Review by wolverinefan
"An endless cycle of the mundane"
Odin Sphere was hailed as a master piece months before it was even released. Even after being released the critics really seemed to love the game. I had bought my copy on release day because it's an Atlus game so it's likely to become rare. However it's been a number of months and the game can be found everywhere. Looks like Atlus had too high of hopes for this game. Was it worth the praise?
Odin Sphere starts as a young girl enters her grandfather's attic and picks up a book. The book tales the tale of a Valkyrie. I don't want to go any further with the plot but it involves 4 plot lines and then a big finale. The game also features multiple endings and paths. However I never felt a connection with the characters and I found the ending I got to be rather lackluster.
Beauty has a new name and it's Odin Sphere. You will never again see graphics that are this beautiful. Big and bold 2d sprites that ooze not only with color but with detail that is just amazing. One of my favorite moments is near the end and there is this three headed dog, it's just flat out amazing. And with the amazing graphics comes a few problems. The level design is some of the worst that I have ever seen. Bland and lifeless and it's amazing because rest of the game looks so good. Another problem is that when too many things appear on screen the game tends to lag. It isn't too horrible early on but as you advance it gets much worse.
This release was being worked on at the same time as the original Japanese release. About a week difference in release dates was it was. It's a very rare circumstance but it allowed them to feature both English and Japanese in both versions. I played the game with the English cast on and it ranged from okay to god awful. I hear the Japanese voice work is much better. Music felt halfhearted and did nothing for me. It was a rather generic fantasy mix. The sound effects are decent with roars and splashes but again it didn't leave any sort of impression.
Control in the game is also very simple. You can jump and you have one attack button. Just keep tapping that one button to pull off combos. It's very bland. You hit circle to open your items menu and that allows you to mix and match items. Holding R1 allows you to acquire souls, think Onimusha if you've played it. Very simple and easy to get the hang of but it also has no depth to it.
Odin Sphere has an interesting idea behind it. It has its stories split up into chapters. Most parts of the chapters are just story bits with one part being a collection of action moments.
The game play itself takes place on a circle field. You just keep running in a loop and you need to kill all enemies to activate the exit. Now there can be multiple exits in a level and as you advance you'll get a map. The map shows what circles are boss levels or what not. Purple B's represent the chapter's final boss.
The game play itself just has you jumping around and hitting the enemies. You also have a special attack that gets stronger with the amount of spirits you suck up.
An interesting thing is that the game offers a little alchemy like thing. Combining items together gets you better times. You can also use seeds to grow them to get items as well. You'll need to do that in the heat of combat too as you can only hold so many items and it's way too easy to fill your inventory up.
I guess on one level you could say the game is deep with the need to grow items in the insane combat moments but to be honest the game is way too shallow for me to get any enjoyment out of it.
Running in a circle and advancing to a new circle that looks exactly the same just doesn't do anything for me. The one button attack system also makes it bland as it turns into a giant button mashing mess.
The game isn't overly long but it offers a lot of characters to play as. The problem is that their levels are exactly the same. What's the point of that if you need to do all of them anyway to get the real ending? It's rather lame. The game does feature a number of documents to find though so I guess that could add to the game as well as the multiple endings.
Odin Sphere is my biggest let down of 2007. While it looks amazing, it did nothing else to interest me. It's one of those games that made me realize I need to spend my money more wisely and just because a game might become rare is no reason to rush out and get it.
Story - 7/10
Graphics - 10/10
Sound - 6/10
Control - 8/10
Game Play - 4/10
Replay value - 5/10
Final Score - 5/10
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 09/20/07
Game Release: Odin Sphere (US, 05/22/07)
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