Odin Sphere

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Odin Sphere
Odin Sphere cover art
North American box art for Odin Sphere, showing the main cast and key supporting characters.
Developer(s) Vanillaware
Publisher(s)

‹See Tfd›

Director(s) George Kamitani
Producer(s) Kentaro Ohnishi
Designer(s) Vanillaware
Programmer(s) Kentaro Ohnishi
Artist(s) George Kamitani
Writer(s) George Kamitani
Composer(s)
Platform(s)
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Action role-playing game
Mode(s) Single-player

Odin Sphere (Japanese: オーディンスフィア Hepburn: Ōdin Sufia?) is an action role-playing game developed by Vanillaware for the PlayStation 2 home console. It was published by Atlus (Japan and North America) in 2007, and by Square Enix (Europe) in 2008. A remake titled Odin Sphere Leifthrasir was released on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita in 2016: Atlus handled publishing duties in Japan and North America, while NIS America published the title in Europe. Using a 2D side-scrolling perspective, the gameplay revolves around a beat em up fighting system, while incorporating RPG elements such as leveling and alchemy — Leifthrasir expands upon and refines these elements. The story, shared between both version, follows five characters on the fantasy continent of Erion during a war between the nations of Ragnanival and Ringford over a weapon called the Crystalization Cauldron, and their roles in the Armageddon, a catastrophe which will destroy Erion.

The game was originally conceived by George Kamitani as first a sequel and then a successor to the 1997 Sega Saturn title Princess Crown. Development began in 2004 after the official formation of Vanillaware. The story, written by Kamitani, was based around the concept of a Valkyrie princess. The scenario and world design incorporated Norse mythology, the works of William Shakespeare, fairy tales and early video games. 2D graphics were chosen over 3D graphics as Kamitani felt the style was stagnating, which necessitated presenting cutscenes as if on a stage rather than in a traditional camera-oriented style. Leifthrasir began development in 2013 as a means of addressing the issues both players and staff had with the original game while keeping the story intact. The music for both versions was composed by a team from Basiscape, led by company founder Hitoshi Sakimoto.

First announced in February 2007, the team had encountered difficulties finding a publisher due to Kamitani's sparse record as a game developer. Atlus picked up the title, but it was delayed into 2006 despite completion so it would not compete with Atlus' other titles that year. The localization was handled by Atlus, and proved challenging in multiple areas. Upon release, it garnered a positive reception from video game journalists: praised with to its story, visuals and old-school gameplay, but criticized its inventory system and framerate issues. The game was also a commercial success, contributing to the rise of Vanillaware as a developer.

Gameplay[edit]

Screenshots from Odin Sphere and its remake Leifthrasir, featuring player character Velvet. While basic gameplay is similar, Leifthrasir has multiple additional elements in addition to visual upgrades.

Odin Sphere is a two-dimensional (2D) side-scrolling action role-playing game where the player takes control of five different characters across six playable scenarios.[1][2] Areas within levels are circular stages allowing movement left or right with exits leading to other areas; the main goal in each area is to eliminate all enemies and proceed to the next area.[2] Combat takes place within these areas, and revolves around the player character using a combination of physical attacks and Psypher skills, skills tied to each character's magical weapon. Combination attacks are triggered with repeated presses of the attack button. The jump button can be used to reach airborne enemies within stages. At the end of each battle, grades are awarded based on the battle time, damage taken from enemies, and the amount of damage dealt. The higher the score, the larger reward of in-game currency the player receives.[2][3]

Rather than the typical experience point-driven character growth of most role-playing games, each characters' abilities is linked to their Psyphers, and damage. These two elements are raised by collecting Phozons, spirit energy released from enemies. Phozons fill a magic meter, which is used to trigger special skills.[4][2] All physical attack drain a character's POW gauge, and if depleted entirely the character must rest until the gauge refills.[5] Tied to phozons and levelling is a farming system, where seeds planted and fueled with Phozons provide meals which raise a character's level, boosting their health and abilities. Food can be grown in the wild using seeds, but later two restaurants are available where prepared meals can be eaten.[2][4] Various elements, such as food and material, can be used together using an Alchemy system which allows for the creation of potions with various effects, from dealing damage to healing the main character.[3]

Leifthrasir adds to and augments the existing features. These include new battle arenas, and new vertical areas within environments to create platforming segments.[1][6] Characters now have exclusive abilities and elemental affinities, such as Gwynodyn having access to ice attacks.[1] Battle rankings now depend upon skills used and time taken rather than a quick clearing of arenas, with items as well as money being awarded for high scores.[1][6] The POW system is redesigned so that only special attacks consume POW with the exception of one character. Some special attacks also consumes portion of phozons collected in battle.[1][5] Each character also possesses skill and ability trees, which are unlocked with Phozons stored during and after battles. While skill trees are unlocked with Phozonz, abilities are upgraded with Ability Points. The food and growing systems remain roughly similar, while the Alchemy system is streamlined. Leifthrasir also includes a "Classic" mode, which switches from the redesigned look of Leifthrasir to the original version.[5]

Synopsis[edit]

Setting and characters[edit]

Odin Sphere is set on the fictional continent of Erion, which is divided into multiple nations scattered across the land.[7] The two main nations are the warrior land of Ragnanival in the north, and the Fairy Kingdom of Ringford controls the forests of the south, the two of which wage war in the wasteland that was once the Kingdom of Valentine. At the game's opening, Ragnanival is ruled by the Demon Lord Odin (オーダイン Ōdain?), and Ringford is ruled by the Fairy Queen Elfaria (エルファリア Erufaria?) with help from her nephew Melvin (メルヴィン Meruvuin?). The other nations include the neutral land of Titania; the Fire Kingdom to the south where an ancient active volcano remains active, ruled by the one male resident King Onyx (オニキス Onikisu?); and the Netherworld, the land of the dead where natural crystals grow, is ruled by Queen Odette (オデット Odetto?).[7][8][9] Two key elements in the game are psyphers, weapons incorporating crystals made from phozon life energy; and the Crystalization Cauldron, a weapon created by Valentine that crafts crystals by absorbing phozons from the land.[8][9][10] A driving force of the plot is the tale of the Armageddon, a foretold catastrophe in which Erion is destroyed and the survivors reign the new world.[7][9]

Many years prior to the game's events, the world was ruled by King Valentine (バレンタイン Barentain?), who ruled the kingdom bearing his name. Originally a kind man, a spell to bring his people prosperity drained his goodness, causing him to turn into a vicious dictator who declared war on the rest of Erion. During his conquests, the Cauldron went wild and destroyed the Kingdom in a single night — everyone was cursed and transformed into Pookas, while Kingdom of Valentine was reduced to a wasteland.[9][11][12] At the start of the game, the two most powerful are Ragnanival and Ringford, while the other nations have become weak in comparison.[7][8] At the game's opening, Ragnanival and Ringford are at war over the possession of the Cauldron in the wasteland of Valentine, as each see that it is too dangerous for the other to possess.[9]

The story is told from the perspective of a young girl named Alice reading a series of books in her attic, with five initial storylines or "books" playing out between the five main characters and overlapping at multiple points.[7] The five main protagonist are Gwyndolyn (グウェンドリン Guendolin?), a Valkyrie and daughter to the Demon Lord Odin who has lived for years in the shadow of her sister Griselda (グリゼルダ Gurizeruda?);[8][13] Cornelius (コルネリウス Koruneriusu?), the prince of Titania turned into a Pooka;[12][14] Mercedes (メルセデス Merusedesu?), daughter of Elfaria and later the reluctant queen of Ringford;[15] the "Shadow Knight" Oswald (オズワルド Ozuwarudo?), a dark knight in service to Ringford who was found abandoned as a baby and adopted by Melvin;[8][16] and Velvet (ベルベット Berubetto?), a survivor from the Kingdom of Valentine who hides her identity as Odin's illegitimate daughter and has been dubbed the "Forest Witch".[7][12][17] Other key characters outside the royalty of Erion's surviving nations include the Three Wise Men, a group manipulating Eiron's nations to fulfill the ancient prophecies surrounding the Armageddon; Ingway (イングヴェイ Inguvuei?), Velvet's brother who like Velvet retained his humanity and was key to the disaster that consumed his kingdom; and King Valentine, having escaped the Netherworld as an insane revenant bent on destroying Erion.[8][9][12]

Plot[edit]

The game's opening sees Ringford controlling the Cauldron and its controlling ring Titrel, having been given Titrel by Ingway as part of his vengeance against Odin.[18] Elfaria is ultimately killed by Odin, who takes Titrel from her.[19] Velvet steals it in turn and gives it to the dragon Wagner, hoping that this would prevent the Cauldron being used.[18] Her lover Cornelius is meanwhile changed into a Pooka by Ingway and thrown into the Netherworld, escaping with the aid of his grandfather Gallon. He learns that the people of Valentine share his curse, and is embroiled in both the Pookas' efforts to collect wish-granting coins to reverse their condition and his attempts to save Velvet from danger.[20] The Three Wise Men are attempting to fulfill the prophecies of the Armageddon — all but one Wise Man are killed during the course of the story, while the third Beldor is afflicted with the Pooka's curse and gains subsequent immortality.[19][20][21] Several characters also encounter King Valentine, who continues to be tormented by memories of murdering Velvet's mother in a rage — as part of his scheme to trigger the Armageddon, he finds the dragon Leventhan.[18][19]

Gwyndolyn's story focuses on the time after her sister Griselda is killed in battle, inheriting her spear in the process — having always come second in her father's eyes, Gwyndolyn tries hard to impress him, but must ultimately defy him when his general Brigan attempts to use Velvet against him. Gwyndolyn is placed in an enchanted sleep for her defiance, to be woken and fall in love with the first man who kisses her.[22] After being spirited to the lands of Onyx by the Three Wise Men, Gwyndolyn's story becomes intertwined with Oswald's. Oswald is involved in an attempted coup against Mercedes by Melvin and is taken by Odette as payment for the power Melvin infused into Oswald's psypher.[21] He is then used by Odin to take Titrel from Wagner by force, but ultimately rebels and rescues Gwyndolyn from Onyx after learning that Odin did not enchant her, giving Titrel to Gwyndolyn as a gift.[21][22] Gwyndolyn, initially defiant, begins to fall in love, but is tricked into giving Titrel to Odin. Feeling betrayed, Oswald submits himself to being taken by Odette.[22] Mercedes' story runs parallel to the others, chronicling her efforts to become queen in the wake of her mother's death and Melvin's attempted coup. With the help of the dwarf smith Brom, she refashions her psypher into a weapon powerful enough to destroy Odin's psypher, winning a battle against him and taking Titrel.[19] Titrel is subsequently stolen by Gwyndolyn, who uses it as a bargaining chip to rescue Oswald from Odette, who is killed by Gwyndolyn. Initially torn between love for Oswald and duty to Odin, Gwyndolyn defies her father and leaves with Oswald and Titrel, which now acts as a symbol of their love.[22] Odin is then accosted by Ingway and Velvet, with Ingway transforming into a monster in an unsuccessful attempt to kill him. Cornelius rescues the two of them, and Velvet reaffirms her love for him even in his new form.[18][20]

The sixth book shows the advent of Armageddon — King Valentine activates the Cauldron and uses it to absorb phozons from the land to feed the growth of Leventhan. Ingway attempts to destroy the Cauldron using his cursed form, but he falls under the control of Beldor, who has also led the monstrous Gallon and the Netherworld army into Erion. In the ensuing chaos, Odin is killed, and Onyx decides to destroy Ringford to avert a prophecy of his death at the "World Tree". The story then divides between the main characters' battles in the wake of these events, with different endings playing out depending on who is matched with which battle. In the canon series of events, Cornelius defeats Ingway and Beldor and is rescued by Velvet, who learns from the dying Ingway that the Cauldron can be used to reverse the destruction; Oswald defeats Gallon, learning that he is Gallon's grandson by his banished son Edgar and thus Titanian royalty; Mercedes, whose true name is "Yggdrasil", finds Ingway's corpse and dies in battle with Onyx, who is killed at her hands; Velvet stops the Cauldron without destroying its core, but King Valentine curses the Cauldron before waking Laventhan and killing himself by throwing himself into its path; Gwyndolyn then kills Leventhan before it can utterly destroy Erion, but loses her wings in the process.[23]

Having finished the books, Alice finds a magical coin on the front cover of the sixth book. Called downstairs by her mother, she misses seeing Cornelius and Velvet, both in Pooka form, taking the coin and leaving a seventh book.[23] In this book, Gwyndolyn is rescued by Oswald, who carries her to the Cauldron before collapsing. Velvet and Cornelius are there, and Velvet finds Titrel on Gwyndolyn's hand. Using Titrel, Velvet turns the psyphers back into phozons to power the Cauldron and revives the land, turning into a Pooka due to Valentine's curse. Oswald and Gwyndolyn bear witness to the rebirth of the land, and become the ancestors to the new humanity; Mercedes is reincarnated as its World Tree.[24] In a special ending set thousands of years after the events of Odin Sphere, Cornelius and Velvet have successfully gathered all the coins and use their combined power to break their curse.[25] A post-credits scene shows an unseen author, who is writing a book called "Odin Sphere", talking with a merchant while the main characters pass by.[26] A new scene in Leifthrasir shows Ingway's spirit resting within the World Tree's roots, reunited with the reincarnated Mercedes.[27]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Odin Sphere was the brainchild of George Kamitani, a video game designer who had worked on Princess Crown, a 1997 Japan-exclusive side-scrolling action RPG developed by Atlus for the Sega Saturn.[28][29][30] The game was developed by Vanillaware, a studio created by former Atlus staff including Kamitani to create successor projects to Princess Crown. Initially founded as "Puraguru" in 2002 when it worked on Fantasy Earth: Zero, the company changed its name in 2004 when the staff moved to Kansai.[28][31][32] It was during his time working on Fantasy Earth: Zero that Kamitani met the founding members of Vanillaware.[28] Odin Sphere, which began development in 2004, was designed as a successor to Princess Crown, specifically evolving the multi-layered narrative style of the original game.[28][29] The game's director and programmer was Kentaro Ohnishi, one of the founding members of Vanillaware.[28][33] According to Ohnishi, the project started as a direct sequel to Princess Crown, but later became a spiritual successor which incorporated multiple nods to the original game.[33] The reason it changed was that the initial plan for Princess Crown 2 was to have used 3D visuals, which would have looked wrong with Kamitani's character designs and artwork.[34]

Development was difficult for the team due to its small size and hardware difficulties when trying to fit high-quality artwork onto the PlayStation 2 (PS2), resulting in compromises in the visual quality the team had initially planned for the project. This pressure lasted right up to release, as Ohnishi needed to do emergency work to fix game-breaking bugs.[34][35] Development was completed in 2006.[30] Vanillaware had great difficulty securing a publisher and the necessary funding for the project, as Kamitani's last project had been the unsuccessful Princess Crown over seven years before. They made unsuccessful pitches to multiple publishers before the title was finally accepted by Atlus, although there was some doubt as to whether it would prove a success.[28] Odin Sphere was first revealed in February 2007, three months prior to release.[36] While the game was completed in 2006, Atlus delayed its release into 2007 as they did not want it to cannibalize the market for their other titles, particularly Persona 3.[28][30] Odin Sphere eventually released on May 17, 2007.[36]

Scenario and design[edit]

The initial concept for Odin Sphere was of a story revolving around a Valkyrie princess, inspired by Kamitani's wish to emulate the protagonist of Princess Crown and hearing at second hand about planning at tri-Ace for Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria, which involved Norse mythology and featured a princess as its main protagonist. Kamitani's Valkyrie protagonist, who would become Gwyndolin, was created before the rest of the game's world and story were finalized. Working from this initial idea and its roots in Norse mythology, Kamitani began writing a romantic storyline for Gwyndolin and Oswald as the central narrative, basing it on Der Ring des Nibelungen by Richard Wagner. He then added further elements inspired by the works of William Shakespeare and traditional European fairy tales. The other narratives focused on different themes: Mercedes' storyline focused on her maturation into a queen, Velvet's story focused on resolving a mystery, while Cornelius' story narrative modeled after traditional fairy tales as a homage to early PC game Marchen Veil.[34] There were plans to create backstory elements from characters like Odin and an extra "book" focusing on Ingway, but the negative impact such chapters would have on the experience meant they did not make it into the game.[33]

Kamitani acted as art and character designer for the game, with additional art for elements such as food provided by Shigatake.[33][34] So as to distance the appearance of Gwyndolin and other Valkyries from the Valkyrie characters from the Valkyrie Profile series, he designed their outfits after ballet tutus. The character Mercedes was a fairy version of Gradriel De Valendia, the main protagonist of Princess Crown. Velvet's design was described as an "Arabic Little Red Riding Hood". More sensual element of his female character designs came about through chance rather than deliberate design.[34] Despite the general move to 3D graphics in the gaming industry, the team decided to use 2D graphics, as Kamitani felt the style was stagnating.[34][37] The use of 2D graphics meant that traditional camera work for cutscenes was impossible to achieve, so the team instead modeled those scenes to be like a stage production.[34] The character graphics were hand-drawn in a process Kamitani dubbed "tebineri", or hand-shaping. The toolset used to create the graphic animations was heavily inspired by the similar animation style used for Adobe Flash products.[30] An element that proved troublesome was character movement, which was hard to make behave within the limited specs of the PS2. A cited example was how Velvet's breasts giggles slightly when she stopped moving. This was intended for more female characters, but due to limitations it was restricted to her character model.[35]

Localization[edit]

The game was localized for the West by Atlus. The project leader was Bill Alexander, the lead translator was Sammy Matsushima, while dialogue editing was handled by Mike Meeker. As with their other localizations such as for the Persona series, the team tried to keep faithful to the original text. This proved easier than for the Persona series as its fictional setting meant there were no cultural in-jokes that would not be understood outside Japan.[38] The localization took place from 2006 to 2007: the project was an unusual one for Atlus, as it was an entirely new intellectual property from a studio that was still little known in the West.[39] When tasked with localizing the game for Western markets, the team were told that the game had a Shakespearean feel, so Matsushima created a script that reflected that: with the concept of a play in mind, the dialogue was written to give a noble feel to the characters, in addition to fairy tale elements fitting in with its frame story of a girl reading books. For his part, Meeker read King Lear and A Midsummer Night's Dream to find the correct style for his writing, in addition to reading Beowulf to properly capture the darker elements.[38]

The localization proved more challenging than other Atlus projects due to the way dialogue advanced automatically rather than using button prompts. There was also the problem that the text bubbles for characters were designed around the use of Japanese kanji characters, which compressed a lot of information into a single symbol in a way impossible in the English alphabet. Each text bubble had to be individually resized and sometimes shifted so they would not intrude on other elements within scenes.[38] The sheer amount of voice acting in the game meant that dubbing took far longer than other similar projects, running past its projected time and requiring Atlus staff members to voice very minor characters to save time.[39] The major characters were a major focus due to the storytelling style of multiple interlinked narratives, with each character's personal growth needing to be reflected in their voice performance. This was particularly true of Mercedes.[38] The auto-scrolling nature of dialogue also meant that performances needed to be correctly timed, which needed to be balanced with the different pace the various actors read their lines. This led to lines being modified during recording to keep within schedule. During the last stages, the team needed to rerecord some lines of dialogue, but to keep it in budget and on schedule it was done outside a professional recording studio, resulting in an audible drop in quality.[38][39]

Odin Sphere released in North America on May 22, 2007, less than a week after the game's Japanese release.[40] In Europe, it was released on March 14, 2008 by Square Enix.[41] Available with in-game text in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, it was the first non-Square Enix title the company released in Europe.[42] The European version also included technical improvements that allowed the game to run smoother than the North American version.[43] It was also published in Australia on March 13.[44] The Japanese voice track was included in the game as a special extra feature for fans of anime. The localization process was timed so that the Japanese and North American releases were days apart rather than months, which put extra pressure due to some promotional assets still being in development in Japan.[38]

Odin Sphere Leifthrasir[edit]

Odin Sphere Leifthrasir (オーディンスフィア レイヴスラシル Ōdin Sufia Reivusurashiru?, stylized as Odin Sphere Leifþrasir[45]), a remake of Odin Sphere for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita, began development in late 2013 alongside publisher Atlus changing ownership from Index Corporation to Sega. Atlus initially wanted to create a followup to Vanillaware's recent successful title Dragon's Crown, but when Odin Sphere came up in conversations, it was decided to work on that as it was both Vanillaware's first project and their first Atlus-published title. Initially planned to be an upgraded port, the availability of development resources allowed for the development of a full remake.[46] The aim by Vanillware was to keep the well-received story and visual design intact, while improving the RPG elements and ironing out technical issues that were criticized at the time.[35] The game's title Leifthrasir was in reference to Líf and Lífþrasir, the two humans in Norse mythology who survive Ragnarok and repopulate the new world.[47] The "Leifthrasir" spelling was chosen over the more common "Lifthrasir" as the former sounded better. It was also written with the Old Norse letter "þ" incorporated into the title.[45]

There were a large number of changes made to the game. Additional stages and divisions between battle and exploration were created; defense and dodge actions were added for characters; extensive vertical plains were added to environments; enemy and boss AI was redesigned and refined; additional enemies and subbosses were included; a new difficulty level was added; and the POW gauge, inventory and Psypher systems were redesigned.[48][49] At the time Odin Sphere was made, it was fully intended to be a successor to Princess Crown, but Vanillaware had since become better known for fast-paced action over simple side-scrolling combat. The gameplay was thus adjusted so that it would be familiar to players of the later and more refined Muramasa: The Demon Blade and Dragon's Crown.[35][50] According to Ohnishi, how to adjust the gameplay was difficult for the team to decide: elements included the way health and magic energies were raised separately, and how the alchemy system worked. With this in mind, these systems were adjusted so they would be more accessible for people with varied playing styles.[33] The revamped system drew from the team's work on Dragon's Crown.[46][33] There was no original story content created, although additional text archives were created and the existing text was rewritten in places.[48] The ability to skip past story scenes, unavailable in the original release, was included.[51] It was also decided not to have the different sections be playable out of order, as that would negatively impact the story.[50]

The high-definition upgrade was not as difficult as it might have been as all the art assets had been created in high definition and reduced for the PS2 hardware. Other aspects for the visuals, such as character faces, needed to be redrawn by Kamitani as they remained in low definition. There were also graphic elements remade as the team considered them to be rather poor quality when compared to their current work. Added shadow effects were created, but special parameters needed to be set as there were no 3D environments to use as reference. The 2D perspective also meant that the way enemies behaved needed to be adjusted, so they would not attack the player character while still off screen.[33] In general, the overall graphical quality was improved, the resolution was increased, and the aspect ratio was changed from the original 4:3 to 16:9.[48][49][51] The shift to 16:9 meant that character models needed to be re-positioned so as not to leave blank spaces on either side of the central scene. As they needed to analyse the original software to make such changes but had lost the original software used to create the cutscenes, they needed to hurriedly create alternate editing software that ran on a PC. In addition to changes to scenery and model positioning, the text font was resized to match the larger screen and the text bubbles were smoothed out.[35]

Leifthrasir was first announced in July 2016, along with its planned release platforms.[52] The game was published in Japan on January 14, 2016.[53] In North America, it released on June 7.[54] While minimal work was done by Atlus' localization team for the remake, the amateur voice acting was replaced with professional performances.[39] In Europe, it was published on June 24, 2016 by NIS America.[10] Leifthasir ended up being the last title published during the partnership between Atlus and NIS America.[55]

Music[edit]

Odin Sphere Original Soundtrack
Soundtrack album (Video Game) by Hitoshi Sakimoto, Masaharu Iwata, Mitsuhiro Kaneda, Kimihiro Abe & Manabu Namiki
Released October 14, 2007
April 18, 2012 (Reprint)
Recorded Basiscape
Genre Video game soundtrack
Length Disc 1: 1:08:36
Disc 2: 1:13:15
Total: 2:21:51
Label Five Records
Basiscape Records (Reprint)
Producer Hitoshi Sakimoto

The music of Odin Sphere was composed by a team from music company Basiscape. The team was led by company founder Hitoshi Sakimoto, and included Masaharu Iwata, Mitsuhiro Kaneda, Kimihiro Abe and Manabu Namiki. Sakimoto and Iwata created the majority of the soundtrack.[56][57] When creating the music, particularly the main theme, Sakimoto tried to capture the feelings of the characters struggling to determine their futures and face the truth of their situations.[56][58] The celtic-styled "Shanachie" version, which played during the end credits, was performed by Kansai-based band Shanachie.[56][57] Kaneda created the boss track "A Hard Fight and then Hope", wanting a theme that was indicative of the main characters fighting beings larger than them. Commenting on his track "The Hero's Triumphant Return", Iwata aimed at creating a hopeful and triumphant song for key story segments.[56] The main theme's lyrics were written by Nami Uehara, who arranged the main theme's "Shanachie" version. It was translated into French by Maryvonne Nagel Okamoto. All versions of the main theme were sung by Noriko Kawahara.[57]

Odin Sphere Original Soundtrack released on October 14, 2007 by Five Records.[59] Additional orchestral arrangements included on the disk were performed by Eminence Symphony Orchestra.[57] A reprint was issued by Basiscape Records on April 18, 2012.[60] Upon release, it reached #171 in the Oricon charts, remaining in the charts for one week.[59] The album received positive reviews from music critics.[61][62][63]

Leifthrasir made use of rearranged pieces, in addition to new tracks.[64] These new tracks, 25 in all, were created for the new battle arenas.[48][65] The music was composed by Sakimoto, Kaneda, Iwata, Abe, Namiki, Kazuki Higashihara, Azusa Chiba and Yoshimi Kudo. Uehara returned as arranger alongside Sakimoto, Kaneda, Iwata, Kudo, Higashihara and Chiba.[66] During his work on the project, Sakimoto felt that the score needed minimal adjustment despite it being ten years since it was created.[67] Shanachie returned to perform a rearranged version of the theme song. Vocals this time were performed by Rena and Miwa Horio.[66] Odin Sphere Leifthrasir Original Soundtrack released on January 14, 2016.[67] In addition to the songs included in Leifthrasir, the soundtrack included five additional remixes of existing themes.[65]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Review scores
Publication Score
PS2 PS4 PS Vita
1UP.com A-[4] N/A N/A
Destructoid N/A 9.5/10[74] N/A
Eurogamer 7/10[2] N/A N/A
Famitsu 32/40[75] 36/40[76] 36/40[76]
Game Informer 8.5/10[78] 8/10[79] N/A
GamePro 4/5 stars[77] N/A N/A
GameSpot 7.6/10[3] 8/10[80] N/A
IGN 8.8/10[81] 9.5/10[6] 9.5/10[6]
Aggregate scores
GameRankings 81.94%[68] 86.78%[69] 89.25%[70]
Metacritic 83/100[71] 87/100[72] 93/100[73]

Editors of Famitsu Weekly magazine gave the Japanese version a 32 out of 40 cumulative score, earning it the publication's Silver Award, with critics praising the title's graphics and "intuitive" controls, but also remarked that its difficulty was high and many areas of the game looked too similar.[75]

Following its Western debut, Odin Sphere received an overall positive reception with an average critic score of 82% at GameRankings[68] and 83% at Metacritic.[71] Play magazine awarded it a perfect score, stating that "In the case of Odin Sphere, [we are] confident that this is a perfect game, and that anyone who comes to it will derive the same," praising its 2D graphics, detailed storyline, and unique combat system as high points.[82] IGN's review also praised the game highly, highlighting the game balance and colorful visuals, and summarizing, "Simply put, this 40+ hour adventure, with multiple difficulty levels and extremely deep gameplay mechanics is one of the best RPGs to come out on the PS2 in a while."[81]

The game has been criticized concerning the occurrence of slowdown when there are many enemies or objects on screen at once; GameSpot described this as "uneven performance" in addition to frequent load times.[3] 1UP.com called this issue "Odin Sphere's one very glaring fault," but overall felt that it was "more than worth tolerating."[4] Eurogamer likewise remarked that the game was prone to heavy repetition, stating that "While the immediacy of the action will grab all comers right from the off - the repetition, made worse by the game's difficulty and drawn out length, ensures that few who start on this adventure will ever finish it."[2]

Sales[edit]

In its debut week in Japan, Odin Sphere sold 59,248 units, reaching #3 in the charts.[83] It went up to second place in the charts the following week.[84] Sales capped out at 96,280 units in the region by the end of 2007.[85] Upon release in North America, the game reached the top of sales charts and remained there into the following week.[84] It was among the top 20 best-selling titles in North America during its debut month, and was the only title in that ranking not to be a sequel or belong to an established brand.[86] Upon its release as a PS2 Classic on the PlayStation Network in October 2011, the game was the best-selling out of five concurrent releases including God Hand, and reached #15 in the PSN charts for that month.[87] According to a later statement by Atlus' parent company, Odin Sphere had sold 350,000 units worldwide during the 2007 to 2008 period, placing it among the PS2's "Greatest Hits" line.[88] The financial success of the game for Vanillaware was contributed by Kamitani to high royalty payments set by Atlus as part of the publishing contract.[28] As of 2015, the game has sold over 500,000 copies worldwide.[89]

Leifthrasir reached the top of sales charts, claiming the spot Monster Hunter Generations which had held the position for three weeks on end. Sales were strong compared to the original version: selling 43,394 units on PlayStation Vita at #1, 42,263 units on PlayStation 4 at #2, and 9,771 units on PlayStation 3 at #10. All version of Leifthrasir sold a total of 95,428, and marked an improvement in sales for Atlus after low sales for Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE the previous month.[90] Upon release in Western territories, the Vita version reached #2 on the PSN chart.[91]

Awards[edit]

Odin Sphere became the recipient of several website and magazine distinctions, particularly during IGN's "Best of 2007" PlayStation 2 awards, where the game won Best Artistic Design,[92] Best Story,[93] Most Innovative Design,[94] and Best RPG,[95] and was runner-up in the PlayStation 2 categories for Best Original Score[96] and PS2 Game of the Year,[97] additionally earning its developer Vanillaware "Best Developer" along with GrimGrimoire, also released in 2007.[98] The game also became the winner of GamesRadar's "Pure Beauty" award during their Platinum Chalice Awards, with the website remarking that "The graphics here are so artistic it's hypnotic, if not literally breathtaking."[99]

Legacy[edit]

The delayed release of Odin Sphere led to issues with the company: they needed to start other projects to keep their company going, leading to the development of GrimGrimoire. The development of GrimGrimoire drained the company's funds, forcing Kamitani to take out a flexible loan of 20 million yen to keep the company afloat and fund development for their next projects, in addition to finding these projects new publishers as Atlus refused to take any more of Vanillaware's products until they had seen how Odin Sphere performed commercially.[28][30] Nippon Ichi Software would handle GrimGrimoire, while Marvelous Entertainment accepted their next project, Muramasa: The Demon Blade for the Wii.[28] The commercial success of Odin Sphere both enabled the development of Muramasa: The Demon Blade and cleared Kamitani's debt. In tandem with their other titles, Odin Sphere helped establish Vanillaware as a respected developer.[30][31]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]