I was a bit puzzled as to why no one was taking the direct approach to stopping King Valentine. Many times in the story, he was narating his plans to use Levanthan as an instrument of destruction, in front of a psypher-wielder, and then said psypher-wielder would idly stand and watch as the mad king walked away with his future bringer of the armageddon. True, he was immortal, but if someone at least hacked off his skeletal arms he wouldn't be able to carry Levanthan around.
A lot of this can be explained. Gwendolyn and Oswald never actually encounter Valentine (which is really unfortunate, seeing as how Oswald would probably be the most likely to attempt to off him). Mercedes encounters him only briefly and is told to run the hell away by Brom. Velvet likely just can't bring herself to kill him on the psychological level. Odin actually did try to crush him to dust, but decided it would be crueler to allow him to continue existing. There's really no excuse for Cornelius though; maybe he just didn't consider Valentine to be worth killing.
Are Gwendolyn's wings real or a part of her battle costume? The vendors and the Vanir say she's a human. The male Aesir have no wings and appear human. Whereas a Valkyrie's wings are located at their waists, Odin's wings are located on the ends of his shoulders and look like mere decorations. He also has no wings on his head save when he's wearing his helmet. Gwendolyn apparently has no wings when she's not suited up for battle, but they might be hidden under her dress' large skirt, since the wings are, as said, located at the waist.
Answered! According to a thread at Cosplay.com, those wings are magically animated parts of a Valkyrie's armor. The cosplayers on the thread determined this from deciphering the Japanese notes written in the character sketches for the game. If the wings are not part of Gwendolyn's body, it would thankfully mean that having those wings destroyed during her fight with Leventhan means she's not actually crippled.
Are the axe-soliders of the Aesir short humans or big dwarves? If they're not human, are all Ragnanival men so large, or is that we only see their massive leaders and captains? The Axe Knights of Titania are just as large, mind.
Apparently, the members of Odin's race are called "Berserks", and they grow larger and larger with age and power. The axemen are the average Berserk, the Huge Berserker Minibosses are the elite. The Axe Knights in Titania may be men with Berserk blood maybe....
The game's based on Norse Mythology, right? Then why did they feel the need to dump in elements from The Bible that had counterparts in Norse Mythology that they could have used instead? Why is the last chapter called "Armageddon" and not "Ragnarok?" Furthermore, why is the final boss of that chapter Leviathan when they could easily have called him "Jormungard?" If they wanted to do that, they could have just called it "God Sphere" and be done with it. Furthermore, why is Odin using a mace? Whatever happened to Gungnir? Whose idea was it to rename Hel "Odette", and where was Loki during all this? You'd think he'd be involved, even if he was bound by his son's entrails he wasn't there at Armageddon as he was in the myths.
Because it's Japan. Look at what they did to Christianity.
In addition something being "based on" x doesn't mean "identical to" x, or even necessarily "all that similar to" x. Instead it means that a fair number of important ideas were taken from the mythology. While it'd have been cool to have the entire story have as many references to Norse mythology as possible it's hardly that bad or unexpected for it to make a fair number of changes for whatever reason.
Because it wasn't exclusively based on Norse Mythology and I don't think they wanted it to seem as though it was. I really don't think Odette was meant to correspond to Hel, for instance.
Hello? Goddess of the Underworld?
There's also the fact that Hel was supposed to be beautiful on one side and rotting on the other. Odette applies this creatively, by keeping lovely flesh on her face and bosom, and being skeletal everywhere else.
This game is based primarily on Wagner's ring cycle, which itself modified a good bit of Norse mythology, so you're also getting a "twice-removed" effect.
By the way, Leventhan has a reference to Nordic Mythology: Leaventine (or something like this) was the Flaming Sword of Surt.
Late to the party, but Gungnir IS in the game. It's simply being used by Gwendolyn.
Don't get me wrong, I love this game (I call it the best PS2 game even). But how come the stories don't intersect when they should? For example. Oswald meets Gwendolyn at the beginning of Gwendolyn's story, but that is never seen from his POV in his story. Guess the creators didn't think want to create a sense of repetition.
Yeah, they probably didn't want it to feel repetitive. They also probably wanted to avoid showing points where your current character gets the crap kicked out of them by another character. Oswald sort of does this to Gwendolyn when you control her at the start of the game, but that's about the only time it happens.
I was really looking forward to fighting Gwendolyn as Oswald. I was disappointed when it was just two Halja again. Would have been nice to fight more of the other heroes with each of the characters, or to have a sort of "White Room" match-up option.
To be fair, the Dual Halja battle occurs more or less around the same time Gwendolyn is fighting the dragon, and thus after their initial fight. Basically, it's explaining why Oswald wasn't there to kick her ass again.
The endings bug me. Look, we know that the books are true (more or less) because of the good ending. However, we only have one scene from the author's point of view. That's when the merchant is talking to the camera and we see all the main characters walk or fly by, Velvet's state indicates that it happens during the late game too. This implies that the author traveled to this time or this world and then came back and wrote about it. The problem is...how could the author write about the end of the world if there were only four people left!?
I always thought the last scene was just the game Breaking the Fourth Wall as a thank-you note for the players, as opposed to an actual plot-relevant ending. It's called "Curtain Call" for a reason.
The endings bug me for a different reason: you go through all this trouble throughout this whole game, and for what? The world still ends! Only two people and—I was never quite clear on exactly how many—at least some of the Pooka (maybe just Velvet and Cornelius) make it, and that's it. The worst example of the PCs is poor Mercedes, who breaks her back in her story trying to learn how to lead her people, and then just as she's getting the hang of it, everybody dies, rendering her Moment of Awesome victory over Odin nothing more than a Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!. I think Alice even says something to the effect of the ending being nothing but one big downer. And it's not that I'm against sad endings as such, but this is about a hair's-breadth removed from straight-up Shoot the Shaggy Dog. YMMV, obviously, but it didn't even feel like it jibed with the tone of the rest of the game to me.
How was victory over Odin a Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!? It only really meant that HE died in the end, and really, would he have mady much of a difference in halting Armageddon if he lived?
Definitely YMMV, since I was expecting something akin to The End of the World as We Know It as soon as the Norse Mythology (particularly Richard Wagner) influence became apparent. Although I agree that it would have been nice to have Mercedes survive, it would have gone against the whole Götterdämmerung theme. Also, I get the impression that Velvet and Cornelius were the only Pooka to survive.
To add some perspective to Mercede's ending, the final art of the great tree that sends its roots into the netherworld to be with Ingway implies they got a happy end of sorts as well, and Mercede's became a literal World Tree that enabled the world to flourish again.
As for what the point of it all is, its to get the ending that allows life to continue when fate has made it very difficult to avoid complete extinction of everything. And even those who die are not gone for good, thanks to the system of reincarnation that is present in the game's world. By preserving even a few humans one enables them all to come back over time.
Why does everyone praise the graphics so much? They're nothing super special, especially since areas and monsters repeat so much. There were games released in 2001 that were more impressive visually. Besides, the long loading times and lag on everything makes it even more regrettable. Bosses especially are prone to this graphical slowdown, sometimes to a crawl. Whyyyyyyyy.
"Nothing super special"? I wonder what you're comparing it to... Anyways, it had a very unique art style for a 2D game, unlike what most people would think of when they hear the word "2D" (usually it'd be something akin to the Street Fighter series' hand-drawn sprites and similar styles). And the other gripes don't really have much to do with the art style itself, but more with the game's level design and frame-rate issues...
In terms of animation, they are detailed sure, but the range of animations applied to them is minimal. It's almost like watching concept art animated, but there's only about 10 or so poses for each character in the game, outside of battles where there are more of course. Also Final Fantasy X was the game that came to mind, which had a much more visually appealing style and at least some more variation. In a nutshell, the graphics are not amazing which is something I hear tossed around a lot with this game, and the recycling of assets makes it even less so.
Everything is animated, though, even most of the backgrounds. The colors are rich, the designs are stylistic, and especially for 2-D sprites, richly detailed; certainly moreso than the non-cutscene FFX models, at least, and they aren't prone to awkwardly clipping through solid objects the way polygon models do. Whether one likes them or not is a matter of personal taste, but from a purely technical standpoint, Odin Sphere's visuals maintain consistent levels of high quality; the average PS2 RPG from that era has spikes of epic badass graphics in between wandering around mostly-empty environments.
Personal taste. You say the graphics are not amazing. I say they are. Which one of us is "right"? Both of us and neither of us.
My friend describes Vanillaware games as "a playable painting".
This isn't really an issue with the game itself...but who does the English voice of Odin? No matter how much I search, I can't find anything, and it's bugging the hell out of me, because I could swear I've heard his voice before. And it's not just me. I've know of several people who are having the same problem.
Why don't Oswald and Cornelius ever figure out that they are each other's cousins?
Oswald himself states that he never knew his birth parents, and the sole point that he's of Titanian Blood only comes about during the end of the world. As for Cornelius, it's likely that Edmund only told him a little bit about his uncle Edgar, whom is Oswald's father, given that Edgar abdicated long ago. Besides, if you notice, they never cross paths in their stories, and by the only time they do show up in the same scene, Oswald's passed out from pushing himself to save a falling Gwendolyn, and Cornelius is still on the mend following his fight.
As big as a fan I am of this game's story and characters, I won't deny there are some issues with the plot that I have. A notable example occurs during the Armageddon book. What actually happened to Beldor in the True Ending? The False Ends where either Mercedes, Gwendolyn, or Oswald have him stabbed in the back by Ingway while Velvet's Darkova ending has him wandering off after he discovered that Ingway dropped the scroll with Darkova's spell somewhere in the firestorm, but it's never shown what happens to him when Cornelius fights the Darkova.
I personally imagined that he either got crushed underfoot in the battle, or he got far enough away, only to get incinerated by King Onyx, whom was looking to use the razed Ringford as his new kingdom.