Ahh Odin Sphere. I had such high hopes for it. I first heard about it on the gaming comic Penny Arcade and thought it sounded interesting. I looked it up online, and saw a bunch of various screenshots of the game, and thought “WOW! This game is nice looking!”
Sadly, beautiful graphics cannot help a (in my opinion) flawed battle system and repeatative gameplay.
The game is based on the concept of 5 character’s and their interlocking stories. Basically you play through one characters story, and then the next, and the next, and see how the events unfold through the eyes of each person. My problem with this however is you are stuck playing characters you may not like just to get to the interesting ones.
For example: The first character you must play as is the Valkyrie Princess Gwendolyn. You are stuck using her until you beat her story, and then you unlock Prince Cornelius. This continues on throughout the game.
The combat system is super simple, and I think thats a problem. Its literally one button to attack, one button to defend, one to jump, one to spellcast. Thats it. And that bothers me, because unless you are casting a spell (which is dangerous as they can hurt you too), you are stuck just mashing your attack button. And you cannot stop your attacks midswing, so if the enemy hits you midswing, well your attack stops and generally you take HUGE amounts of damage.
The map system is another strange and annoying point. Basically, you select the area you wish to go to. You then are in a “stage”, and you must kill all the enemies that spawn before the exits appear. Once the exits appear, you select the exit you wish to use, and repeat the process. Sometimes you fight minibosses, and those are worse in my opinion then the actual level bosses. I myself will freely admit I got stuck fighting 2 minibosses called Unicorn Knights at the same time, and just could not beat them.
Even when fighting the minibosses you have to deal with constantly spawning normal enemies as well. Its annoying. A good point is that if you die you can just start over right there at the start of the fight.
The magic system is useless. All the characters get the same spells, and the only decent one is Cyclone, but that can kill you if you accidentaly jump into it or use a special attack that lands you in it. I have done it more times then I care to count.
The good points of the game are the art and the music. I loved both, and had no complaints. The game is for lack of a better term, beautiful. The music is fitting and does not detract and generally helps set the mood.
All in all, I would rent this game. But buy it? Unless you are a collector I wouldnt bother. Its problems far outweight its good points.
I give Odin Sphere a 2/5.