We’ll preface this by me admitting I’ve never fully played through Odin Sphere. I’ve bought the game twice, once when it first launched and once through the many times it has been on sale on the PlayStation Store. However, I’ve never gotten around to giving it my fullest attention. Well, Atlus has it now.
Odin Sphere was a game released far too early. Its art style begs to be displayed in HD quality levels, but the PlayStation 2 was never up to the task of delivering that. Because VanillaWare games are known for their huge sprites and flashy worlds more than anything, it was clearly never able to live up to its potential.
Now that it has the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PS Vita providing an extra oomph to its visuals thanks to the Leifthrasir HD remaster, Odin Sphere can finally become the game it was always meant to be. Characters leap from the screen, and their subtitle designs are just that much more noticeable with the resolution boost. This will go down as the definitive version of the cult-classic hit and I doubt it could possibly look any better than what Atlus and VanillaWare are achieving here.
Enough about how the game looks, though. How does it play? This also sees a little improvement. I controlled Cornelius, the noble prince turned into an adorable blue rabbit, and his sword combos are much more fun to pull off than I remember. VanillaWare has promised to retool the combat a little bit to make it more fun, and this time around doesn’t feel nearly as stiff as I remember. I chugged through the fights, one after the next, and slashing away with my little rabbit sword felt magnificent. Never sluggish, always fun.
I closed out my demo with a battle against a dragon, and I had to keep an eye on the clock as my ten minute timer nearly clicked away completely. The combos and tricks I pulled off were astounding to cram in those last thirty seconds worked magnificently, and I got a rush I haven’t felt from a 2D game like this in quite some time.
I’ve never been a huge fan of VanillaWare because it is much more interested in its visuals than making a fun game worth re-exploring. However, Odin Sphere is the one I have spent the least time with, so maybe it can destroy that image I have. With the game never looking better and delivering that depth I always felt Muramasa and Dragon’s Crown lacked, maybe this is the one that will make me a believer.