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    dkirschner's Odin Sphere (PS2)

    [July 27, 2012 03:18:29 AM]
    I'm really sad to have to put down Odin Sphere. It's an amazing RPG through and through, but it's got horrible fun-killing game-stopping framerate issues. Also there frequent lengthy load times. I'm able to look past the load times, and I was able to look past the framerate stuttering up to a point. Last night I sat down to finish Valkyrie's epilogue, and the boss fight there just brought my PS2 to its knees. You fight Odette, Queen of the Underworld or something, and she just summons so many enemies and there is so much stuff going on on the screen and the action slows SO MUCH that she is unbeatable as far as I can tell. I guess the main problem with the slowdown is that buttons are unresponsive or have major lag between the time you hit X and Valkyrie actually jumps. If you can't jump precisely, you get hit all the time. If Odette's actions are really slowed down, you can't tell what she's doing because the animations skip, so you don't know that she's about to cast this or that until she does it. She has some move that hits for more than 1/2 my HP where she disappears and reappears wherever you are to hit you. Well if the game is so laggy that you don't really see her disappear and you don't see her begin to reappear, how are you supposed to know when to move out of the way or where she is appearing? I thought about going back and grinding levels and stocking completely full of health potions, but the slowdown is so lame that I won't do it on principle. There are a whole lot of other areas where the game slows down like this, whenever there are a lot of enemies on screen, which is every 4-5 star level so far. But you could always still beat the normal enemies like this. Another thing is that Odette heals herself, so when I make some progress, she'll heal back up eventually. Because it takes me so long to attack her, she heals most of my damage back up and I can't get ahead.

    Anyway, there's my rant. And it's too bad because besides these issues, I was loving this game. The animation was phenomenal, great voice work, dialogue very good, story and storytelling were fascinating. The game is set up so you play this one story from 5 intertwining perspectives. You can always go back and view the story events in sequence. This part where I got stuck is at the end of Valkyrie's section, which is the first character you play with. Maybe I can go on Youtube or something and just watch the entire storyline.

    The game is segmented into 3 types of events. There's the drama, the battle, and the home. Drama events are cut scenes where the main story unfolds. Battle events take place across locations in the world map. Home events are when you can walk around a safe spot, in a castle or somewhere, and talk with NPCs and buy and sell and that kind of thing. There's not much else to say about the drama events, besides to reiterate how awesome the art style is since this is where you can put the controller down and gaze at it.

    The battle events take place from the world map. There are several locations which correspond to this or that kingdom. You select the level where you need to go and then you enter that location. This is the cool part. There are a bunch of stages in each level. Each stage has a difficulty rank, and is connected to at least one other stage. Each stage is also a sphere (Odin Sphere..?). They're 2-d spaces and if you run one direction, you'll eventually come full circle. So the stages are 1-5 stars in difficulty, shops, mini-bosses, or main bosses. You beat the whole level if you kill the main boss. You don't always know where you're going. There are exits from each stage and each exit goes to another stage that is connected in that direction. If you find a map, the whole level will become known and you can move more purposefully from stage to stage to go to the boss or the shop or that 5-star stage with a sweet reward, or whatever. Each stage has a reward, so once you get the map you can see the reward for each stage and chase after specific coins or food or alchemy materials or whatever. I really liked the design here.

    Like many RPGs, Odin Sphere has a food system and an alchemy system. The food system is tied in to the neat leveling system. So in Odin Sphere you have two levels, a Psypher level and an HP level. Psypher level is your attack strength and how many special moves you have/can perform. You increase this by collecting phozons, little particles that emit from dead enemies mostly. You can also use phozons to feed seeds, which sprout food. Food restores HP and gives you HP experience. Get an HP level up and your max HP increases. So you need both, but it's up to you to figure out a balance. I just kept them close to one another, but it takes some managing. If you collect all the phozons, your attack will be higher than HP. If you let seeds absorb all the phozons, your HP will be higher than your attack. So there are various types of seeds and they take xyz number of phozons to sprout food, more phozons for seeds that give food with higher HP recovery or HP experience. I found it fun to manage growing food during battle, harvesting it, and eating it strategically for levels during battle, and also for getting the right foods to bring to the cafe or restaurant to have the chefs make me the really awesome HP leveling food. You find recipes throughout the game that teach the chefs how to make you really really kickass food if you bring them the right combinations of ingredients and coins. It's somewhat in-depth, and was something different for me.

    The fighting seems pretty basic action-RPG stuff, with the food and phozons and alchemy for added depth. Alchemy by the way lets you make various healing and damage and status effect potions with materials and these little mandragoras you find in the stages. Nothing too exciting there. X jumps, square attacks, circle opens your bags, and triangle brings up your psypher abilities. according to the instruction manual, each character has a unique move or two. Valkyrie has a shield to block with by holding square. I never used it, but maybe some of the other characters' abilities would be cooler. You get hit a lot in battle. I'd usually either try to power through enemies by button-mashing X, or I'd double-jump and do an aerial attack because it was safer. Oh, they don't let you button-mash too much because there's a power gauge that depletes as you button-mash. It was a bit constraining, but I felt it was nice in a way because it forces you to run away to refill the power gauge. While you're on the other side of the sphere, it kind of forces time for you to plant a seed or make a potion. I actually found this irritating at first like it broke up the action, but later on I found it more useful because you do need to grow fruit and make potions.

    So yeah, very cool stuff. When I was looking online to get information on the framerate issue, I found out that there's an HD version for PS3 that doesn't have the issues. Also, they released a European PS2 version that doesn't have the issues. Apparently just the NTSC release has the framerate issues. There are also videos of people who hacked it on a PS2 emulator playing it on PC. But whatever. On to the next thing.
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    dkirschner's Odin Sphere (PS2)

    Current Status: Stopped playing - Technical problems

    GameLog started on: Tuesday 19 June, 2012

    GameLog closed on: Friday 27 July, 2012

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    So far this game is beautiful and has several unique features, not a standard RPG like I thought. ------------- Amazing game buuuut terrible framerate drops that make it nigh unplayable.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstar

    Related Links

    See dkirschner's page

    See info on Odin Sphere

    More GameLogs
    other GameLogs for this Game
    1 : Odin Sphere (PS2) by richard.perez (rating: 5)
    2 : Odin Sphere Leifthrasir (PS4) by jp (rating: 5)


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