Review by Bravefan
Since video games have leapt into the realm of 3-D, there seems to be little place for games set in a two dimensional world. Of course classics like Contra and Mario will always have a special place in our hearts, but new games should use the latest graphics technology to stun gamers visually, right? Obviously no one told that to the developers of Odin Sphere, and it's a good thing, too. Odin Sphere is one of the most stunningly beautiful games I've ever laid eyes on. But, more on that in a minute. Let's get to the review.
Gameplay: 9 - Regardless of how beautiful a game is, if it's not fun to play, who cares what's on the screen. Fortunately, Odin Sphere delivers in a big way. The combat system is pretty basic and easy to learn. Square attacks enemies in front of your character while repeatedly pressing the button does combos. X Jumps, Circle brings up the item menu, and Triangle brings up your Psypher menu. Psyphers are magic spells that can be used for offensive and defensive purposes. After defeating an enemy or meeting other requirements, you can absorb Phozons which will refill your Psypher meter, allowing you to continue casting spells, as well as increase your experience points. While the game may seem to be a button masher, there are tactics involved necessary to keep your character from winding up defeated. The power meter, a meter that goes down after attacking, requires players to monitor their attacks. Recklessly swinging your weapon hoping to hit an enemy won't work. If your power meter goes down all the way, your character will become temporarily stunned. Wait a moment, and the power meter will refill itself. The only issue with the gameplay was a tiny, and I do mean, tiny bit of lag. This has been blown vastly out of proportion, though, and should not stop you from enjoying the game.
Concepts: 9 - In all RPG's, there's got to be something that is unique that separates it from all other games. In this case, Odin Sphere again comes up with exactly what an RPG fan would want. The levels in Odin Sphere are completely circular, meaning if you go so far to the left or right, you will end up back where you started. This concept allows for some neat variations in combat. For example, if a boss is giving your trouble, run around the stage and you may just find yourself standing behind him, away from his attacks. Another unique concept in Odin Sphere is the creation of items. Liquids known as materials will periodically be dropped by enemies or found as a reward for completing a stage. These materials can be combined with other items or other materials to create more valuable items and also release Phozons. In all, the unique features that separate Odin Sphere from other RPG's makes it very enjoyable to play.
Graphics: 10 - While gameplay is makes a game good, aspects of a game, such as its graphics, can take a good game and make it great. In the case of Odin Sphere, it takes a solid game, and makes it superb. Literally every, single background in Odin Sphere is hand painted. The attention to detail is impeccable. The characters are very well designed, with nice animations and meticulous attention paid to the characters' clothing. The stages are as close to perfect as is humanly possible to create. From the moment the game enters your Playstation 2, a torrent of color bombards you. Players may find themselves staring at the backgrounds and other artwork in the game, rather than actually playing it. The use of color is very reminiscent of games such as Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean or Okami. Both of those games also stunned gamers with a sea of colors, making every scene gorgeous. Odin Sphere is as, if not more, graphically stunning than either of those games.
Sound: 10 - The sound is a perfect compliment to the graphics. With the choice of voice acting in English or Japanese, Odin Sphere serves all types of gamers. The sounds of battle are very solid. Every character in the game, including merchants, actually says their lines, as opposed to a text box just popping up for you to read. In all, the perfect compliment to a visual masterpiece.
Buy or Rent: For any fan of RPG's, or for anyone who just loves to look at beautiful art, Odin Sphere is a must buy. With stunning visuals and highly enjoyable gameplay, there is no reason anyone should pass up this game.
Overall: With my rating system, Gameplay accounts for 40% of the score, Concepts for 10%, and Graphics and Sound each account for 25%. So, that means Odin Sphere gets a 9.6 rounded up to 10.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 06/01/07
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