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Saturday, August 27, 2022

Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir

 Vanillaware made its debut in the west with two titles - a real-time strategy named "GrimGrimoire" and an odd beat-em-up RPG hybrid named Odin Sphere.  GrimGrimoire did pretty poorly in terms of sales, but Odin Sphere proved to be a strong seller even despite some criticism for its unpolished controls and spikes of slowdown.  Years later they had planned to do a remaster, but owing to strong sales of Dragon's Crown and availability of development resources, sprung for a full remake instead.  The result is an impressive one, for sure - George Kamitani's artwork is incredible to behold in HD, the often-laggy framerate of the original version is upgraded to a smooth 60 FPS, and the addition of additional combat moves (including a launcher, a diving attack and a much-needed defensive dodge) and polishing of other mechanics (being able to manually release phozons to grow fruit rather than having to manage it mid-fight) make for a much smoother experience.  Other mechanics, like the alchemy system, were further refined, and the "storybook" presentation was improved, with story notes now appearing as pages and notes in books - better fitting the game's framing device - rather than sterile menu text.  Extra scenes and stagers were added as well, so in short, Leifthrasir is bigger, better and prettier than the original in every way that matters.  A fun, gorgeous fantasy action-RPG experience that's well worth trying out.

Developer: Vanillaware
Publisher: NIS America
Platform: Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Playstation Vita
Released: 2016