Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Odin's Sphere Leifthrasir Review

Odin Sphere, Muramasa: The Demon Blade and Dragon's Crown are sort of a trinity of Vanillaware games people actually care about.  All three use George Kamitami's fantastic artwork and tell classical stories using certain mythological inspirations.  Among the trinity, I've always considered Odin Sphere to be the best one overall, even after playing Muramasa, a faster-paced game on a stronger system.

I got the original Odin's Sphere on a whim.  I was at Gamestop to buy a copy of The King of Fighters 11 and 13, but since there was a buy 2 get 1 free sale on used games I also got Odin Sphere, which I remember being referenced in Nintendo Power as one of the Muramasa creator's previous games.  Essentially I walked out of a store with the two greatest fighting games ever made and a decent action game.

There was a lot to like in Odin Sphere, but technological restraints of the time weighed it down a bit.  It could get too unforgiving, loading times for the pretty graphics added up, some of the enemies required exploiting some kind of arbitrary flow-breaking weakness and the final part of the game, without spoiling anything, is bullshit at worst and vague at best.

I beat it, but never got the best ending, as that required doing repeating a certain set of missions, refilling the success-critical items for each time and having to wait through several loading times.  If it weren't for all the little problems Odin Sphere had I would've finished it fully.

Even with those gripes it's still my favorite Vanillaware game thanks to its story, a classical mythological tale of dueling kingdoms, dragons, forbidden magic and the underworld told across five different characters with their own play styles.  With the wrinkles ironed out it could almost be considered a masterpiece.

Lo and behold, Vanillaware promised to make it the fantastic game it could be with Odin Sphere Leifthrasir, an HD update to the game for the PS3, PS4 and Vita.  With my fond memories driving me, I got the Vita version, because with Muramasa Rebirth and Dragon's Crown on there, why not complete the set?