Ode on a Nordic sphere

Please allow me to express my sincere opinion that Odin Sphere is pretty freaking wonderful. I tried to express as much in my 1UP preview, although in somewhat less effusive terms because, you know, restraint and all that. I think what makes me happiest is that this is one of those rare occasions when a mind-blowingly beautiful visual style isn’t simply masking a game bereft of actual substance but is in fact a delicious layer of goodness atop an absolutely playable (and strikingly creative) bit of creative genius.

Come to think of it, this month pretty much belongs to Atlus. Between Odin Sphere and Etrian Odyssey, they’re effectively winning the day for intricately hardcore role-playing games with decadently beautiful graphics. Single-handedly! I, for one, am not complaining.

Also, new Retronauts podcast for the week. I’m finding that these tend to come out much better when I play the role of host and keep my mouth shut throughout the duration of the show, since it’s easier for me to direct conversation that way and prevent too much of the dreaded “everyone talking at once” syndrome. This is slightly galling since the point of me volunteering to produce this stupid podcast in the first place was so that I could talk about old games. Hrmph.

27 thoughts on “Ode on a Nordic sphere

  1. odin sphere, etrian oddessy, persona 3, and grim grimoire (in spirit, at least). wonderful gaming.

    and your preview and my review share a lot of common ground. how far did you get in?

  2. Arg, what the crap. My comment got screwed up.

    Anyway, Kohler is right: We need World Heroes, post haste.

  3. Hey guys, I got my Odin Sphere review code today! Can I join your secret club? I’m awesome too! And I haven’t even played it yet!

    (Also yeah, Etrian Odyssey is pretty much entirely fantastic.)

  4. I’m considering this game Atlus’ personal birthday gift to me. Except with a modest surcharge. And it may not arrive on time. And I may need to call around to just find a place that has it. And that’s assuming my PS2 still works at that point.

    But other than that, it’s a damn fine gift.

    You were a little on the gushy side (as you’ve basically put the play style and mechanic on trial, and testified and convicted it of being guilty of awesome before putting much in the way of opposing arguments), but I guess that’s the preview thing. Got to save something for the review, after all.

    About how long we talking you got to play it?

  5. ‘…the dreaded “everyone talking at once” syndrome.’

    I love that, actually. It makes it sound more like an authentic discussion than, say, a roundtable on This Week With George Stephanopolous. Also makes relistens rewarding when you realize that underneath the din was an amusing literary reference or two.

    So, please. Interrupt with impugnity.

  6. honestly, the only bad thing to be said about this game is that it will be ignored by the gaming masses.

  7. “I’m finding that these tend to come out much better when I play the role of host and keep my mouth shut throughout the duration of the show, since it’s easier for me to direct conversation that way and prevent too much of the dreaded “everyone talking at once” syndrome.”

    I don’t know that the above is true. I mean, not having everyone talk at once, not having people talk over each other, allowing people to say what they need to are all good. But I sometimes feel that, when you don’t know much about the topic, the show lacks energy. Sometimes that can be provided by others, but in this week’s and last week’s episode, I thought there was a certain something missing, while the Marathon episode, for all that it was marred by people talking out of turn and cutting others off, was very entertaining because everyone was obviously into it. Maybe it is just that, when you don’t know a lot about the topic, it is harder to impose a good structure (e.g., when discussing Diablo, we should be sure to talk about A, B, and C).

    Anyway, these are my random retronatus thoughts.

  8. The only way you could effectively put an end to the ‘everyone talking at once’ syndrome would be to model yourself after John McLaughlin and have this really haughty authoritative tone commanding individual commentators to speak and limiting them to one topic at a time. Then abruptly cutting them off when you get sickened and bored from how they are unable to keep their thoughts within a two sentence maximum.

  9. My goodness but that IS a nice looking game. A shame there are no movie clips to show it in motion – I’d like to see some of the effects you described (layered backgrounds, character motion, etc.).

    Holy crap, am I actually thinking of purchasing a new game? I am! For the first time in many, many years… amazing. Your endorsements carry great weight, Mr. Parish!

  10. This is going to be the summer of Atlus for me between Odin Sphere, Etrian Odyssey, and Persona 3. I’ve also started replaying Persona 2.

  11. I don’t understand what issues you have with Gauntlet 2. It’s basically identical to the original, and I know my memory isn’t playing tricks on me, because I tried them both out for the first time in a while after hearing you make that comment. Sure, you might expect more from a sequel, but why would you like the one and not the other?

  12. I think the next episode is going to be AWESOME, but I said as much on the Retronauts Club.

    Please bring us a Chrono Episode soon.

  13. “That Sheffield character is a keeper.”

    I kinda hate the way he changed once he married Mrs. Fine.

  14. Also, Neo-Geo is the longest piece of hardware ever sold? Try the personal computer instead, buddy. Or the stereo.

  15. Oh, true. How could I forget all those great RPGs and fighting games I’ve played on my Sanyo hi-fi.

  16. Hardware man. It’s that broad. Video game console on the other hand…

  17. I clicked a link and watched the trailer on a whim. The music and graphics are evocative on a deep level. Yes, my jaw did drop. Literally.

  18. Man, if only I were on a Chuck Barris show. Then somebody could hit me and this horrible god awful performance would be yanked off the stage.

  19. Ordered both Odin Sphere and Etrian Odyssey on Amazon last week. Ah…and Lunar Knights two days ago.

  20. Isn’t it awesome to order from Amazon. Just last week I ordered a book called “The Changing Face of the Priesthood”. A book that’s pretty much about how the catholic priesthood is full of closeted homosexuals. It’s awesome.
    I bet Odin Spheres is nice, like, when you are fifteen.

  21. How about bringing that girl from a couple of episodes back, uh, back? Unless the guy from this last episode is that girl, and she wasn’t a girl at all, in which case, how about bringing a girl in?

  22. “That girl” would be Kathleen Sanders from gamevideos/The 1UP Show. I enjoyed her contributons on the Marathon show. Also, add me as another vote for Jeremy not holding back participation in the discussion. I realize that it can get a bit hectic sometimes, but I appreciate the banter and passion. I can always rewind and replay as necessary.

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