A beautiful RPG that arrived too late
With so many RPG games being released over the years with a gripping story or brilliant graphics, Odin Sphere is one of those games that look really stylish and features simple 2D hand drawn characters which all looks well done.
The main story of Odin Sphere is split into a series of five books, read by a little girl in an attic. Each book contains a different protagonist, and all the books are connected, showcasing different perspectives of the main plot. You start off with access to only one book and unlock the next as you beat the previous book and so on and so forth.
The world of Erion contains seven nations, each keeping tabs on the other and striking if another shows weakness. One day, the Kingdom of Valentine gets wiped out by its own weapon, ‘The Cauldron’. Seeing this as an opportunity, Odin’s troops and their fairies attempt to seize ‘The Cauldron’ while other nations remained neutral. What they don’t know is that this string of events follows a forgotten ancient prophecy that will lead to the worlds end.
To start things of, the first book focuses on the Demon lord Odin’s daughter, Gwendolyn. Her older sister, Griselda, died during a battle, entrusting Gwendolyn with her special spear, a weapon made of a jewel known as a Psypher. Gwendolyn always sought her father’s love, and would be willing to die to hear him say he loved her. As she serves the king, she is tormented by trying to please her father and staying true to her personal beliefs.
Gameplay: Each story can take you up to 5- 10 hours to beat, depending on if you want to level up your character and, of course, you’ll be going through a few repetitive levels most of the time, but each boss at the end of each area can be tough and their difficulty depends on what level your characters are at. Odin Sphere feels like a 2D game if you remember playing old games on your Sega Mega Drive or NES, yet is stylish and manages to pull off 2D well. The gameplay controls fair but force you not to use your attacks too much, otherwise you will run out of power and you won’t be able to move or attack.
It’s just a shame it’s come so late in the lifetime of the PS2 that many people won’t be getting around to playing it
With each battle you go through, you’ll be ranked on how well you did. The higher the rank you get the more likely you’ll get a rare item or more money, depending on how quick you get rid of all enemies in each area.
The down side about the game is every time your HP reaches zero you’ll have to start the battle all over again, which can be very annoying most times, unless you have enough items or an Ancient Crystal which can bring you back to life. Another bad thing about Odin Sphere is that with each story you start, you will have to start from scratch with each character and have to train them up to higher levels that Level 1.
Whatever items you had from the previous story cannot be transferred onto the next, meaning you’ll have to get most items or equipment by either buying them again from merchants or killing enemies really quickly. You can also use alchemy where you can mix items to make potions or antidotes.
Graphics and Sound: Normally, 2D animation in games uses three to four frames to describe an action. It really pushed a nearly 7-year-old console to its limits and shows how well 2D can be utilized in this day and age. The environments are fantastic with each locale being unique and detailed with a lot going on in the background for some extra flair. The back grounds are hand drawn which results in a unique, sophisticated style with the charm of a fairy tale.
The game also provides voicing where you’ve got the option to either have in English or Japanese, depending on what language you like playing games on. Some voicing in English can be a little weak but enjoyable if you play the game in English making it feel like a fantasy film. Most music in Odin Sphere has been composed by Hitoshi Sakimoto who has composed music for many Square Enix RPG games including Final Fantasy 12.
Overall: Beating the game can take you up to 20-30 hours and there are other side-quests in Odin Sphere where you can cook items in café’s and restaurants through out certain towns. You can also revisit areas if you want level up or try and get more money or getting higher ranks on killing enemies.
It’s just a shame it’s come so late in the lifetime of the PS2 that many people won’t be getting around to playing it. I would recommend Odin Sphere for anyone who still owns a PS2, and would suggest brushing the dust off of it to enjoy playing through this colourful world.
The Bad: Crippling slowdown kills some of the most exciting moments in the game, Excessive inventory management, Can feel repetitive at times.