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Star Ocean: Till the End of Time

Adriaan den OudenAdriaan den Ouden Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy GroundRPGamer Staff
edited October 2008 in Staff Review Blogs
With both Star Ocean 1 and 2 on their way to the PSP and Star Ocean 4 tentatively scheduled for mid-2009, in addition to the likelihood that I will, in fact, be playing and reviewing all three, I decided to break out the third game in the series and play through it again, just to complete the set of reviews. ?It's been a long time since I played this game, but I did enjoy it back when it was released, despite a few issues. ?I'm about four hours in now, and so far, aside from not being nearly as good at it as I once was, it's still as enjoyable now as it was a few years ago.

Man, I really forgot how much I love the soundtrack to this game. ?Sakuraba outdid himself. ?Infinite Undiscovery reminded me a lot of this soundtrack, but hearing it in all its glory again is just fantastic. ?I'm in <span class="spoiler">Arias</span> right now and the music here is just fantastic. ?Still don't like the techno-rock pieces thrown in, though. ?They just seem out of place.

The game should be pretty easy for the first half, thanks to a trick I picked up on my first time through the game. ?Completing one of the earlier maps and selling a few things netted me enough cash to buy Fayt a Holy Sword, a weapon that the game doesn't really intend for you to buy until midway through. ?As a result, he destroys things pretty quick, which should help me progress a bit faster.

Unfortunately, I'm sort of playing this game as a side project. ?Other games are going to be dragging me away on a fairly consistent basis, so this blog might not actually be finished until close to the release of Star Ocean 4. ? Whenever I'm between games, I'll be jumping back into this, so just keep an eye out for updates.

<i>09/22/08 - 08:25</i>

Ahh, the crafting system. ?I knew it would rear it's ugly head eventually. ?This is undoubtedly the most frustrating part of the game, because, while it's unquestionably deep and complex, far more so than pretty much any other RPG in existence, it has the single worst method of actually creating the items ever. ?It is literally impossible to make serious use of it without a strategy guide or several dozen hours to experiment.

Luckily I happen to <i>have</i> the strategy guide so I will be able to make great use of it. ?Huzzah! ?But seriously, the crafting system sucks. ?Fix it for SO4 please, tri-Ace. ?Please.

Just about to leave <span class="spoiler">Peterny</span> now. ?As I recall, <span class="spoiler">Roger makes his first appearance soon. ?Always liked that kid.</span>

<i>09/22/08 - 10:25</i>

Gotta love that <span class="spoiler">Roger. ?Such a two-faced little brat, but something about him is just so adorably awesome.</span>

I've been noticing something odd with the gameplay during this playthrough, and I think it's because I'm using a PS3. ?I recall playing the game originally on my PS2, you really had to press the button down hard to active a skill. ?However, this time around using a Sixaxis, the skills go off with hardly any press at all. ?In fact, I'm activating skills by accident a lot, and it's really annoying because when I accidentally use Side Kick it cancels Burning Blade. ?Anyone else noticed this playing other PS2 games? ?Does the DualShock3 maybe have buttons more akin to the PS2? ?If so, I may go pick one up. ?It's really freaking annoying.

10/11/08 - 00:25

After putting it down to play SO1 and Sonic Chronicles, I'm finally back into it. The war just ended, so that's another major event behind me.

I did end up picking up a DualShock3, but so far it hasn't really been an improvement. I've still found myself activating skills I don't want to, but alas, I guess I'll have to live with it. Eventually it won't matter anyways, since I'll be doing so much physical damage MP damage will be pointless.

10/15/08 - 13:15

I spent a lot of time on the game tonight. Got through the <span class="spoiler">Urssa Lava Caves</span>, which reminded me just how spiky the difficulty in this game can get. I went from decimating enemies with Nel's Shadow Wave attack in the <span class="spoiler">Ruins of Barr</span> to doing 0 HP and MP damage. I tried switching to Fayt and using Ice Blade, but the attacks weren't much better. 2 MP damage instead of 0. At least I could kill them, if I put enough time into it.

Instead, after dealing with the events, I grit my teeth and dealt with what I was dreading... the awful item creation system. And it is BAD. The strategy guide helps a ton, but the success rate is so god-awful and selecting and reselecting "Original Creation" until the right item value appears is so utterly stupid I have to wonder if the game designers were high or something. Eventually I was able to make a couple of Orichalcum and refine them once each, giving Maria and Fayt an extra 1000 attack power. That let me deal with the enemies there quite effectively.

At this point, I'm now about to leave <span class="spoiler">Moonbase</span> after a massive leveling and item creation spree. I've refined both Maria's and Fayt's weapons to +3000 attack power, which should be more than enough to finish the game. I still have a ways to go before I can upgrade Sophia's weapon with Dark Matter, but the time will come. Until then, she's just a useful healer.

God, I already miss SO1. Hopefully they don't try to pull this crap with SO4, because I swear, I will rip tri-Ace a new one in my review if they do.

10/16/08 - 07:40

I just arrived in <span class="spoiler">4D Space</span>, home of the infamous plot twist, and now that I'm experiencing it again, it's really not as bad as I remember it being. It certainly doesn't flow properly from all the events that lead up to it, but it's interesting in its own way. And a lot of the stuff that people have complained about not making sense are explained to a certain degree, though only briefly. Particularly, <span class="spoiler">the question of how exactly computer programs from a virtual world could gain a physical existence in the real world is explained by Maria's "alteration" gene, which has the power to alter the state of matter. If that's the case, it's possible that she subconsciously manipulated molecules in the air to reproduce their bodies. It's no more far-fetched than the virtual world concept to begin with.</span>

10/17/08 - 12:00

I'm now in the final dungeon, so the game will reach it's conclusion tonight, most likely. As such, this will be my last update.

It's interesting how differently a bit more experience in the game world can change your view on a game. I recall when I originally played the game I had major problems with the story and item creation system, but I loved the battle system, but this time around, all three have had their problems. However, the story, strangely enough, has grown on me. There is far too much coincidence at play during the second part of the game, but the plot twist really isn't as bad as I remember it. It makes a strange kind of sense. I'd completely forgotten how irritating Fury is, as well as anti-attack auras.

One good thing that's come out of this is that I've found a good way to spend time between new games on my review list. I have a personal issue with starting a new game I know I'm not going to be able to finish (it just bugs me), but when the game is one I've already played, it's not that big a deal.

So, the question now, then, is what do I play next? I could continue down the tri-Ace path and replay Radiata Stories for a review, or I could hop over to my other favorite action-RPG series and replay Tales of Symphonia, my all-time favorite game for a review. I'll let you guys decide, and I love both of those games and would love to play them again.



Maybe I'll log out and check my e-mail or something...
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Comments

  • TriaTria Member Full Members
    edited September 2008
    Try Star Ocean: Blue Sphere as well.

    I think it's the second best in the series. It's excellent, especially for a GBC game. There's no English translation, but you can generally find where you're going (and there are guides). It's awesome.
    Recently Finished RPGs:

    Resonance of Fate - 4.5/5
    Tales of Graces (Import) - 2/5
    Ys VII (Import) - 2.5/5
    Final Fantasy XIII - 3/5
    Nier - 1.5/5
  • Adriaan den OudenAdriaan den Ouden Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground RPGamer Staff
    edited September 2008
    <div>
    (Tria @ Sep. 21 2008,12:53)</div><div class="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div class="QUOTE">Try Star Ocean: Blue Sphere as well.

    I think it's the second best in the series. ?It's excellent, especially for a GBC game. ?There's no English translation, but you can generally find where you're going (and there are guides). ?It's awesome.</div>
    I don't play import games as a general rule. It's not so much that I can't understand the story, it's that I can't understand the interface. Menus are hard to navigate if you don't know what they say, and its hard to figure out what items do, etc.
    Maybe I'll log out and check my e-mail or something...
  • CidolfasCidolfas Member Full Members
    edited September 2008
    There's been a fan translation in the works for way too long.

    SO3 bugs me. There's a lot of really great stuff about it, but like many tri-Ace games it's just bogged down by two or three awful design decisions and one or two terrible balance and challenge issues.
  • shoptrollshoptroll Have towel will travel Full Members
    edited September 2008
    <div>
    (Cidolfas @ Sep. 22 2008,09:27)</div><div class="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div class="QUOTE">There's been a fan translation in the works for way too long.</div>
    Isn't that one of Gid's pet projects? The man has like a gazillion things going on at any time >_>
    So long & thanks for all the fish!
  • MeoTwister5MeoTwister5 Member Full Members
    edited September 2008
    SO3 really just broke me because of the plot "twist" and the philosophical mess that was the ending.
  • CidolfasCidolfas Member Full Members
    edited September 2008
    Yep, it's one of the myriad Aeon Genesis projects. I was actually asked to help with some of the hacking... must have been at least four years ago. I dunno if he kept my tool or not. It's been in limbo for ages.

    AGTP is one of the last ROMhacking projects that's still doing quality, big-name releases. The translation scene has quieted down a lot.
  • YoyocoolYoyocool Member Full Members
    edited September 2008
    The ending of SO3 (i mean like when you beat the final boss) was a mess and a bit stupid if you ask me but in the end; it's the only one that made Star Ocean still revelant to it's own storyline.

    Here's somewhat a explanation from me in spoiler tags
    <span class="spoiler">
    [spoilers] ?With the big twist of them going to 4D space and finding themselves out to be a videogame (you know it's still a good twist and makes me question my existence XD); ?it basically cheapens everything done in Star Oceans as to be mere nothing. ?The Federation, the Moorians (if you paid attention to star Ocean 1), and the whole Roxnis and his father being the greatest hero's basically means nothing in the sense they were programed to do it. ?But with the ending being that the universe being erased and having everyone still live, then it means that their live is so much more than just zero's and ones. ?

    It just sucks that they couldn't explain it any better and that it totally shouldn't be the case if something like that happen but whatever you know? lol [/spoiler]</span>

    Btw, i'm playing the game too ^^ All i have to do is beat the Maze of Tribulations biggrin.gif . I just don't know how to past the Level 4 floor. <span class="spoiler">Like The doors locked in the second section of it and there is this thing that tells me that let the darkness be my guide</span>. I just don't know what to do

    Edit: I really, really, really, hope that Star Ocean 4 gets a new crafting system. The one From Star Ocean 2 would be good enough for me but still i would like something new that's awesome. I can't say how much i hate SO3 creation system = \



  • shoptrollshoptroll Have towel will travel Full Members
    edited September 2008
    <div>
    (Cidolfas @ Sep. 23 2008,12:25)</div><div class="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div class="QUOTE">Yep, it's one of the myriad Aeon Genesis projects. I was actually asked to help with some of the hacking... must have been at least four years ago. I dunno if he kept my tool or not. It's been in limbo for ages.

    AGTP is one of the last ROMhacking projects that's still doing quality, big-name releases. The translation scene has quieted down a lot.</div>
    Yeah, with j2e and Dejap deaths, I really haven't paid much attention in the last couple of years. I was actually shocked when I found out about the FM5 translation project. AGTP is probably one of the few sites I check somewhat regularly still.
    So long & thanks for all the fish!
  • nakamuranakamura Member Full Members
    edited September 2008
    Hated this game. Battle mode was a total mess and the topdown view didnt appeal. The music as always with Sakuraba was dreadfully inconsistent. Some amazing piece and some so so bad. I got over halfway and just had to turn it off, was a chore to play in the end.

    Tri-ace are so often hit and miss, but the problem is they are often hit and miss WITHIN a game so you get a package with many great elements and many bad ones.
  • YoyocoolYoyocool Member Full Members
    edited September 2008
    I have to say the battle system was the best part of it and improved on SO2
  • nakamuranakamura Member Full Members
    edited September 2008
    i just found the battles to be too ott and easy to die with little control.
  • CidolfasCidolfas Member Full Members
    edited September 2008
    The floor that mentions darkness I believe requires you to beat all the bright light enemies that are wandering around. Major pain.
  • TGBarighmTGBarighm Member Full Members
    edited September 2008
    I liked the crafting system in Infinite Undiscovery. Simple, yet deep and effective, much like most MMO's. They should use that.

    Tried to purchase a copy of So3 recently, but the actual game disc had disappeared from the box, so I couldn't get it. Got $5 knocked off the other game I bought though. I actually hated SO3's "fatigue" system or whatever it was that broke the action so a character could take a break, but it had been awhile since I got a new RPG, so I figured "what the hell". If SO4's is more like SO2's, I'll be very happy.



  • StormofSwordsStormofSwords Crazed Bullet Miser Full Members
    edited September 2008
    <div>
    (omegabyte @ Sep. 19 2008,08:46)</div><div class="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div class="QUOTE">I've been noticing something odd with the gameplay during this playthrough, and I think it's because I'm using a PS3. ?I recall playing the game originally on my PS2, you really had to press the button down hard to active a skill. ?However, this time around using a Sixaxis, the skills go off with hardly any press at all. ?In fact, I'm activating skills by accident a lot, and it's really annoying because when I accidentally use Side Kick it cancels Burning Blade. ?Anyone else noticed this playing other PS2 games? ?Does the DualShock3 maybe have buttons more akin to the PS2? ?If so, I may go pick one up. ?It's really freaking annoying.</div>
    Yes, the DualShock 3 is much more like a PS2 controller, it should solve your problems, i know it solved mine when i was playing MGS3 on PS3. Really, i would have to recommend springing $50 and picking one up. If you play your PS3 at all, you won't regret it, it's simply better.
    Madness is a complete statement. Saying more would be pointless.
  • Psycho PenguinPsycho Penguin Member Full Members
    edited September 2008
    Star Ocean 3 turned out to be one of my favorite RPGs ever smile.gif
  • Adriaan den OudenAdriaan den Ouden Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground RPGamer Staff
    edited October 2008
    *updated*
    Maybe I'll log out and check my e-mail or something...
  • RenmazuoRenmazuo Member Full Members
    edited October 2008
    MP Damage is very useful for most of the game. You can kill enemies much faster with it.
  • GooseAssGooseAss Member Full Members
    edited October 2008
    i wish they would have redone the art for this game. the CG backgrounds look atrocious by today's standards- looks like stock renders out of 3DS Max R2 or something, especially in comparison to First Departure's art, which is really really nice.
  • Adriaan den OudenAdriaan den Ouden Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground RPGamer Staff
    edited October 2008
    i wish they would have redone the art for this game. the CG backgrounds look atrocious by today's standards- looks like stock renders out of 3DS Max R2 or something, especially in comparison to First Departure's art, which is really really nice.
    Wrong game. This is SO3, not SO2.
    Maybe I'll log out and check my e-mail or something...
  • GooseAssGooseAss Member Full Members
    edited October 2008
    lolz @ me! maybe next time i should try reading the thread title?
  • Psycho PenguinPsycho Penguin Member Full Members
    edited October 2008
    The thing about this game is that most of the bosses could be killed easier by doing MP Damage, so damaging items actually came in handy for a change. Seriously, does anyone ever use these battle items in RPGs? I rarely ever do but they came in handy in this game.

    The more I think about it, the more I think I like this more than SO2. I think SO2 would probably play "slow" if I went back to it now. This game has super fast paced battles. Unfortunately, the voice acting isn't as cheesy. sad.gif Cliff rocks, though.

    Oh, and the thing I liked best was you could get to a certain point.. a secret dungeon, I think, and right at the beginning there were these enemies that weren't too tough that gave a lot of experience. Just control Maria and stand back and keep shooting with her gun and never let them touch you, and you could rack up an insane battle chain and get tons of experience/gold in a real hurry.

    I loved this game. biggrin.gif
  • Adriaan den OudenAdriaan den Ouden Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground RPGamer Staff
    edited October 2008
    The thing about this game is that most of the bosses could be killed easier by doing MP Damage, so damaging items actually came in handy for a change. Seriously, does anyone ever use these battle items in RPGs? I rarely ever do but they came in handy in this game.

    The more I think about it, the more I think I like this more than SO2. I think SO2 would probably play "slow" if I went back to it now. This game has super fast paced battles. Unfortunately, the voice acting isn't as cheesy. sad.gif Cliff rocks, though.

    Oh, and the thing I liked best was you could get to a certain point.. a secret dungeon, I think, and right at the beginning there were these enemies that weren't too tough that gave a lot of experience. Just control Maria and stand back and keep shooting with her gun and never let them touch you, and you could rack up an insane battle chain and get tons of experience/gold in a real hurry.

    I loved this game. biggrin.gif
    You don't get Maria til halfway through the game, so you must be confused.

    You're probably thinking of Moonbase. Moonbase rocks for levelling.
    Maybe I'll log out and check my e-mail or something...
  • RenmazuoRenmazuo Member Full Members
    edited October 2008
    I always controlled Maria, she was a fun character to play as. And like Penguin said, her long range attacks make battle chains easier to maintain.
  • Adriaan den OudenAdriaan den Ouden Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground RPGamer Staff
    edited October 2008
    I always controlled Maria, she was a fun character to play as. And like Penguin said, her long range attacks make battle chains easier to maintain.
    I switch between Fayt and Maria usually, though I just got Dimensional Door with Fayt, which is an awesome skill to use from a distance. I'll likely still switch back and forth every now and then, but Dimensional Door does some awesome damage.

    Also, blog is updated.
    Maybe I'll log out and check my e-mail or something...
  • RenmazuoRenmazuo Member Full Members
    edited October 2008
    Maria's moves do surpising damage once you've level them up enough. And she has a huge energy beam that can decimate most enemies in one hit (the beam stays until you're out of MP or release the button I think, pretty cool).

    But as the main character, Fayt ultimately does the most damage.

    You're going to fly through the rest of the game now that your weapons have +3,000! tounge2.gif



  • Psycho PenguinPsycho Penguin Member Full Members
    edited October 2008
    Seriously, this game became EASY as hell at that point. Fun stuff, though.
  • DravDrav A Serious Man Full Members
    edited October 2008
    Is there any way to play this game while completely ignoring item crafting altogether? Because I'm kind of interested in picking up my ~10 hours-in game again some day but won't bother if I have to go through this much crap.



  • Psycho PenguinPsycho Penguin Member Full Members
    edited October 2008
    Yes, you don't need to item craft at all contrary to what some people will have you believe. It make the game a lot easier if you do a simple formula (seriously, it's so easy even I pulled it off), but you don't need to do it at all.
  • CidolfasCidolfas Member Full Members
    edited October 2008
    I disagree. If you don't do any crafting at all you will run into difficulty spikes that are almost impossible to get past at least once in the game. Leveling up gives you negligible stat increases; only crafting really gives you a leg up against some of the very cheap enemies you'll come across later in the game.
  • RenmazuoRenmazuo Member Full Members
    edited October 2008
    Leveling up your moves gives you noticable advantages. Maria's Pulse attack quadruples in damage from first use to maximum proefficency.
This discussion has been closed.