Review by earvcunanan
"The glory of 2-D gaming returns with Odin Sphere."
Ah, remember the 16 bit era? When 2-D games were the talk among many gamers? Mega Man, Mario, Castlevania, Metroid, etc. all started out in 2-D. Now, they've strayed away from 2-D and gone into 3-D to further enhance the experience. No one wants to play 2-D games any more, right? Wrong! With Odin Sphere, re-live the classic of 2-D gaming. Is this the second coming of a Castlevania: Symphony of the Night?!
The game takes place in a fantasy world based on Norse Mythology. The story is anything but cliche. It's a story that revolves around a war between several kingdoms and you get to see it unfold with the perspective of five playable characters. You start out as playing a Valkyrie named Gwendolyn, the daughter of a king named Odin. As you progress, you unlock different characters to play as and guiding them through the story through their perspective of what's going on. The story is engaging, convincing, and very compelling. It's all played out well with outstanding voice-acting. Speaking of voice-acting, you can choose between Japanese voice-acting or English. Both are top-notch and should be experienced.
This is where the fun is at. Think of Castlevania without the platforming, but with more substance. You can chain together combos, use magic attacks, absorb 'Phozons', etc. Phozons are considered the 'souls' of fallen enemies. You absorb them by holding down R1 and this is how you level up your weapons or 'Psypher'. You can also jump and attack in mid-air. The five playable characters each have their own unique ability that can be used in battle. The leveling up in Odin Sphere is quite unique. You don't gain experience, rather, you level up your Psypher level as well as your HP level. You raise your HP by eating nutritious food. You raise your Psypher level by absorbing Phozons. This affects your strength. Overall, the game-play is very fun and addicting, even if there are some noticeable frame-rate issues. This shouldn't deter your enjoyment of the game though.
One word: ASTONISHING! The art-work is remarkably sharp and the colors are so vibrant. For a 2-D game, this is quite an achievement. The character animations are really good, but again, the frame-rate issues may make the animations look rather stiff. All is well though since the beautiful presentation of Odin Sphere negates all of the slowdowns.
Odin Sphere is a gem that shouldn't be missed by fans of 2-D gaming. Re-live what it means to game in 2-D because you don't get many games like this during the "next-gen" era. Everything you could ever ask for in a 2-D game is packaged in Odin Sphere; brilliant orchestra; lush and beautiful art-work; top-notch voice-acting presentation; addicting game-play; memorable characters. The glory of 2-D gaming returns with Odin Sphere.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 05/29/07
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