Jun 302016
 

Status: Platinum trophy

Most Intriguing Idea: You are what you eat

Best Design Decision: Maury’s touring restaurant

Worst Design Decision: New game+ mode

Summary:

I loved many things about the original Odin Sphere, and also disliked a few things about it. The remake, Odin Sphere Leifthrasir, largely preserves the things I liked and gets rid of the things I didn’t (primarily framerate crashes and absurdly long loads), and on that basis I can certainly recommend it. This is one of the greatest 2D JRPGs ever made, its story is strong, and its art and music are incredible. Everything about it holds up 8 years later.

Of the many new accommodations, the best is Maury’s restaurant, a way to avoid having to visit the Pooka Village to eat advanced dishes. The simpler inventory management runs a close second. I also felt it was a lot easier to cancel out of combos and special attacks in the update, which I certainly appreciated. The wizard enemies are also less annoying in this iteration than I remember in the original, where I often had to run through levels repeatedly to hunt them down. The choice to allow a player to make alchemy mixes before the recipes have been found is also a great change.

I don’t love everything that was changed. The addition of rectangular zones to the game’s levels doesn’t, I think, add any particular cohesiveness to the level architecture. All things being equal, I preferred the symbolism of a world made of rings even if the level arrangements were slightly awkward as a result. I also don’t care for the New Game + option here (I can’t remember if it existed in the original game), if only because it doesn’t quite adjust to the need for better ingredients in order to allow any kind of realistic leveling in early chapters. It’s kind of neat to get a chance to max out skills, but otherwise the NG+ doesn’t add enough to really justify itself.

However, the fact remains that Odin Sphere is one of the best, most beautiful action RPGs ever made, and the reissue is almost entirely an improvement on the original.

Verdict: Strongly Recommended

  One Response to “Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir”

  1. I’m playing on hard difficulty and I’m staggered how perfect the difficulty balancing is for a just above average gamer like myself. Its perfect for me, and it feels like as if I was the only tester on this game during development
    The original game was too easy on normal and too difficult on hard. But with Leifthrasir in the early levels – I’m 15 hours in – it has low level enemies that get you comfortable with your skills, mini bosses that take one or two goes to pass, and then the end of level bosses where you need the right choice of potions, enough reserves, working on freeing up space to heal up, learning boss attacks and then executing well. Usually takes me on average 3 or 4 attempts.
    I can’t believe 15 hours then it’s been constantly at a pitch perfect difficulty level. Even when I’ve gone back once or twice is to previous levels and crushing all before me, when you get back to the main progression that advantages does not last too long.

    I thought the original was okay, but I am loving this so far. I think the technical issues blinded me to this games good overall design.

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