09 October, 2008

Game Journal: Odin Sphere (Story)


Odin Sphere is an opera with no singing. Everything's melodrama. Circumstances keep everyone knowing just enough to make tragically wrong decisions. There's even a dragon named Wagner.

The game doesn't follow the plot of Wagner's classic opera. There is a ring that serves as the MacGuffin, but it isn't thrown into the Rhine at the end. Brünnhilde and Sigfried (Gwendolyn and Oswald) live happily ever after. Odin also lives (though less happily, the big baby). I guess you could say this is an opera even more childish than "What's Opera Doc".

While I recognized a lot of classic elements of drama, I never cared about any of the characters in the game. Gwendolyn started as a devoted daughter, betraying her husband (by an arranged marriage) to give her father the ring. Then she falls in love with her husband, fighting to recover the ring as a symbol of love and then he himself from the underworld.

Story Summary
It all works on paper, but I never bought any of it. Gwendolyn felt like a suicidal whiner with daddy issues who became an unstoppable love driven killing machine. The transition between the two, when her loyalties were divided, was mildly interesting. But she remained a boring blank slate, always tying her identity to daddy or hubby. If the characters aren't interesting, who cares what happens to them?

And more importantly, now that I've seen the time line of all the campaigns side by side, I know that her story ends last. The idea that all the other stories are just filling in the background for this one doesn't make me very interested in seeing them. Plus I'm tired of the grinding and mediocre combat. I think I'll let Odin Sphere sit for a while.

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