Odin Sphere (PlayStation 2) review
"Gorgeously designed game which balances itself out with a tremendous difficulty level"
The world of Odin Sphere is quite gorgeous and magnificent to look at. Everything here simply pushes the boundaries of the PS2 to its full potential which makes you realize just how much power the system had during its existence in the market. Indeed, Odin Sphere is quite a treasure to own and to play, but one that also holds such a huge challenge that rivals said gorgeous visuals.
Just like a Venus flytrap plant which allures insects into its hungry maw, Odin Sphere attracts gamers with such rich graphical design and then they get lost into its unforgiving level of difficulty, which increases quite drastically from one stage to the next.
Gaining the means to purchase auxiliary items and the like is quite a chore, you earn almost nothing in terms of monetary reward from defeating enemies, and even any items you sell to greedy peddlers get you just enough to obtain health restoring items, much less artifacts that increase your power and defense, something that is direly needed when confronting a highly difficult section of the quest. You can visit recently conquered areas sure, but patience would be about the only key to insure getting enough to survive new areas ahead.
The game is divided in several stories as you play different characters, each having his or her part within its lore. The setting being a fantasy land overrun with never ending war between factions, and the heroes who fight for what they believe is right until they all join for a common cause and the reason behind all the wars therein. As you progress with various characters, you experience the story from their own point of view. All of these stories are read from the perspective of a young girl who picks up a book to start the story and begin your game, a concept the likes of SEGA’s Shining Force did with their elf character Simone.
The audio matches its visuals with such enchanting and captivating soundtrack. It’s enough to stop your ire at dying at the same spot for the umpteenth time even. I personally haven't felt so mesmerized by such visuals since I first tried Legend of Mana on PSX and Seiken Densetsu 3 on Super Famicom.
The play mechanics include various attacks done with a combination of d-pad and the attack button, as well as conjuring special abilities by using photon energy which serves as mana on this game. You would be careful not to attack relentlessly as it drains your stamina which leaves the hero characters dizzy and defenseless for a while. Each battle scene runs in a tight circle, never allowing going too far from battle and catching up to the enemy on the other side. Boss battles are gargantuan as they are epic, and are not very easy to beat, which makes your victory a whole lot sweeter when achieving a grade higher than most you receive in completed battles.
Whenever you are defeated, the stage resets and you begin once more at the beginning of the battle with your HP and items intact. You could from that point decide to either starts all over again from the beginning of the quest or simply opt out and go back to the hub of the current character's home, devoid of items and currency earned. You do have the option to save on each battle segment however, leaving you with an open-ended option of how to progress the game.
Odin Sphere is quite a gem to own as with many PS2 titles that are rich in graphical and audio design, along with having a great deal of replay value and play mechanics, if only because its jarring difficulty often leaves you with a bitter sweet sense of accomplishment. Still, should you manage to obtain a copy you will definitely never regret on collecting it overall.
Community review by CptRetroBlue (January 26, 2019)
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