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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published by: Atlus
Developed by: Vanillaware
Genre: RPG
Players: 1
Rated: T (Teen)
Release Date: May 22, 2007
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

“2D games will never die…”

Over the past decade, developers have been making the transition from two-dimensional gaming, to the immersive third-dimensional realm, ushering a new era in video gaming superiority and creativity. Beyond titles for the Game Boy Advance, DS, and the PSP, there were very few 2D titles being made for the console market. As the current generation has come to an end and the dawn of the next-generation is upon us, there are still some developers who feel that old-school style of gaming is venture worth investing in. Because of this, Atlus and Vanillaware have teamed up to created a stunning example of why 2D gaming will always live on in Odin Sphere for the Playstation 2 console.

Upon popping the title into the consoles and starting the game, you immediately notice that this one of the most beautiful titles to grace any console, let alone the Playstation 2. All of the character sprites are full of rich detail, moving fluidly throughout the action within the game without any hiccups. Another immediate attention grabber would be the backdrops. Each backdrop looks similar to a highly detailed watercolor painting, which gives off the sense of depth. The visuals are so breath-taking that it really doesn’t matter if you were playing this title on a HDTV or just your regular standard definition sets.

The story of Odin Sphere revolves around five individual characters trying to lay claim to a relic, known to them as the Cauldron, for their respective kingdoms. So within this title, you can already tell that there are five different stories worthy of exploring. Depending on which character you decide to play with, the others would have cameo spots within that particular story, showing you how each of them intertwine with one another. When all the fighting and magic casting has stopped, the story of Odin Sphere is portrayed through a series of highly-detailed cutscenes.

After playing this game for a few hours, my perception of the title changed dramatically. At first I though it was a simple button-masher that we see all the time, but in fact this title has more depth than a lot of high profile games out in the market today. As your fight various enemies, you will collect small yellow orbs known as phozon. These orbs can be used to level up your character and allow them to inflict damage on the surrounding area through the use of spell-casting. During your adventures, you can also collect seeds, which will aid in recovering health, especially during boss battles. Once you acquire the seed, you would plant it into the ground, which will in return blossom you fruit to help you recover health. While all this may seem simple and intriguing, it’s not without a few twists. The same phozons that you collect to gain experience and magical power are also used to help feed the growth of your seed. So there will be moments where you have to decide whether leveling up is more important that retaining health for an intense battle coming your way.

All the action within Odin Sphere takes place on various worlds, all of which follow a simple structure. Each world features several different levels, which are then broken into small, multiple sub-stages. I know some gamers will try to play this title like you would play old-school Mario and sonic titles, and because of that, they will be in for a rude awakening. In order to advance to the next stage, you must complete given tasks for that particular stage. Upon completing the stage, you will acquire several different exits that allow you to advance to the next stage, but at the same time return to that stage if you need to do some quick level-gaining. Once you have made it all the way to the boss, you can expect some over-the-top battles. The bosses tower of you, which has become a come staple in videogames as of late.

Another nice addition to Odin Sphere is the crafting/recipe system. As you play through the game and acquire “material”, you can create potions that can inflict massive damage on your enemies. But for those lovers, not fighters, you can create potions that will health yourself in times of need. You can also take your fruit and seeds to the restaurant and/or café and create new food items that have a tremendous affect on gaining experience, more so than just collecting phozons.

For those gamers who think there’s nothing worthwhile to play on the Playstation 2, they need to go out and pick up this title. Not having played 2D games in awhile, I had my doubts about this title, but as you can see, Atlus and Vanillaware made sure this was a memorable experience. This title boast exceptional depth in its gameplay, rich graphics, and story that will have you playing this game multiple tiles.


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Gaming Evolution
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