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Odin Sphere

Developer: Vanilla Ware | Publisher: Atlus
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 05/22/07 | Genre: Action/RPG

odinsphere.jpgOdin Sphere is the latest title from Atlus for the PlayStation 2. Despite the fact that the next-generation consoles are here, Japanese RPG Developers continue to create their titles for the console with the largest installed base--the PS2. Although the PlayStation 3 cries out for a good, new traditional Japanese Role Playing experience, players will have to be content to pop the disk into their PS3 and play with a picture upscaled to 1080p. But is Odin Sphere even worth sliding into your console?

As Odin Sphere begins, you will see incredibly large characters on the screen. The characters are so large, it feels like you may have hit the Zoom button on your TV remote. As you stare at the characters, you will see largely detailed figures with great animations. The environments, on the other hand, are very static and boring. But to its credit, Odin Sphere never does slow down--even with huge bosses and large multitudes of enemies that fill the screen.

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Odin Sphere plays out in a child's book in a series of different chapters. Each section of the game world is on a 2D plane. However, unlike most 2D games where the character goes to the left or right side of the screen, Odin Sphere makes the formula seem a bit different by adding in a circular map. As the player moves left or right, they will see a map below that they are racing around. While this is no different than if the map was flat, it does make you feel like you are running in circles.

The gampelay is a pure button masher at heart. Our hero can wield their weapon, cast magic, or utilize a variety of items in their inventory. Enemies are defeated by attacking them until their health bar depletes. When you have cleared the circular map of all the enemies, players exit the screen in one of several different exits. At times there are but one exit and other times you have a choice. The ultimate goal in all of the battle scenes is to clear the big boss fight. How you get there is entirely up to you. If you are the kind of player that likes to see, collect, and do as much as possible, you will probably decide to visit every battlefield and vanquish the onscreen foes. But if you want to fight the boss as quickly as possible, you have that option as well.

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The RPG elements in Odin Sphere are very light. Although this is an action beat 'em up at its core, players will find the game has a bit more depth due to the experience system. As you defeat enemies and use items, your character gains experience. Earn enough EXP and you will gain a level and replenish all of your HP. This will assist you in gaining more powerful and helping in your quest to dispatch screens of enemies. The biggest problem with Odin Sphere is that it quickly becomes dull and repetitive. I found that even after the first level, I was bored and ready to save the game. Unfortunately if you save in the middle of a level, you will have to restart from the beginning.

As I continued to journey through the massive quest, I kept realizing that Odin Sphere was fun in small doses. However, the move I played at once ,the more I struggled to keep interest with the title. As a huge fan of Atlus titles, this disappointed me.

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For the casual RPG or Action fan, Odin Sphere will probably be just the right mix. But as a hardcore fan of the RPG genre, Odin Sphere left me with wanting to move on to the next game. I highly recommend a weekend rental with the title before purchase. If you are still wanting more after that, Odin Sphere will offer many hours of gameplay. Just don't expect much variety in the gameplay.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 05/28/07
ESRB Details: Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol
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Screenshots for Odin Sphere

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