);

Odin’s Sphere Leifthrasir Review

Odin’s Sphere Leifthrasir Review
Developed by: Vanillaware
Published by: Atlus
Reviewed on: Playstation 4 

 

Odin’s Sphere Leifthrasir is made for people like me: people who missed this gem from the PlayStation 2 days. The original, created by VanillaWare, was released in 2007 and I must have been asleep because this one went totally unnoticed by me. Thankfully the game has been remade for the PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4.  Is this remake a worthy heir to what many consider to be a classic? The answer is an unsurprising yes.

Let me go ahead and state the obvious: this game is DROP DEAD GORGEOUS. Vanillaware’s two earlier titles, Muramasa: The Demon Blade and Dragons Crown had already shown me what Vanillaware’s incredible artists are capable of. Odin’s Sphere still holds up remarkably well for a game that came out nearly a decade ago. The use of color is captivating and it never feels like you’re looking at the same drab environments common in recent games. The character designs and monsters are all very unique and the locations you visit are beautiful.  One detail that also pushes itself ahead of the pack are the special attacks and spells. I found all of them to be at least visually enticing. They added spice to the gameplay and doesn’t feel superfluous.

When I wasn’t busy gawking at the gorgeous art, I was very happily engaged in exploring the world and slaying enemies. Leiftrasir does something that most remasters don’t do: it give you the option to play an unedited version of the original. I played the original version of the game for about two hours to get my feet wet. I was impressed. This game was clearly built with a lot of love and thought. Moving on to the remastered version I was struck by how nicely everything was spruced up. It runs smoothly at 60 frames per second rate and only dropped when I filled the screen with spells, when more than a dozen small were enemies on screen, or when a large boss performed special moves.

It’s awesome to have such a diverse cast in terms of personality AND play style. Odin’s Sphere offers six playable characters and while
they share the same core mechanics from a control standpoint, each character specializes in certain actions. Cornelius for example excels at using area of effect attacks to rack up huge combos, while Mercedes uses a magic crossbow that can be charged up while she flies around the battlefield. You can play as each of these characters fairly easily, but the differences in their moves and stats makes you have to think somewhat about how you approach combat. Getting higher combo counts and being efficient leads you to better loot. It doesn’t feel like a waste of time to learn the subtleties of each character.

By engaging in battles you gain experience points that you can use to upgrade the skills you learn, as well as gain a boost in your stats so you can fight harder battles. Bonus experience is gained by eating food. Consuming food you find or purchase not only heals you, but it also adds on to your maximum life and more experience points. By going to a restaurant and providing ingredients for recipes or by paying in coin you can also eat a meal that grants an even larger bonus. There is also an easy to learn alchemy system. This allows you to use items you find as ingredients to create potions and spells that can do anything from healing, to changing enemies into frogs, or summoning a giant explosion. The game makes it easy to see what potions can be made with the press of a button. The results yielded can be incredibly satisfying and I felt encouraged to use them often.

Another thing masterfully done is the audio, between the wonderful sound effects, fantastic score, and a pair of dubs that are both worth of praise and admiration. Each character’s voice is appropriate not only to their personality, but add characteristics that drive the very diverse cast.

The story is told through the perspective of the characters with all their interwoven story lines. There’s a slight drawback because in order to experience the whole story, you have to play the game in a predetermined order. The way everything unfolds also gives you a wonderful ease into the lore and backstory of the world. This made it forgivable even if I had to play as Mercedes longer than I liked. The ending to the game was quite satisfying and I would easily play through the game again.

In my 45 hours with the game I was blown away by the exceptional art, excellent game play, and well-rounded story that kept me coming back even after a weaker middle section. This game is well worth your money and your time, especially if you didn’t get to play the original.

Davies Green

Davies Green

One of the original founders of the CFG. Big nerd who is a fan of geeky pop culture and wants to share it with everyone.



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