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Home » Odin Sphere Leifthrasir — Game Review

Odin Sphere Leifthrasir — Game Review

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Odin Sphere Leifthrasir is an exceptional remake of the original PlayStation 2 game released in 2007, simply titled Odin Sphere. As fans of Vanillaware are well aware, the studio consistently delivers games of artistic excellence, and Odin Sphere Leifthrasir is no exception.

From the awe-inspiring backgrounds and beautifully designed characters to the seamless animation and engaging gameplay, the game lives up to the high standards set by previous Vanillaware titles such as Oboro Muramasa Rebirth and Dragon’s Crown. If you’ve experienced these games, you already have an idea of the level of quality and craftsmanship you can expect from Odin Sphere Leifthrasir.

The game begins with a series of captivating cutscenes that delve into the history of the Cauldron ownership and the significance of the Titrel ring, which sparked a war across the land of Erion. We witness Gwyndolyn, who learns of her sister’s untimely demise. Following the introduction, we are introduced to a charming young girl named Alice and her feline companion, Socrates. Seeking adventure beyond the confines of her room, Alice ventures into the attic, where she stumbles upon a collection of books that hold the key to this extraordinary tale.

The story unfolds through these books, each representing a different character’s journey. We begin with Book 1: Valkyrie, which follows Gwyndolyn’s story, followed by Book 2: The Pooka Prince, focusing on Cornelius. Mercedes takes the spotlight in Book 3: Fairy Land, while Oswald’s story unfolds in Book 4: The Black Sword. Velvet’s tale is unveiled in Book 5: Fate, leading us to the climactic Book 6: Armageddon. Finally, we reach Book 7: Wheel of Fate, which offers the game’s highly anticipated epilogue and true ending, providing a satisfying conclusion to this captivating narrative.

Close combat / Dagger combat is my weakest point in this game

I have fond memories of playing the PS2 version of the game on an emulator, possibly PCSX2, alongside my friend a few years ago. Back then, I wasn’t aware of this title’s existence upon its original release, mainly because my older brother wasn’t fond of 2D platform games, as the trend leaned heavily towards non-block type 3D games. However, despite the passage of time, certain standout moments remain etched in my mind, including the impactful scene of Mercedes’ demise, the delightful cooking by Maury, and the intricacies of the game’s inventory system.

Years later, I decided to buy Leifthrasir last year to allow my friend to play it. We would take turns with the controllers, especially during challenging battle stages. Our initial goal was to complete Mercedes’ storybook, but due to some personal circumstances, I ended up taking charge and completing the entire game myself.

As I immersed myself in this gem, I was truly captivated by the animation quality. The fluidity of sprite movements was impressive, although I did notice a slight lag when certain spells were activated. Notably, the spell “Blaze” tended to cause this lag, especially when used excessively throughout the stage.

Each of the five protagonists is armed with different fighting styles and levels of combo linking:

  • Gwyndolyn is a well-rounded character who fights using the Psypher Spear, with combos utilizing Ice elemental spells to slow down opponents.
  • Cornelius is a light and fast-moving character with his Psypher Sword, making spin combos with the aid of his Lightning spells to land consecutive hits on enemies.
  • Mercedes is a flying projectile-oriented character, she lacks elemental spells, thus focusing more on combat skills and her Unlimited Ammo skill can help a long way in defeating bosses, albeit slowly.
  • Oswald plays akin to Cornelius and Mercedes. Armed with his Psypher Belderiver, he is also a fast-moving character and while he lacks elemental spells, his Berserk mode doubles the damage output on any skills and spells when activated.
  • Lastly, Velvet is also a well-rounded character with her Psypher Graveryl, and unlike Gwyndolyn she makes use of mid-range attacks, and a passive skill to extend her combos, therefore inducing more damage.
Odin Sphere Leifthrasir, Where remastering was done right with Vanillaware and Atlus.

While the core game mechanics remain largely unchanged from the original, Odin Sphere Leifthrasir includes several small improvements to enhance the gameplay experience and graphics. One notable improvement is the ability to select items from the inventory without leaving your hero vulnerable to enemy attacks. Unlike the original version, you can now pause the game while managing your inventory, ensuring a safer and more convenient process. However, consuming food or drinks still requires a brief moment due to the accompanying animation.

Combat against enemies has also changed in this installment. As you progress through the game, you’ll notice that opponents level up alongside you, presenting a greater challenge. Additionally, a new feature introduced in Leifthrasir is the traditional ‘Boss Rush’ mode, where players face a series of boss battles in a challenging marathon-style format. To succeed in this mode, it’s crucial to stock up on potions, food, and fruits to replenish your health and maintain stamina.

From a graphical perspective, Odin Sphere Leifthrasir excels in its art direction. The overall stage design is visually stunning, particularly when playing the game on an HD or 4K TV. The attention to detail and aesthetics contribute to an immersive and visually appealing experience throughout the game.

Grinding recipes, coins, and food through grinding continues to play a vital role in the game, as enemies and boss battles can prove exceptionally challenging for ill-prepared players, particularly in the demanding 5★ stages. Despite the difficulties that arise, Odin Sphere Leifthrasir remains an enjoyable experience. Strategically allocating points in your Skill Tree can provide significant assistance in overcoming tough stages. I prioritize Passive skills over Active ones, as it can be easy to lose track of spells and skills amidst intense combat. By focusing on Passive skills, I can enhance my character’s overall abilities and maintain a steady advantage in battle.

Upon completing the game, players are treated to a delightful Gallery section, showcasing a collection of sketches and art concepts for Odin Sphere Leifthrasir. The attention to detail and creativity displayed in these artworks is truly commendable.

Notably, some of these pieces are so visually appealing that they can even be set as a PSN profile banner, adding a touch of personalization to your gaming experience. Exploring the Gallery section made me regret not purchasing the Artbook that was exclusively available in the Limited Edition box. Having a physical copy of the artwork would have been a cherished addition to my collection.

To wrap up Odin Sphere Leifthrasir

Overall, Odin Sphere Leifthrasir is a masterful action RPG that effortlessly blends stunning visuals with responsive controls and smooth gameplay. It is a highly recommended game for players who are not deterred by the need for a bit of dedicated grinding. While the game follows its predecessor in terms of story, visuals, and mechanics, Vanillaware’s meticulous tweaking elevates the overall experience to new heights of enjoyment.

And let’s not forget to mention the game’s jaw-droppingly beautiful graphics, which add an extra layer of aesthetic pleasure to the already captivating gameplay!