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Late Spring 2007




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Odin Sphere


odin-sphere-1.jpg (23211 bytes)         odin-sphere-2.jpg (28891 bytes)


There just arenít enough games out there that go the 2D art route anymore.  Whether it was the Xbox, PS2, Gamecube or even the original PlayStation, it was practically all 3D all the time, with only the rare exception that would embrace sprite-based graphics.  Even more disconcerting is that handheld gaming, which in time became the last bastion for this graphical style, has seen 2D games on the decline in recent years.  That being said, Atlus is continuing to fight the good fight in keeping this style alive and kicking, having recently announced that they are bringing the action RPG Odin Sphere to North America on the PS2.


It may be only one game, but the sheer level of detail in its 2D visuals is staggering.  All one needs to do is look at some of the screenshots in order to see the quality of the visuals that this game will have.  Vanillaware, who created the equally impressive Princess Crown for the SEGA Saturn, is developing Odin Sphere.  Now, a generation of hardware later, the improvements in visuals are noticeable.  The game appears to be going for a mixture of anime and water colors in the art style, making for some surreal environments thus far.  Moreover, itís promised that the spell and attack effects while fighting will be spectacular.




However, Vanillaware is setting out to make this game more than just a pretty face.  There are a number of gameplay elements in Odin Sphere that should add some interactive meat to the game.  First, players will have five different characters that they can choose to play as, each with their own unique skills.  Second, thereíll be cooking and alchemy in the game that will allow players


to create items that can be used in combat.  Finally, the bosses in the game are expected to be giant, screen-filling behemoths.  Itís an old school approach to boss battles, and itís nice to see someone revisiting it.  


odin-sphere-3.jpg (21620 bytes)          odin-sphere-4.jpg (30403 bytes)


In terms of narrative, Odin Sphereís story appears to have quite a bit of Norse and Germanic influences to it.  The game takes place in a realm where a number of kingdoms are in an uneasy peace, and eyeing each other for signs of weakness, at which point they will pounce on the easy prey.  Eventually, an ancient artifact destroys one kingdom called Valentine.  In the chaos that ensues, the warriors of Ragnanival and the fairies of Ringford go to war.  Unbenounced to them is that they are actually acting out an ancient prophecy that, if fulfilled, will lead to the destruction of the entire world.  With that, the warrior princess Gwendolyn (who also happens to be the daughter of Odin) must figure out a way to end this war, and make sure that the world isnít obliterated.


Localization is still under the way for the game, but Odin Sphere is currently slated for a spring 2007 release.  Fans of 2D games may want to keep an eye on this one.  It appears that the game will certainly look good; now all we need to know is if it will play just as well.


Jeff Nash

February 12, 2007

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