Odin Sphere Leifthrasir is developed by Atlus and Vanillaware. Atlus are responsible for games like Trine 2 and Persona 5 (very much looking forward to this). They have strong links with the old giants Sega and focus heavily on Japanese gaming. Finding out about Vanillaware proved quite tricky, but when viewing the gallery on their website, but it did have me making sure no one was looking over my shoulder as it’s not exactly work-safe.
(DVDfever Ed: It looks like some of the women in the game are dressed similarly to those on a Friday night out in Manchester! 🙂 )
Odin Sphere, as I’ll abbreviate the title for the rest of this review, was originally released as a PS2 game in May 2007 and was received relatively well, especially in Japan where it sold better than expected. The version I am playing is the new HD remake on the PS Vita and I have to say that I love my Vita so this didn’t put me off in any way. I should mention that I never played the original, even though I was a massive PS2 player. I’m a little annoyed at myself that this was a game that I missed.
This is a 2D action RPG where you will play as five different characters. It is single player and has no set online mode. The story is set in a fantasy world where you can level-up and learn new skills. The different stories are set in different areas where they are all filled with more trials and tribulations than the EU referendum. However, you’ll meet the characters in each story and this gives you a good grounding about your own character, and in their story, you’ll keep your same weapon throughout and are not able to upgrade (this annoyed me a little bit). That said, you can learn new skills and set them to your circle button. The only annoying thing about this, is each of the four skills you apply were to the circle button and a different direction – this was quite awkward at times to fully establish which skill you had used.
One of the ways of levelling-up was by planting seeds and eating the foods that flourishes. Another way was by ringing a bell, calling a chef along and having a delicious meal made for you. This is so Japanese and if you, like me, watch a number of anime shows, you will understand that food is often prominent. When I first worked out I had to plant seeds, I have to say I chuckled to myself but a few hours into the game, I actually found it quite cool, surprisingly.
The game isn’t open-world and inbetween skits and story, you have a choice which area you’d like to go to. This reminded me of a dungeon game and I liked that you could revisit areas where you’ve already been, even though it always highlights the area that you *should* be in. Within those areas, there were places to rest, allowing you to buy and sell different wares, as well as ring for that fantastic chef. Each area has a 1-5 scale for difficulty. Even when you play on the hardest levels, I never really felt that this game offers enough challenge.
This is similar to the combat. You can basically get through by button-bashing. Square is your main button and you can mix this with a range of jumps and movements. String together combos and combine these with your abilities learnt through the circle button. However, I wouldn’t say any of these moves particularly add anything to your game. I can’t deny the fighting is fun, but all I really did was smash the square button as much as I could. The missus kept on moaning because, even when I was playing with headphones, she could always hear me repeatedly hitting the same button, and did often question what I was actually up to. Overall, I was very impressed with the story and the gameplay, although there were some areas you would’ve thought they could have improved since the original. The game itself will take around 25 hours to complete and this suited me down to the ground as I get frustrated by games which take too long.
I have to say that I love the way this game looks. The backgrounds are quite basic and, at times, a little repetitive but where it really shows its class is through the character design. Each one has their own unique look. I love the game’s art style and it seems to be a similar style to all the games I have been playing recently, also really making use of a great pallet of different colours. At times, you will see these bright colours pop up on your screen, drawing your attention in all different directions. I know it sounds weird, but I really love the looks of the grapes. Overall, the graphics won’t amaze you but they will entertain.
All that said, the sound offers you nothing new. The voices for the characters are good and they don’t even try to sync the characters’ mouths to what is being said – this works well due to the 2D style. There are a range of different voice actors and they all have a slightly different accent, and all offer something different. The general in-game sounds have no particular originality about them, but they offer you the kind of audio you’re looking for in this type of game. I particularly liked the dwarves you fight in the first story, and their odd noise they make as they chuck a grenade at you. Overall, while it offers nothing new, it doesn’t disappoint.
Simply put, this game is a lot of fun. It is the first PS Vita game to have really pulled me in since Persona 4. The story is fun and will do enough to keep you hooked until you complete it. Yes, it has its weaknesses – one of the main ones being it’s a little too easy and you will ruin your square button, but overall, you’ll have loads of fun and I recommend that you get this on the PS Vita as it lends itself to the console. Will I play through it again? No, probably not, and would I have loved it as much if I had played the original? I don’t know, but if you are like me and you have never entered the world of Odin Sphere, then now is the time to rectify that and pick up this beaut of a game.
Thanks to those Youtube channels featured for the gaming footage.
- Publisher: NIS America
- Players: single player campaign
Directors: Keith Arem and Kevin Patzelt
Producer: Shinichi Suzuki
Writers: Rika Maruya and Shigeto Matsushima (both translation)
Music: Hitoshi Sakimoto
Oswald: Susumu Chiba
Melvin: Shô Hayami
Valentine / Urzur: Shingo Hiramatsu
Elfaria / Odette: Takako Honda
Valkyrie / Elf: Minako Ichiki
Valkyrie / Elf: Hajime Iijima
Milis: Miki Itô
Gwendolyn: Ayako Kawasumi
Valkyrie / Elf: Daisuke Kirii
Alice: Kazuko Kojima
Brom / Krois / King of Titania: Fumio Matsuoka
Meril: Omi Minami
Ingway: Shôtarô Morikubo
Valkyrie / Elf: Eri Nakao
Gallon: Jôji Nakata
Cornelius: Daisuke Namikawa
Matthew / Skulldy: Ikuo Nishikawa
Mercedes: Mamiko Noto
Griselda / Vulcan / Alice’s mother: Sayaka Ohara
Velvet: Miyuki Sawashiro
Onyx: Tomokazu Seki
Odin / Beldor / Wagner: Fumihiko Tachiki
Hindel / Wraith: Norio Wakamoto
Brigan / Belial: Shôzô Îzuka
I have been a video game player since 1993 and a music fan since I can remember. I studied Film and Journalism at university and ended up becoming a Primary School teacher. Video games changed my life and sent me on the right track and have stayed with me ever since.