Warning, gigantic wall of text ahead. I've never been a fan of japanese linear RPGs, mostly due to their choice of protagonists which all too often consists of an adolescent metrosexual male lead, and some flat generic female lead whom I can not bring myself to care about. But a few things drew my attention to Odin Sphere: 1. The gorgeous 2D character sprites and artwork. 2. The 2D Side-scrolling beat-em-up oriented gameplay. I'd usually give a lot more thought before purchasing a game, but those factors alone compelled me to get it. The choir soundtrack is beautifully appropriate for the game, though sadly there's been no word of an official OST to be released... The gameplay is indeed much like a 2D Side-scroller, with RPG elements thrown into it. The game rewards fast reflexes, but failing at that, one can simply level each character up to be able to withstand a lot of punishment (like I did). One cute gameplay feature is the recipes. Gather and bring the appropriate materials to a cafe or kitchen, and it will be cooked into a delicious meal for your character to munch on to increase HP. But the gameplay can get tedious and repetitive after a while, even with the varied characters. And like any RPG, there's grinding involved, so blah to that. The story involves the usual epic impending armageddon type story, heavily laced with heart-wrenching romance and drama. While it sounds run-of-the-mill, it was absolutely gripping for me, so much so that I wished the game wasn't so long, so I could find out just what the hell happens next. I sometimes really don't like tragic, heart-wrenching tales (especially the bad endings of the game). It affects me deeply, but I could not turn away... It's amazing how much drama they can portray with a single fixed 2D camera perspective. The game is encompassed in the form of storybooks read by a little girl named Alice. The story here is uniquely played out in that it is initially divided into five arcs, one for each main character. These arcs start and end in different timelines, and often intersects with the other characters. The sixth storybook involves all of them at the same time. Speaking of the characters... Gwendolyn is the first character you play. She is the second daughter of King Odin, who rules over a war-centric nation filled with barbarians and valkyries. Female warrior protagonists rarely catch my interest, but Gwendolyn's genuine compassion for others and constant emotional struggle really captivates me. She also feels inferior to her older sister, whom she believes her father loves more than her. She later becomes romantically involved with Oswald. Cornelius is the second character. He is the prince of Titania who's been cursed and turned into a cute widdle bunny wabbit. It's simply fun watching go round being a gallant knight in that bunny form. He is romantically involved with Velvet, which is the reason why he's in this whole mess to begin with. This is Mercedes. Yes, Mercedes. She fills the loli niche, nuff said. She also carries a huge repeating crossbow, and is probably the most fun character to play as due to her shooty-ness and flight capabilities. She later becomes romantically involved with a frog. It's no surprise that she has to kiss to the frog so that it may turn into a handsome prince, but she's got issues about planting her lips on icky and slimy frogs. This is Oswald. He's the bishi, brooding, dark character type. My favourite character of the lot. His foster father sold his soul to the Queen of the Netherworld, and in return grants power to Oswald and the ability to change into his Shadow form. Things don't go well for the foster father of course, and Oswald slowly loses his reason to live. Then he finds Gwendolyn. This is Velvet. She is hot. Don't really need to know much else. This is Odin, Gwendolyn's huge-ass daddy, and the titular character. He's not a playable character, but he deserves mention simply for being large, intimidating and having a very cool english voice. Oh yeah, the game has a choice of english or japanese voiceovers. I personally ended up with the english one. If you're a fan of anime in general, but don't plan on playing the game, I HIGHLY recommend at least going through Blitzmage's Odin Sphere YouTube videos, which documents every single cutscene from start to finish. This so needs to be made into an anime series. (Cutscene starts with 'The Cauldron War' and ends with 'Curtain Call') http://youtube.com/results?search_t...ded&search_category=0&search=Search&v=&page=5 If anyone is planning to pick up this title, better do it soon, from what I heard Atlus games have tendency to become rare.