Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir – game review.

We are all fed up with reheated chops. From time to time, however, there is a gem where developers wanted to do something more than just pull the visual side to a higher resolution. Vanillaware studio gives an example of what refreshed versions of games should look like.

Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir – game review

I refuse to call Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir a remaster. To be fair, this title should be considered more in terms of a remake. The developers from Vanillaware set the standards for what refreshed versions of games should look like. Not only the beautiful graphics have been turned up to 1080p, but also almost every element of the game has been thoroughly improved. The mechanics have been improved so that I will probably never play the original again, because it seems lame to me now.

Five fairy tales, one story

Odin Sphere is a fairy tale about the fate of five heroes whose stories are intertwined. We have a princess looking for love, a lost knight who signed a pact with the queen of the undead, a sorceress who survived the fall of her own kingdom, an unhappily in love prince of the rabbit race Pooka, and a fairy who is to inherit the kingdom from a tragically deceased mother. All these stories resemble children’s fairy taleswhich, despite their superficial lightness, were lined with many tragedies and dark twists. However, this does not mean that Odin Sphere is a hard story. On the contrary. It just has a certain depth buried under a great deal of magic and charm that cannot be seen at first glance. But believe it, it is there and just waiting to be discovered.

Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir – game review

The five characters are also linked by the general theme of the end of the world foretold for a long time, and the writers clearly draw inspiration from Norse mythology, as evidenced even by the title of the game. To add notes of sweetness, we get to know the scenario from the perspective of a little girl who reads books in the bookcase in the attic.

Automatic RPG

In terms of gameplay, the Vanillaware game is a specific mix of beat ’em up with a whole lot of complex mechanisms typical for RPG productions. The developers have clearly spread their wings since the original premiere of the game and, as I wrote in the introduction, they kicked out what did not work and improved all the not-so-comfortable elements. However, if you don’t like the new system, don’t worry, Leifthrasir also offers the possibility to play the original version of Odin Sphere.

Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir – game review

The most visible change is the dynamics of the fight. In the original, it was terribly inconvenient to open the skill menu to use skills or magical abilities. In the remake, we have the option of connecting each skill to key combinations, such as quarters and halves. Street Fighter fans will surely enjoy it. The difference is huge. All battles now keep pace at high speed and end in less than a minute, which makes the need for grinding much easier. Also, normal strikes no longer damage the POW (stamina) bar.

Man actually starts to feel like he’s playing a walking brawl, not a sluggish mix of the two genres. During the fight, we juggler, dash and dodge like Bayonetta. Dodges, by the way, allow us to additionally interrupt our attacks. The fast-paced gameplay also helps distinguish between heroes whose drastically different abilities shine in such dynamic combat. For example, the fairy Mercedes with her crossbow almost turns the game into a shooter.

Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir – game review

The depth of statistics

While traveling the world, we collect the so-called Phozons, or diamonds that usually appear after someone’s death. We absorb them from special butterflies and plants. We can invest them in skills or support the growth of trees we plant with them. We do this in order to obtain fruit that we can eat or give to a traveling cook in return for a dish. In Odin Sphere, our character levels up the fastest by eating, so it is one of the most important gameplay mechanics. We will eat constantly, also in restaurants where we will issue a special currency. It is worth mentioning, however, that in the original game, we also used Phozons to increase the level of the Psyphers from which the heroes’ weapons are made. This the system completely fell out of Leifthrasir, so we can focus on leveling the hero we lead.

“Deep mechanical changes mean that while playing Leifthrasir we feel like we are taking part in a completely different adventure”

But that’s not all. You can get completely lost in the mechanisms governing Odin Sphere. Skills and perks are unlocked with completely different “resources”, we have alchemy that allows us to create healing drinks and offensive potions, and we will spend a lot of time managing the equipment. Leifthrasir is a game that is very extensive for RPG fans and at the same time provides us with fast and dynamic action.

The cutlet was prepared again

All bars visible on the screen have also been completely refreshed to improve the readability of necessary information. The inventory window has also been completely rebuilt. Now we can move through all the items arranged in convenient categories in the form of a circle or switch to a more traditional net. Both are very practical and which view we will use depends only on our personal preferences.

Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir – game review

Graphically, Odin Sphere is an absolute mastery. Of course, as long as we like the specific style of George Kamitani’s drawing. However, it is impossible to underestimate the craftsmanship with which he creates lines and the unusually expressive colors of the world. The game looks even better on a wide screen and with a picture slightly away from the original. The biggest problem with the PS2 version was the drastic drop in frames per second. Here we will not encounter it even once and we can count on absolutely smooth gameplay.

If you are afraid that you will repeat exactly the same game, I am happy to inform you that not entirely. The plot is an old story, but even the lands we know have received new bosses and locations for variety. Deep mechanical changes mean that while playing Leifthrasir, we feel as if we were taking part in a completely different adventure, only based on the old scenario. Additional game modes are also waiting for the most persistent players.

Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir should be an example for developers. This is how you create new versions of old productions. It’s not enough to pull up the graphics. The creators need to sit down at the table and think about what worked in the original and what should be thrown out of the game completely or changed drastically. Personally, after playing the remake, I really can’t play with the original anymore. This means that the Vanillaware studio has successfully “outdone itself”.

Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir – game review