Odin Sphere Leifthrasir is the HD remaster of the classic PS2 game Odin Sphere. Developed by Vanillaware and originally released in May 2007. Odin Sphere takes you to the land of Erion, a mythical land where war will soon be unleashed. Playing as one of the five protagonists, each with there own set of abilities, you’ll fight humans, fairies, and an assortment of other mythical beasts to prevent Armageddon. After nine years does this game still have what it takes and deserve your hard earned cash? After playing the demo I’d say it’s got a great shot. The fighting mechanics are as solid as I remember from the original and man does it look pretty. Join me as I dive deeper into the demo and see what we can hope to expect when the game hits retail.
(This preview is based on the PS4 demo version currently available on the PSN store. Odin Sphere Leifthrasir will also be releasing on PS3 and PS Vita.)
Just like the original , the first thing you’ll notice about Odin Sphere Leifthrasir is how absolutely gorgeous the art style is. Developer Vanillaware (Princess Crown, Dragon’s Crown, Muramasa: The Demon Blade) has never been one to slouch on aesthetics. Odin Sphere’s art style, in full HD, is no exception. The backgrounds are colorful and vibrant, the characters are well designed and detailed, and the animations are rendered beautifully. It’s more like you’re controlling a painting rather than a video game. The only issue I have with this portion of it is the camera seems to be zoomed in just a bit too much. It may just be me, but that’s a gripe I had with the original as well.
Four Brawlers and a Sharpshooter
For those unfamiliar with the original Odin Sphere, the gameplay is very straight forward. It’s your basic hack n’ slash-RPG with four of the main protagonists (the fifth we’ll get to in a bit). Just run around and melee everything that isn’t you and you’ll be fine. You got your power attacks, normal attacks, and potions you can drop to cause damage and you can block while holding the attack button.
Now let’s get to the Fairy Mercedes. She is the only one of the crew that has a different play style. Her Weapon is a crossbow, so she fires projectiles and lacks any melee attacks. This turns the game from a hack n’ slash into basically the best looking/easiest Contra game you’ll ever play. She can also fly so it kinda becomes a side scrolling airplane shoot ’em up too, especially when your fighting other flying fairies. To keep her from being over powered the developers made it so she can only charge her POW Meter when on the ground. Which is how I assume it works for everyone.
Running Around In Circles
The stages aren’t big, but they are circular. Meaning if you got an enemy in front of you and turn around and run for a bit, you’ll end up running into them again on the other side of the screen. So they seem bigger. There’s also a mini map on the top right of the screen that shows where you and enemies are, so, for example, if a boss charges on one side and goes off screen you can track them on the map so they don’t catch you by surprise on the other side.
There’s simple platforming if there’s any, most of the time you’re just running forward, but sometimes you can jump onto higher ground to get into better positions to attack. Each character has a special way to traverse across the stage faster: Velvet can swing, Mercedes can fly, Oswald opens up a portal, ETC. The POW meter is your stamina bar; once that’s empty you need to wait for it to recharge. During the demo play through it was rare for it to get to zero and it only applies to attacking, not movement. HP is health as usual and PP is for your Power/Magic attacks. You can pick up potions and foods that have various effects as you defeat enemies and find loot, or you can buy them from vendors.One thing that was missing from the demo that I remember from the original game was the food/potion crafting system. From what I remember there wasn’t much to it. Just finding ingredients and adding them together to make something better.
It’s been a long time since I’ve played the original Odin Sphere and from the demo it feels like it’s held up very well. I, for one, am very excited for this to come out. I’ve been a fan of the Vanillaware team since Princess Crown and look forward to any game they put out. While I would like a new one (currently there working on 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim) remastering a classic is acceptable until the new one is released. Odin Sphere Leifthrasir releases on retail and digital on June 7 for the PS4, PS3, and PS Vita. If you’re a veteran of the first game or a newcomer and are interested in the game let me know in the comments below and be sure to check out the official game website for more details.