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RPG Backtrack: Episode 63 - The Fault Lies Not in the Stars

JuMeSynJuMeSyn Code: KirinAdministrators
edited January 2012 in Latest Updates
Once upon a time, tri-Ace decided to borrow some elements from Star Trek in making an RPG. Thus was a series spawned that continues in intermittent spurts to this day, though not at a uniform level of quality.
Featuring stars... in an ocean, almost.
It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
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  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited January 2012
    I'm really interested to hear what you, the listeners, have to say about these games. Especially Star Ocean IV, since it has an interesting mix of both positive and negative reviews.
  • XR2XR2 Member Full Members
    edited January 2012
    Star Ocean 2 had a scenario near the beginning of the game that rubbed me the wrong way. After arriving at a village, Clyde's wallet is stolen, and must chase the thief all over town. Then, after getting it back, the thief gives the party a tour, so we see the entire town a 2nd time. Then, when I want to get on the boat to leave, I'm told that I can't and that I should go shopping. At this point, I had already been forced seen the town twice, and I just wanted to get on the boat and on my way.
  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited January 2012
    I remember that. I didn't have a problem with it, though I know for a fact that you were probably pissed after
    Spoiler:
    a bunch of natural disasters leveled that town to the ground.
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  • XR2XR2 Member Full Members
    edited January 2012
    That didn't help, though that at least explains why they did it. I just hated that they forced me to go through the town twice already, and were then "suggesting" (read: forcing) me to go back into town when I was ready to leave. One or the other alone would have been fine. Ideally the game would have forced me to walk around town once. Twice is pushing it, and reaching for a third is right out.

    I do understand that I am a little more sensitive to this particular design decision that most, but ahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!
  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited January 2012
    Again, I never had a problem with it, but then again, most towns in the game aren't that big, with the exception of a few towns (namely those damned Castle Towns). By the way, try Pickpocketing everything you can in the game. I've done it, and it's not easy, ESPECIALLY when you're at the end of Disk 1 and are
    Spoiler:
    back on the Calnus as Claude.
    It can get really annoying then, but that Duel Suit is well worth it (best armor in the game).
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  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited January 2012
    Well, XR, if it's any consolation, I do understand. I hate "Town tours," and having to do one twice would have made me super cranky. I just want to play the game, not be held, by the hand, all over town! LOL. Anyway, listen to the cast...it may or may not change your mind.
  • XR2XR2 Member Full Members
    edited January 2012
    While I haven't had a chance to listen to the cast yet, I did eventually pick the game back up and finish it. I've also played 3 and 4. I figured I'd save my complaints on those games for a later post.
  • watcherwatcher Veteran RPGamer Full Members
    edited January 2012
    DarkRPGMaster said:
    Again, I never had a problem with it, but then again, most towns in the game aren't that big, with the exception of a few towns (namely those damned Castle Towns). By the way, try Pickpocketing everything you can in the game. I've done it, and it's not easy, ESPECIALLY when you're at the end of Disk 1 and are
    Spoiler:
    back on the Calnus as Claude.
    It can get really annoying then, but that Duel Suit is well worth it (best armor in the game).
    The chase the thief portion doesn't require much that I recall, the subsequent tour is a bit annoying though.

    As for pickpocketing, the most important thing is to make sure Claude has the Dexterity talent. Preferably, you want him to start the game with it, otherwise you can miss out on some of the best stuff in the game, like the Mischief.

    I personally found SO2 and SO3 to be the most enjoyable of the series. I've put a few hundred hours into each of them.
  • WheelsWheels RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited January 2012
    Star Ocean 3 *shudder*
  • Fowl SorcerousFowl Sorcerous Dread News Editor RPGamer Staff
    edited January 2012
  • WheelsWheels RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited January 2012
    The nicest thing I can say about the Star Ocean series is it earned tri-Ace enough to make Resonance of Fate
  • RewindRewind Member Full Members
    edited January 2012
    Wheels said:
    Star Ocean 3 *shudder*
    I concur. It's the only game that I can recall quitting out of sheer utter disgust, and that was after playing it for well over 50 hours. The plot twist was awful and was made even more embarrassing when another developer (Atlas) handled a similar twist in a much better and enjoyable way.
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  • Severin MiraSeverin Mira News Director/Reviewer RPGamer Staff
    edited January 2012
    jcservant said:
    I'm really interested to hear what you, the listeners, have to say about these games. Especially Star Ocean IV, since it has an interesting mix of both positive and negative reviews.

    (Planning to listen to the podcast tomorrow at work but will put some general thoughts on IV here)

    Certain things were great, the battle system is right up there with the best of them. However, the story for me was 'ok', and it has some of the most frustrating and annoying characters I've encountered (Bacchus and Myuria were ok though). Do wonder how much of it might've been voice acting (played on 360) and if using the Japanese voice track would've made a difference. Something I may consider as I enjoyed the gameplay.
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  • XR2XR2 Member Full Members
    edited January 2012
    Tri-Ace would be awesome if they could muster up some scratch and hire a writer.
  • WheelsWheels RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited January 2012
    XR2 said:
    Tri-Ace would be awesome if they could muster up some scratch and hire a writer.
    Apparently they did for Resonance of Fate as that had an entertaining story
  • JuMeSynJuMeSyn Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited January 2012
    tri-Ace would be awesome if they could muster up some scratch and hire a writer.
    I've played exactly one tri-Ace game that did so (not having much experience with the company, take that for what it's worth): Valkyrie Profile.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • WhoompWhoomp Smorgasbord Full Members
    edited January 2012
    I never noticed the difficulty spike in SO3 and I have played through it twice. Don't know if I just managed to make the good weapons on a fluke (never used a guide) or just over leveled as heck but I never felt the main game was hard at all. The design of some later dungeons was annoying but not hard, it’s just that the tiresome problem of savepoint spacing just became more evident. About the story, I really liked the twist. The game was on a downward spiral, story-wise, and when that hit everything just became so wonderfully weird that the lackluster characters didn’t seem like such a big deal anymore. Weird can awesome if done right.

    Which brings me to SO4. Just invert that previous statement, this game is definitely not done right. Obligatory ugh…

    UGH...

    I feel so much dislike for this game. A cast of characters that is an amalgamation of all the datapoints awful anime characters should have to please every fanfic writer ever but fails miserably to deliver in any other way. They are not even clich
  • WheelsWheels RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited January 2012
    Whoomp said:
    Weird can be awesome if done right.
    Yes it can, but I didn't find butchering the mythology of two previous games to be very awesome
  • XR2XR2 Member Full Members
    edited January 2012
    My major complaints with 3 are the writing (including both plot and dialog), the item creation system, which was powerful but cumbersome, and the bonuses in the battle system. I love playing a fighter with this system. I also love how each character plays differently. But then they go ahead and ruin it by giving you bonuses for not getting hit, which means that if I want the bonus, I have to play the healer and stay as far away from the fight as possible. I don't think I've seen such a worse incentive in a video game. At least they mostly fixed this in 4.
  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited January 2012
    Wheels said:
    Star Ocean 3 *shudder*
    I agree. Just...UGH. Was so freaking linear (as in, you HAD to go through this map to reach this location) and long that I couldn't stand it, especially how SO1 and SO2 were "you have to go here eventually, but you can go to all these areas in the meantime just to explore". Not to mention that horrible script and the lack of Specialties and Super Specialties.
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  • WhoompWhoomp Smorgasbord Full Members
    edited January 2012
    Wheels said:
    Yes it can, but I didn't find butchering the mythology of two previous games to be very awesome
    I just view it as a weird tangent. As far as the mythology goes it's not that interesting in either of the games, at least SO3 acknowledge this by just saying "screw it" and does that. Never said it was good, just unexpectedly awesome in an otherwise dull story.
  • Strawberry EggsStrawberry Eggs The Bemused Administrators
    edited January 2012
    My experience with the series is extremely limited. It's only with the second game, and it's from one year during middle school when I would sometimes watch a friend of mine play the game (she was the same friend I watched play Legend of Mana). I don't remember much about it, save for the regular battle music and the hilariously bad battle voices.

    Speaking of music, I'm a little surprised that some of the tracks included in the podcast sounded very Baten Kaitos-esque. I mean I've heard pieces from Tales games, Golden Sun, and Resonance of Fate sound Baten Kaitos-esque as well, but for some reason I imagine Motoi Sakuraba reserving that style for the BK games.
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  • JuMeSynJuMeSyn Code: Kirin Administrators
    edited January 2012
    Speaking of music, I'm a little surprised that some of the tracks included in the podcast sounded very Baten Kaitos-esque.
    Motoi Sakuraba gets a lot of work. A couple sounded Shining Force III-esque to me, but that's hardly a bad thing.
    It's not what he's eating, but what's eating him that makes it ... sort of interesting.
  • omegabyteomegabyte He's just this guy, you know? RPGamer Staff
    edited January 2012
    JuMeSyn said:
    Motoi Sakuraba gets a lot of work. A couple sounded Shining Force III-esque to me, but that's hardly a bad thing.
    Musically, Star Ocean is kind of all over the place. It's one of Sakuraba's few regular series that really doesn't have a thematic style for it. It's a hodgepodge of everything he's ever done, and it's always confused me a bit. It regularly goes from sweeping orchestral ballads to edgy hard-rock anthems, and it can be a bit jarring a lot of the time, especially since they're often used in the wrong places (especially in SO3).
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  • e_pe_p New Member Full Members
    edited January 2012
    A s a hero and person with a singularly important opinions I wanted to share my thoughts on Star Ocean and since you're doing Breath of Fire next time that as well.

    I played about twelve hours into the first Super Famicom game and thought it was pretty decent. Certainly flashy looking for a 16 bit game. I played the PSX SO2 all the way to the end and got stuck at that final boss fight. I'd say it's worth playing if only for the voice acting which is pants-soilingly hilarious. I remember spamming the heck out of some throw a blue fire dragon/wolf/thing at the enemies. The third game on the PS2...I don't really watch much anime, but I'm guessing the characters are modeled after some archetypes I'm unfamiliar with? When my PS2 froze after playing the first 30 minutes (dying DVD drive) I was relieved. Every single character in that game's voice and behavior made me crave murder.
  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited January 2012
    ^You got BOF3 and BOF4 mixed up. BOF3 was the one with the Dragon Genes.
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  • omegabyteomegabyte He's just this guy, you know? RPGamer Staff
    edited January 2012
    o.O What's up with the massive Breath of Fire post? This cast was about Star Ocean... Confusing
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  • ShayminShaymin The Gratitude Pokemon Full Members
    edited January 2012
    The next one is about the Breath of Fire games, though.

    OK, just so I know, the big Shyamalan twist in 3 is
    Spoiler:
    the whole thing's a computer simulation
    ? I didn't dream that?

    Also Squenix's inability to re-release their PSP back catalog on PSN is immensely frustrating, as I think I found a copy of SO 1/2 on PSP once in stores before it fell off the face of the earth. (See also; Profile, Valkyrie).
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  • jscarpejscarpe Member Full Members
    edited January 2012
    I have only played a couple in the series (SO1 on the PSP and currently playing SO4 on the PS3) and while I have enjoyed what I've played so far I always feel like the games have wasted potential. Melding a sci-fi setting with RPG certainly hits my interests, but these games so far seem to be pretty linear and don't really revel in their setting and explore all the possible opportunities it provides. Now I don't mind linear stories, but when you give me a sci-fi universe and a ship, I want to travel around to different planets and see lots of places and aliens. The stories in the games I've played seem very traditional JRPG stories, I take it the other 2 are similar?

    Also, I found the transition from world map to battles to be particularly jarring and kind of take me out of the game. Maybe I'm spoiled by Yakuza which has the protagonist and enemy circle around one another with people crowding in to watch the fight really gets me excited for the battle. The loud alarm sound and spinning circles just annoys me and reminds me that I'm playing a game.
    Despite the complaints, I'm still enjoying SO4 so far and have SO2 & 3 sitting in the backlog; maybe this podcast will help me decide where to put them in the backlog.
  • watcherwatcher Veteran RPGamer Full Members
    edited January 2012
    I kinda wish they'd just stick to SO2 style games, with higher res graphics, and spend the saved cash on writing/script.

    Edit: Oh, and they REEAALLLY need a new voice acting director on the English side.
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