Saturday, January 30, 2010

Game of the Month (01/10)

January is running out of days and I wanted to get this done before the end of the month, so here goes, my game of the month for Jan. 2010.

I should reiterate, my Game of the Month selections in this column of my blog aren't necessarily games that came out in that month, rather, they are timeless games, games that I believe didn't get much appreciation or enough attention or just really damn good games.

I absolutely love this game. 

Odin Sphere (PS2)

This is a 2D sidescrolling action RPG from Vanillaware, who brought us Muramasa (which a lot of people seemed to play.) It was released a few years ago, on the PS2 and saw pretty good reviews. 

Odin Sphere@Gamerankings

Odin Sphere@Metacritic

By no means is it a perfect game, I'd say it has a fair few flaws, but it is absolutely gorgeous, and is somewhat of a beacon for me-with this and Muramasa: The Demon Blade (Wii), Vanillaware show us that 2D games have not been made redundant with today's technology. Muramasa, for example, is probably the best looking game I have played on the Wii.

The game plays very much like an action rpg, its very fast paced and quite hard at times. It rewards you for chaining combos together, not letting your enemies get attacks in is crucial. For many people, it is quite a hard game. Myself, I am not particularly good at very fast paced games, and in this game, I was really grateful for the difficulty options. I had to turn it to easy for quite a few of the bosses (some of which can be very difficult, even on easy)

There is a lot to do in this game as well, it is very long, so you will get value for money. It might be a bit too long for people. I guess the combination of the difficulty, length and perhaps repetitive hack'n'slash nature of the game in general might put some people off. However, if you are able to stick through it, the story is incredible. I really cared about the characters, even though there isn't a huge amount of dialogue, cutscenes etc in which to develop the relationships between the characters. The ending, wow. I got the true ending and it is really moving.

So, who would this game appeal to? Well, if you liked Muramasa, this is very similar and I believe quite a bit better, so check it out. Other than that, if you like sidescrolling sprite based games like Metal slug or the Castlevania games, this has similarities to both series. 

Odin Sphere has some quite unique and interesting gameplay aspects, the Plants, food and cooking, Alchemy and the Psypher and Phozon system. Through these, you are able to level up both your HP and Psypher, so 'grinding' in this game is not how you might expect it to be. Its very fresh and fun. Hell, you can even grow sheep from certain seeds! =D

So, check this one out if you are interested. I had a lot of fun with the game, along with a fair share of frustration. Some bits are hard, but if you persevere, it shouldn't be impossible. Odin Sphere is my game of the month for January. 

Next I'll be posting a Now Playing on Sunday, and if I beat FFIX soon, I'll start working on a review of that.

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