Remasters are nothing new this generation. Every game I played last gen is making a cameo appearance, so nothing feels special anymore. At least until games from the generation before this one somehow make an appearance, and when they look this good, it is hard not to take notice. Odin Sphere is the definition of a true gem. This action/RPG hybrid released on the PlayStation 2 was a beautiful example of the talent brimming out of Vanillaware. Now a new generation can finally experience it, with glorious redrawn visuals and a host of new additions.
Odin Sphere is a massive game. The premise is about a girl and her cat reading stories in an attic. Each book she reads represents a new protagonist in the world. Each story can last up to six or so hours creating an experience that can take dozens of hours to complete. There is so much to see here, and all of it in glorious 1080p running at 60 frames per second.
Platforms: PS4, Vita
Price I’d Pay: $59.99
The artwork simply leaps off the screen as characters and enemy designs are carefully crafted, giving the world its own unique look and feel. Sure towards the end some things start to repeat such as enemies and environments, but it all looks so glorious on the screen, it is hard to complain.
Each character also plays completely different. While some rely on standard hack and slash mechanics, others use more magic or even ranged attacks. It makes each story feel unique. The game works on a combo system with a plethora of moves at player’s disposal. Figuring out what works best against what enemy is addictive. Combat feels fantastic, and I was never frustrated while performing attacks. Everything flows together so fluidly.
This is thanks to the developer taking the time to not only clean up the visuals, but also the combat. Things that were clunky in the original game are now much smoother in the remake. Combos flow like that of a fighting game, and the awkward controls are much more responsive. This is how a remake should be done, and props to Vanillaware for taking the time to clean up an already impressive game.
Combat is deep too. Every possible mechanic one could think of is here. Guard breaks, aerial attacks, slide dashes, all form to create a symphony of attacks that are as much fun to watch as pull off. It is impressive how much each encounter calls for. The tutorial feels overwhelming at first, but after a bit of practice I was pulling off moves with little hesitation. The enemies are designed to take advantage of the moves as well. It also helps that the remake has pulled the camera back just enough to keep track of the intense action.
There is still a lot to manage in Leifthrasir, but it has been streamlined to a degree. Tabs are now present in the inventory menu, which makes it less cumbersome to deal with. There is also still a fair bit of grinding once the action gets moving. Nothing game breaking, but still worth noting.
The leveling system is interesting in that players can plant seeds to earn XP. There is also a skill tree that feels extremely overwhelming at first, but like everything else, it grew on me over time. There is a lot of game here, and packing it all into one understandable system proved a challenge. The upgrades the team has made have gone above and beyond making a great game even greater.
Odin Sphere Leifthrasir is a masterpiece of game design, and one of the forgotten gems of the PS2 era. I can’t recommend it enough, and it stands head and shoulders above other remakes on how to get the job done. For those that never experienced the original it is a must buy, but even for those with fond memories of the glorious Vanillaware classic, this package is more than worth a second dip.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.