Leifthrasir is a remastered version of the 2007 Odin Sphere game, which was originally released on the PlayStation 2. The game was developed by Vanillaware and published by Atlus. This remaster for the PS4, PS3 and Vita also comes with the original version of the game.
The story remains the same here but the environments, characters and presentation is in higher definition and overall it runs a lot better. Leifthrasir also has new items, abilities and even new enemies. The game also has cross-save, which is a nice extra feature. When you start the game you can either choose to play the classic version or the remastered edition. The original game was highly praised but the revamped version gives you no reason to really go back and play the original. The game also now has mini-bosses added throughout which breaks up the gameplay and keeps things feeling fresh and exciting. I haven’t played the original version before but I did play through some of the classic version in this remaster so that I could see what changes had been made.
The story in the game centers around something known as the “Cauldron Wars.” The world is in battle and prophecies of Armageddon are being carried out and its all down to a few warriors to stop the chaos that’s unfolding in the world on Erion. During the game you play as multiple characters and play through each character’s storyline. The game is broken into chapters and gives it a storybook feel which works well. The character’s fight with Psypher weapons, that are powerful staffs/swords. The game starts with a brief cutscene and moments of dialogue that see you then take control of Gwendolyn, a princess who witnesses her sister Griselda die in battle. Cornelius is a prince attempting to regain his humanity and is the second character you play as. You also play as Mercedes (leader of the fairies), Oswald (the blacks swordsman) and Velvet (the last remaining member of a fallen kingdom). I really enjoyed how each character brings something different to the game and I enjoyed getting to see each journey. I really enjoyed the setting, story and overall tone of the game as it has interesting characters and visually striking environments.
Once you have played the various character’s sections you then fight in a series of challenging boss encounters. The bosses during the main section of the game can get extremely challenging but these final bosses are even more so. I have also seen that the choices you make when pairing up fighters changes the outcomes and there are different endings. I don’t want to give anything away but I really liked how the story and characters play an integral part to the final combat scenarios and makes it feel more purposeful.
Each character does bring different play styles and techniques but the basic mechanics remain the same when it comes to combat and movement. Odin Sphere Leifthrasir is a 2D brawler with tonnes of combat and plenty of depth when it comes to upgrades and gameplay mechanics. The basic combat feels great and sees you performing powerful uppercuts, sliding attacks and long strings of combos as you slash your way through hordes of enemies. The combat is hugely satisfying and I loved seeing my combo count rise. Enemies are varied during the game and become more challenging as you progress. The game also has a huge skill tree where you can unlock many different abilities that grant you powerful attacks. These attacks are mapped to the circle button and become incredibly useful during trickier situations. As you fight though each area you can pick up health potions, powerful tonics and even seeds to plant trees that provide food.
I really loved how the map worked in this game, with a small circular map at the bottom right of the screen that rotates according to your position in the world. It also indicates which routes and pathways you should be taking, it’s a subtle but integral feature. The maps themselves are sprawling interwoven pathways with battle arenas that have plenty of secrets to discover and enemies to fight. I did find myself getting lost a few times and having to backtrack certain areas to take the correct route.
Food is the game is hugely important and plays a critical part when it comes to gaining XP. Food can be obtained in three different ways, either purchasing, finding in the world or even growing your own. If you collect seeds in the game you can plant them and grow vegetation that provides food, but to do so you need phozons. Phozons are what you collect when killing enemies during the game and they look like glowing purple crystals. These are also used to purchase abilities and special attacks. You can also collect coins during stages that can be used to purchase items from vendors. You can plant multiple seeds at one time but its important to know that phozons are pretty valuable and you have to carefully manage what you choose to spend them on. Leifthrasir also has an easy to use alchemy system that allows you to mix various items and resources to create various potions. I used these potions a lot during difficult battles and while you don’t need to use the alchemy system it does greatly improve your chances of success and it also encourages inventory management. During the game you will come across sections known as ‘rest areas,’ these are where you can talk to friendly dwellers, eat and prepare before carrying on. You can visit vendors to buy potions and even get chefs to make you food. I would encourage this as it gives you XP and raise your maximum HP.
The presentation of the game is fantastic, with vibrant visuals, well designed characters, varied environments and unique enemies. The game has an awesome hand-drawn style with smooth animations that feel like a comic or storybook. I loved the characters in this game and enjoyed the story, which is told wonderfully. The world itself is beautiful and the enemies you face are interesting in design and the bosses all feel unique. The sound design is also great, with excellent voice acting and characters that are genuinely interesting to listen to.
Overall Odin Sphere Leifthrasir is a fantastic game that I thoroughly enjoyed. The combat feels immensely satisfying and the upgrades and abilities you gain keep the gameplay fresh throughout. The combat is fast and fluid and the enemies are varied enough to test your skills, especially the boss battles. The story is fantastic and I was genuinely interested to see how it unfolded over the course of the game. Visually the game is excellent and I was also intrigued to see what the next area looked like and had in store. This is a perfect example of how a remaster should be done, with improved visuals and smoother animations, but also adding in a few new features. I would highly recommend this game if you enjoy fast-paced combat, an interesting story and awesome boss battles.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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