Odin Sphere Leifthrasir

Game review by
David Wolinsky, Common Sense Media
Odin Sphere Leifthrasir Game Poster Image
Solid but repetitive action steeped in Norse mythology.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Centers on two countries locked in war, so even those who wish for more moral, caring actions must put their feelings aside, engage in lethal warfare.

Positive Role Models & Representations

People wish to go against king's wishes but feel obligated through loyalty to go against their personal wishes.

Ease of Play

Straightforward combat, but there's a learning curve in deeper play systems such as farming, making potions, managing recipes.

Violence

Fantasy violence skews closer to cartoony, arcade-like whacking, thwacking with medieval weapons. 

Sex

Partial nudity, but not in an oversexualized way. Some plot elements touch on adultery, child abandonment.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some characters imbibe alcohol in spirit of celebration in battle victories.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Odin Sphere Leifthrasir is a remastered version of a 2007 PlayStation 2 game called Odin Sphere. Like its predecessor, the game focuses on five intertwining storylines steeped loosely on Norse mythology. The setup is classic RPG fare, with plenty of whacking and thwacking in cartoonish combat with medieval weapons. Some characters have revealing outfits and show partial nudity, but it's not handled in an oversexualized way. There are some plot elements revolving around adultery and child-abandonment issues. Some characters drink alcohol in celebration of battles but are not shown drunk. Combat is easy to understand, but fully grasping the deeper gameplay mechanics can take some extra time.

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What's it about?

ODIN SPHERE LEIFTHRASIR borrows loosely from Norse mythology, specifically Ragnarök, or how the world gets completely submersed in water following a major battle resulting in the death of a number of major figures and the resulting occurrence of various natural disasters. That's just a fuzzy jumping-off point, and creative licenses are taken in the retelling of the myth, framed in a book a young girl is reading in chapters from the perspective of a valkyrie, a prince, a fairy, a knight, and a witch. Sometimes their stories intersect in unexpected ways, meaning you will be battling a character you controlled earlier.

Is it any good?

This game has such a crazy and creative mashing-together of different influences -- Wagnerian operas, Norse mythology, just to name a few obvious ones -- that it's hard not to be sucked in by it. Deeper in, though, it's also not hard to see the ways this game is fairly conservative in what it is as a game. Although it doesn't add many new refinements or creativity to the usual run-and-jump-and-fight that an action-RPG game typically has, it does get points for effort. There are sizable skill trees with different magic spells and abilities to unlock. Additionally, the map system and world layout is creative for a two-dimensional action game: There are intricate levels with branching areas to explore, and each 2-D area actually exists as a sort of loop, meaning you're walking in circles everywhere you go and need to keep an eye out for different exits and entrances. 

But the larger game itself also feels that way. There's a repetitive nature to the different systems within the game: Whether you're fighting enemies and big bosses, mixing potions, or scavenging for ingredients for recipes, the same actions seem to be required. So, ultimately, it all comes down to your appetite for combat, your appetite for thinking strategically for battle, and your literal appetite for harvesting ingredients. And while the game does deserve some love for its lush storybook visuals and stylized looks, it can't make up for how one-note the game can feel in extended sessions. Again, it all comes down to your appetites. This game has a lot of different elements in it, so Odin Sphere Leifthrasir is worth a look and a try. But don't come expecting something wholly unusual and wildly creative. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why mythology and myths in general are so enduring, even when they're fables and don't have human characters in them. Does this mean we and our morals and principles aren't changing much? If not, what does that mean? Does it matter?

  • Why do game companies update or rerelease older products that are still able to be bought on store shelves or online? Is it to expose players to games they missed, or is it simply to make money?

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