Review: Odin Sphere

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Nowadays, gamers are going gaga over high definition 3D graphics and I admit that I consider myself one of those gamers. However, once in a blue moon, a 2D game like Odin Sphere will make you detest such games and criticizes their shallowness. I personally believe that Odin Sphere is one of the last and finest gems of PS2 library released this year and one of the best modern 2D RPG games of all time. The appreciation literally starts from the game’s title/load screen and grows gradually as you progress this epic game.

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The story of this fantasy action 2D RPG game strays away from the cliché game script that we are used to; it is very compelling from many levels and layers as you unravel the story’s pages through 5 different characters’ point of view. However as you progress, you will come to attach to the characters’ personal agenda rather than the whole story itself and the wealthy amount of minor characters are certainly mind blowing. The dialogue is literally poetic; it reminisces the works of Shakespeare’s in some level as if you are watching a dramatic play. In fact, the game considers itself as a play, because the game is divided into many scenes and chapters.

The gameplay is a whole other world altogether. As complex as the potions can become, or as accessible as the combat remains, the gameplay is thoroughly enjoyable and balanced throughout the game’s length. Characters simply battle enemies in a stage, mapped out on a world that can be viewed as a whole by the R1 button. The game revolves around Phozons, as they are the substance you will absorb to use magic attacks, or the aforementioned Phozon skills. As each character levels up physically by eating and participating in combat, their Phozon skills will level up separately –gradually unlocking new powers, which require a certain level of Phozons to use per skill. These may range from a simple wind Cyclone to more powerful attacks involving direct use of the Phozons to inflict massive damage to surrounding enemies. The story moves through by traveling through stages in a featured world, where the individual stages make up the actual world. The world may feature several mini-bosses and several different routes to take to reach the final one, including some spots that are only shops; thus creating a challenge until you find a safe place to restore your health more thoroughly and manage your status. However, the repetitive system might get boring but soon the feeling will be diminished when you switch to another character and a new side story.

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The game also surprises us with an epic and impressive soundtrack; the music is fully orchestrated and provokes many ranges of emotions that are dependable on the situation, from the engaging battle themes to tunes full of sorrow and despair. The game also provides the player the opportunity to switch between the English/Japanese voice-overs but my advice is to stick with the English performances because it is stronger and suitable for this type of videogame genre. The graphics and visuals are strikingly beautiful where unbelievable amount of time was put into every animation and color, and the backgrounds are an art piece literally. Unfortunately, the large sprites in Odin Sphere come at a price to the aging Playstation 2’s hardware. Slowdown becomes an issue in the larger boss fights and even in standard stages where there is a heavy amount of onscreen action but nevertheless are not troublesome. The game other flaws include the difficulty level as sometimes it gets insanely hard if you are not fully prepared and the stiffness of the control that makes escaping from a threatening situation quite impossible sometimes.

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Odin Sphere is masterpiece from the ground up, its breathtaking visuals, the heart-warming soundtrack, and the compelling storyline makes it a fine piece to obtain. It is definitely a must pick for RPG fans and 2D adventurers. As long you can withstand its difficulty and stiff controls, the game will provide you more than 40 hours of cheer enjoyment of 2D action RPG, a worthy purchase indeed.

Overall Score
9.2
out of 10

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Wow! I love the graphics! I’m composing a game list! This is going on it!

    Reply

  2. @N.

    I hope you enjoy the game as much as I did…just be patient with the difficulty and the stiff controls and you will have an awesome time.

    Reply

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