Odin Sphere Leifthrasir (Original Mode)

When the Vanillaware-developed and Atlus-published Odin Sphere Leifthrasir saw its release in 2016, it included the original version of the game alongside the Refined Mode for those that preferred the initial incarnation’s gameplay. Odin Sphere Leifthrasir Original Mode proves like its refined brethren a solid experience, more so than the iteration that originally saw its release on the PS2.

The gameplay is roughly similar to that of the PlayStation 2 version, minus the suck of graphical slowdown, with each of the five playable characters having two separate levels, one for attack power and the other for HP, the former increasable by absorbing phozons and the latter leveled through growing crops with said phozons and eating the subsequent food. The battle system is good for the most part, though the last few fights can be tricky and necessitate the player to go through the stories of each character again to get better healing items.

Inventory management is still burdensome, with limited space even with the maximum number of bags in which to store items, and unlike Refined Mode, Original Mode doesn’t have a storage container in which to put excess gear. The game clock is also still slow, not counting time spent in cutscenes, and dialogue is still unskippable, even though entire cutscenes are. Overall, the developers could have definitely given interaction a once-over.

The five different perspectives in the story definitely make it interesting, though the characters in many cases stop short of killing certain bosses, some of whose deaths would have shortened the plotline, and which specific characters to use for the final bosses can be somewhat vague without a guide, given the cryptic nature of the in-game texts. The translation is good, although there are many cases where dialogue could have been tighter, and the use of the term Armageddon is a bit of a howler since the term actually refers to a place that doesn’t even exist in the game’s universe. Even so, the narrative is a good reason to play through the game.

The soundtrack by Hitoshi Sakimoto is good as always, as is the voice acting, although characters pause speaking at the end of speech bubbles even without punctuation.

The graphics look nice as well, although the scenery can seem more repetitive in Original Mode since most of the circular areas in each stage recycle the same visuals.

Finally, although the ending gameplay time may read around twenty-four hours, it doesn’t count time spent in cutscenes as mentioned, and thus, actual playtime is more in the vicinity of somewhere from one day to two days in all.

Overall, the Original Mode of Odin Sphere Leifthrasir is for the most part a solid experience, given its enjoyable action gameplay that doesn’t get terribly repetitive, given the five different protagonists with different play styles, the enjoyable narrative, the polished aurals, and the pretty graphics. There are some occasional tough spots and interface issues regarding things such as unskippable cutscene text, but otherwise, it makes a good companion to Refined Mode, perfect for purists.

The Good:
+Solid action gameplay.
+Enjoyable tale.
+Great soundtrack and voicework.
+Pretty visuals.

The Bad:
-Endgame bosses can be trying.
-Limited inventory with no storage facilities.
-Unskippable text in cutscenes.
-Slow game clock.

The Bottom Line:
A good companion to Refined Mode for purists.

Score Breakdown:
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Game Mechanics: 8/10
Controls: 6/10
Story: 8/10
Localization: 7/10
Music/Sound: 9/10
Graphics: 8/10
Lasting Appeal: 10/10
Difficulty: Adjustable
Playing Time: 1-2 Days

Overall: 8/10

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