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Odin Sphere

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wow. another beautiful game that plays like crap. well sure, the controls are tight, and the alchemy isn't too bad. you're rewarded for doing well in a stage. all of these points are good aspects, but the flaws literally break the game for me.

- the game's difficulty is way over my head. i've seen more gameover screens in the first hour than i've seen in any game in forever. they've put in difficulty settings, i had to reset it to easy after the 3rd stage. they seem to have built the game around that fact; you restart the stage automagically when you die with your stats reset to when you came in. that's bad game design, to me.
- they allow the dizzy status effect much too early in the game, and allow it more often than i think is fair to. poison they introduce early on as well, and its not quite as bad.. but i've died enough times from not having antidote or materials to make them.
- the inventory system is broken. you're allowed to buy a bunch of neat-o items at the start and you really can't keep them all if you need to stock up on healing items and antidotes. finding items is difficult when you don't remember which bag they were in, and arranging them is even worse. you have to drop it on the ground and then switch to the bag you want it in, and pick it up again. i guess inv management is one of the gameplay mechanics expected to be performed. bad designers! [edit: oops, apparently if you press R2 after opening the item ring, you can get into something more complicated. i'll have to try that.] [edit 2: yeah, the R2 thing lets you move stuff around easily. i still think its kinda broken though.]
- the hp bar gets lost amongst the enemies' and i'm too busy concentrating on the battle to look up at the corner to see my numbers. i'm rarely aware of my hp status and so i often die before i realize i was supposed to get away and heal. this might just be that i haven't figured out what to glance at yet, there's an hp bar up there, its just buried.
- [edit: scratch this point. i just didn't play it quite long enough.] you can go back into stages but they don't respawn monsters. its hard to play with the systems and stock up if they don't give you chances to get more money and items. i'd plant alot more if i could spare the seeds, and even more difficult is getting the phozons to appear so the plant can grow and bear fruit. if there aren't any monsters to kill, there usually isn't any butterflies, and the only other way is that special plant that bears 12 phozons. and you can guess how often those drop..

i paid $50can for the thing, so i'm going to play it a bunch more. its interesting how they strung together side-scrolling stages and maps, it reminds me most of River City Ransom. but anyways.. i'm still glad i bought it. lots to learn from here.
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