There was a surprising number of side-scrolling RPGs at the show this year (at least four by my count), and first among them was Odin Sphere: Liefþrasir, the much anticipated remake of the PS2 classic. Now, I never played the original, so the depth of the changes are unknown to me. Here are a few things that came up from conversation with those who had:
- Vertically oriented stages, in addition to the usual roundabouts.
- Destructible scenery items, like pots and snowmen. In one stage of the demo, breaking a nest of eggs caused a bunch of salamanders to pop out of nowhere to flame me.
- New skills and attacks for each character. What these may actually be, I do not know. It was all flashy and fun, without being too button-mashy.
- NO SLOW DOWN. That may be the key selling point right there. The animation was fast and fluid throughout.
The action is fast-paced, fun, and addictive enough that I returned on three consecutive days to try different characters. With Oswalt, I frequently abused his berserker mode to blast through several stages, a mid-boss Chess Knight, and a Very Hungry Dragon in one long orgy of blades, blood, and death.
Velvet was a lot more fragile, dancing through the stages whenever she wasn't using her twin-tailed whip to swing like Spide-Man. It was so much fun latching onto a random mook and whirling him around like a wrecking ball to ruin everyone else's day.
And then there was Mercedes, the strafing fairy. The exact same demo level with her felt more like a crazy sh'mup bonanza, with fire bolts and green energy balls flying faster than she could.
The demo itself was an assortment of stages that Vanillaware admitted up front to be chosen just to provide a lot of variety. There were also intro movies for the five characters that popped up if you left the demo on the title screen for too long, and those were just as interesting in their own way. Fans of the original will be very happy with this one, I'm sure.