The original release of Odin Sphere launched late enough into the lifecycle of the PlayStation 2 that many people missed it, I know because I very nearly did too, but as luck would have it I found the last copy of a very limited run in my neighbourhood and the rest was history.
Here we are nine years later and the remastered version of Vanillaware’s brilliant RPG is upon us, welcoming a new generation the chance to experience a gem that didn’t get the chance it deserved the first go around. With Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir, you’re getting one of best remake’s I’ve had the pleasure of playing and a game that’s been refined and tuned to make even the original pale in comparison.
Odin Sphere is a heavily Norse-inspired game; you’ll understand that immediately. The game allows you to play as one of five different characters that each have their own story to tell and their own motivations to express. This was a highlight for me in the original release and was a major selling point, this is still the case today as I love the entire cast for being enjoyable to play as. The way the cast is brought together and utilized is a high point for me allowing for a diverse cast.
Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir is beautiful, there is no doubt about that there. Vanillaware did a stellar job bringing an aged gamed into this generation with full 1080p HD, it’s storybook that has come to life. The art of George Kamitani, president of Vanillaware, and talented genius makes his work pop and bring a sense of life to his creations. Add in a really good dub and voice cast in both English and Japanese, this game has something for everyone.
The controls are just as brilliant as well, getting some tuning and refinement to bring a much more streamlined experience that makes the battles much more intuitive and engaging. The battle system is reminiscent of those old-school brawlers you played as a child with combos that can be used to battle enemies. Here is where you will spend a lot of time in Leifthrasir, learning how to combo enemies and unleashing devastating specials on unsuspecting monsters. The original game had a stamina bar and cool down meter that wouldn’t allow you to attack after a set amount of attacks, leaving you open to attack. No more, though, as the bar is gone and the action is much smoother because of it.
The inventory system has gotten an overhaul too, as in the original Odin Sphere, managing your inventory was a drag and quite tedious. This time, though, your items are managed by tabs that make shifting through your stuff a heck of a lot easier.
I mentioned earlier that you play as a set of five different characters. The approach taken with Odin Sphere works well as you play as Gwendolyn, Mercedes, Cornelius, Oswald and Velvet. Each character in the game has a story to tell and each one of these warriors fit into the bigger picture by interacting with each other, battling against one another, and making their intentions known.
The levels and maps are also a high point for me. There’s treasure to find, loot to take and enemies to eliminate. The only issue is backtracking through the maps as different characters not long after doing so with another protagonist.
Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir is a standard to which more developers should adhere. The developers took their game and not only made it prettier, they made it better by retooling the gameplay systems and updating them to today’s standard. The game plays in such a way that you can’t help but appreciate all the love and thoughtfulness that went into diving back into this world for these developers. The included Classic Mode allows those who didn’t play Odin Sphere the first time a chance to experience the game as it was originally created back on the PlayStation 2, but the refinements that have been brought into their remake are more than enough to let you skip past it and into the new edition. With both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita versions available to gamers around the world, what are you waiting for? At around 40 hours to complete the game you’re not doing yourself any favours by skipping on such a necessary title.