Friday, May 25, 2007

We have nothing to Sphere but Odin Sphere itself

I keep debating on whether or not I want to buy or Gamefly Odin Sphere. For those that don't know, Odin Sphere is an action heavy RPG from Atlus for the PS2. It was just released this week in the US, and I cannot decide whether I want to play this game or not. You can read IGN's review of it by CLICKING HERE and GameSpot's take by CLICKING HERE.

I first read about the game back in February when Atlus announce they would be bringing the Japanese developed game stateside (that is what Atlus does best). The game is a 2D side scrolling brawler with major RPG elements. The visuals are stunning, with amazingly large detailed sprites that make it look like it was designed for PC/PS3/360. Not since Symphony of the Night 2D made me truly impressed. NIS developed games are very nice (Disgaea, La Pucelle, Phantom Brave) but never that impressive because the 2D sprites are still images, not moving and flowing like in Odin Sphere.

But the NIS games are what make me NOT want to play Odin Sphere. There is SOOOOOO much freaking character/item management to do, that my OCD shows up and makes me get my characters and items to their most powerful, and I completely miss the story. I am always afraid to advance the narrative in case I am not powerful enough or prepared enough. Yes, that is me being neurotic, but it never happened to me in the 8bit-32bit days of RPG gaming. I always try to level my characters up stronger than they NEED to be in RPGs, but with games from NIS, there is no limit to their power, so I just keep leveling up! One level makes no difference, so I try for 10 or 20.

Odin Sphere sounds like it has large levels of item management, including alchemy with items. Because of my need to be powerful and find EVERY item in a game and have the best gear(again, OCD) games with alchemy systems often frustrate me because of the amount of work I can do. I prefer less customization over more customization when it comes to games like this. If FFXII had a similar grid system to FFX, then I would have enjoyed it infinately more. Instead, I spent 20 hours in FFXII leveling up and getting 90% of the stupid board cleared with each character, and having every single character be identical in battle.

So the game looks like a lot of fun, but the high level of management is what is turning me off. Having put over 100+ hours into past NIS games (Disgaea anyone? (yes, this is Atlus, not NIS)), I know how sucked into a game I can get, and at some point some my enjoyment of it entirely. My fear is I will love it at first, then get so annoyed or sidetracked by the micromanagement that I will never actually finish the game, and wind up bored and annoyed. I still have Tales of the Abyss I have not started (love the Tales games) so maybe I should play that first and let Odin Sphere be the big summer game.... either way, I hope to get some good gaming in this weekend. I just have to find a way to not let the Virtual Console be the only gaming I get done.

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