Remakes have been an industry standard of this generation. Some games just get a fresh coat of paint and thrown out to the gaming world, and some get redone from the ground up. Odin Sphere Leifthrasir from Vanillaware spared no punches at relaunching their popular PS2 title. No amount of work was spared to not only polish this game but give it a tighter feel, and some small new additions that make that gives the game a whole new engine rather than a fresh coat of paint. Having played and loved the original I could not resist another chance to see if the game still stacks up for me 9 years later.
First let’s take a look at what Odin Sphere Leifthrasir is: a side scrolling 2D action RPG with fantastic visuals. The world almost looks like a hand painted masterpiece. It tells a narrative of the world through the eyes of 5 important characters as you slowly build towards Armageddon as foretold in old prophecy. Each of the characters are played in a forced order and spanning one massive timeline. As you play each character you come to understand how events of previous characters took place. The game does a good job at letting you know where you are with each character by giving you a visual timeline helping you keep track over the 35-40 hr playthrough. Once you complete the final chapter of the last character all the characters come together in a 5 part story wrapping up the storyline. While it takes some time to get to this part of the game the entire last character arc and final sections make the grind well worth sticking through to the end. Unfortunately the middle of the game tends to drag on a bit as each character takes roughly about 7 hours to complete depending on how fast you are.
Because you have to play as 5 characters in the same timeline you also travel to the same places. Each character has 7 chapters and only 8 places to travel to total. Get used to spamming the same enemies over again but with a new character moveset and special attacks. This is the part that makes it feel like a bit of a chore as you will also fight almost all the same bosses by each character. Even if you fight someone on chapter 1 or chapter 7, it doesn’t really change the journey through the same locations and repeat boss fights. Luckily leveling up your character is easy, as you will become overpowered shortly after breaking in each new character. You do gain experience from beating enemies, however that’s not the true way to level your character. You level up your character by eating, which can be done by planting seeds and using the “Phozons” you collect from enemies to make fruit or animals grow, turning all of your items into culinary dishes at 1 of the 2 rest areas per chapter, or spending the alternate currency you acquire to spend on food dishes before each chapter. By the time you finish the character if you dump all of your time and resources into maximizing XP you should always be well over leveled for each area.
Combat is simple and easy to pick up, each character has an entire different weapon and move sets so it’s refreshing to learn something new. Throughout the game in each chapter you can pick up 3 new special attacks and map them how you choose to 4 auto hotkeys allowing you to chain combos faster than a super ult in Marvel vs Capcom 2. Once you understand your characters movesets juggling enemies is a breeze and racking up a full combo for a battle is as easy as breathing. For those looking for a challenge of replay value there is multiple difficulties, and a NG+ if you want to relive the experience all over again. But I feel the first playthrough will satisfy most people.
In the end if you’re looking for a RPG to snag and you missed Odin Sphere Leifthrasir the first time around, this is a game to keep an eye on. While the middle of the game might drag on and get repetitive, the player is rewarded on the last couple arcs. If anything you can appreciate this game for the visuals that Vanillaware has stood out for in all of their titles. Sticking out til the end isn’t without the long drag of grinding through the same stuff for the first 30-35hrs, but worth the journey before the ending credits roll.
I give Odin Sphere Leifthrasir a 7.5 out of 10.