Odin Sphere Leifthrasir Review: Making a Good Game Great
Odin Sphere Lefithrasir
Platforms: PS Vita/PS4/PS3
Publisher: Atlus USA
Thank you Atlus for providing a review copy.
Odin Sphere Leifthrasir is a remaster of the classic PS2 game, Odin Sphere. Odin Sphere is about an ongoing war in the fantastical world of Erion and how this world will soon come to an end due to an old prophecy.
When you start the game, you’re a little girl in an attic with nothing but a cat walking around, a book lying on the ground, some books on the bookshelf to the left, and a chair to sit in on the right. Sitting in the chair with the cat won’t immediately do anything for you as Socrates (the cat) is meant to be a device in which you can play back scenes that happen in the books. By doing this you ultimately get to see the game’s timeline as it’s not given to you in a linear manner. The books on the bookshelf serve as the game’s lore text space. Here you can read all of the scrolls you find in the game. These may be about the prophecy itself, alchemy, food recipes and so on. The big meat of the game here are the books that will be scattered across the floor as you progress through the game.
You see, Erion’s war is told across five different perspectives with each book focusing on a character’s perspective of it. Meaning, the hero in one book might be a villain in another, or something that you might not understand might be explained in a different book. Each book is seven chapters long with it taking roughly five to seven hours to go through them in their entirety. The level maps are pretty simple to navigate as it’s all in a flat 2D plane, and, when you look at a map, battle specified zones are circular with passageways being rectangular.
Each hero/heroine plays completely different with their own set of special moves and skills. Battles may feel a little slow at the start of each book since each character starts off at level one with little to no specials to speak of. But, once the ball gets rolling, you will become a combo master where pulling off combo chains in the hundreds on bosses is fairly easy. These special moves aren’t unlocked by leveling up mind you, but are awarded from certain battles as well as searching for unique chests on maps. It should be noted that the game isn’t quite the same as the one you may remember. While the base is the same, it has changed drastically. Gone is the POW meter that drained away while you were attacking and defending, gone are the independent level up systems and gone is the simplistic combo system. Say hello to: the new POW that only drain when special attacks are used, the fact that EVERYONE can guard (paired with the newly added sidestep mechanic) with its own guard meter, the Psyhere grid which you can use to level up all of the special attacks you love to use, and, most importantly, the much, much faster combat and combo strings.
Food plays a big role in Odin Sphere, it’s one of the fastest ways to gain experience points. The big change to food is just how easy it is to obtain. Before, you had to plant your seeds in the beginning of the battle and hope said battle would bring along enough Photons for your seeds to grow. In the remaster, you actually store Photons so spending them just becomes a balancing act of either wanting to upgrade a certain skill or growing some crops. Eating also provides you an +HP max bonus so the more you eat, the more HP you will have overall. These aren’t the only differences, however, as now there is a traveling restaurant in the resting areas of levels. In order to eat at this restaurant, you must give the chef recipes as well as the ingredients for said recipe (note that you have to give the ingredients each time you want to eat it) and the more he cooks, the more he will make new dishes which, in turn, will provide even more EXP and +HP MAX bonuses. To go even further, eating here provides you with an EXP bonus out the gate up to the third time you’ve eaten the same dish, after that it will provide just the normal EXP gain.
All of these changes are great on paper, however, in execution it just doesn’t work. As someone who enjoys this fast paced almost berserker type of play-style, there is no risk vs reward that says I shouldn’t do anything but that. Sure, there have been times where I’ve died, but there was no time where I was just right off the bat defeated. What was once a slow – almost methodical game is a game so fast that the AI can barely keep up, and the main enemies that can keep up are bosses since they have so much heath with low chance of being staggered. That said, Leifthrasir is actually split into two modes when you boot up the game. One is “Refined” mode and the other is “Classic” mode. Refined is referring to the Leifthrasir portion of the game and classic is the original PS2 version of the game so if you don’t like all of these new additions, you aren’t out of luck.
While my only main gripe with the game is that it’s too easy, there is a much harder mode available after you’ve beaten it if you want to go through it again. Other than that, the frames can get pretty wild when you’re in a dark area in the Neatherworlds. Otherwise, the game is nothing but absolutely fantastic and deserves to be played through once more.
+Great updates to an already great game
-Game is easy to cheese