To be honest, I used to be a total RPG fan. I used to play a lot of them, like Final Fantasy 10, Tales of Symphonia, and many others. Nowadays, I prefer plat-formers and action games. This is only because rpgs take up a lot of time, and for this day of age, I don’t have a lot of time on my hands since I’ve got other stuff to do. However, if I find a good one, I tend to stick with it. The RPG I’m sticking with right now is Odin Sphere for the Playstation 2.
The story is kind of all over the place. It is split up into 5 different stories. The first one you will encounter is with Gwendolyn, who is one of Odin’s Daughters. She is caught and manipulated through his plans, in order to use a cauldron to make more weapons, which is also being sought after by the fairy princess. There are other stories, but they mostly center on this magic cauldron that is rumored to have destroyed one character’s land, and a lot of people want to use it for their own plans. There are other stories of love and betrayal and other themes, but you will have to find out for yourself.
This game was developed by Vanillaware, which is famous for games like Princess Crown for the Sega Saturn, GrimGrimoire for the Playstation 2, and the recently released Muramasa: The Demon Blade for the Wii. They are mostly known for using a wonderful and beautiful art style in a 2D game. Even when people these days want amazing PS3 or Xbox360 uber graphical titles, Vanillaware makes a game where that doesn’t matter. In games like Madworld and Punchout!!, a game doesn’t need super uber graphics if it has a smart creative art style. This is what Odin Sphere has going for it, though we will talk more about that later.
The game play is a RPG, mixed in with a brawler, where you control one of 5 characters, each with a perspective on the main story of the Cauldron. The first character you play as is Gwendolyn the Valkyrie, the second is Prince Cornelius, who is turned into a rabbit-like creature, Mercedes the fairy princess, Oswald the shadow knight, and Velvet a witch who’s land was destroyed by the cauldron. There are two extra books, but I won’t spoil it for you guys. You basically go all around the land to different areas, and do what is needed in that area. Now, the battlefields are in the form of circle-like areas, where you must beat all the enemies in that circled arena to get to the other parts of the level. It’s creative and fun to go through them, to see all the different enemies and bosses. You basically attack people with a specially made weapon that uses a crystal as the blade or something, depending on which character you use. You can also use items and mix them together to make stronger items, like health potions and items to hurt your enemies. Now, since you will be playing with all 5 characters, you will be backtracking through the same levels you went through with the last character. It might sound repetitious, but each character has a different way of attacking, so it keeps you on your feet and makes you think of different ways to fight. You will also gain an array of super moves when you gain experience, and each character has their own power bar, and will cost you from 1-2 points from the power meter.
The 2D graphics are perfect! It has such a lovely and beautiful art style, and it’s fun to look at. The characters also have a good and creative design, which fits the whole style of the game. For me, I never got tired of looking at everything, because it’s just beautiful to look at. The music is also very beautiful, and no wonder since it was composed by Hitoshi Sakimoto, who is famous for composing the soundtracks for games like Final Fantasy Tactics, Gradius 5, Radiant Silvergun, Valkyria Chronicles, Opoona, and Vagrant Story. It’s really fun to listen to, and it all feels like it’s right out of Norse Mythology, though it’s only loosely based on it.
This has to be one of my favorite Playstation 2 games ever. There is one thing I really don’t like about it, and it has suffered because of it. The real only thing I don’t like about the game is that it suffers from slowdown from time to time when the screen gets too crowded with action on the screen. It also suffers from having too many short loading times between each circular battlefield.
My final conclusion is that this has to be my favorite RPG game on the Playstation 2. It’s fun to play, fun to look at, and just a blast to see. I would highly recommend finding a copy of this game and add it to your collection. If you’re a fan of great looking art, rpg’s, or just great games overall, then I say, go buy this one. Let’s hope Muramasa: the Demon Blade will be just as good as this one.
This game gets a solid 9.8 out of 10.