gamers (90%) found this review helpful
Star Ocean is, overall, a decent RPG. It walks a bit of a tightrope between positive and negative, and depending on your tastes can go either way.
For starters, the good. Star Ocean has a fantastic battle system. Open world, no random encounters, and real-time battle (with AI controlling your other party members). Combat is intense, fun, and involves a wild array of great spells, special abilities, combos, etc. There's a real character progression in both abilities and equipment that makes you look forward to each level up. The bonus board is a great system that lets you tailor your style of gameplay (though having my board broken without being able to do anything about it really gets on my nerves). The music, by the venerable composer Motoi Sakuraba, is phenomenal. And lastly, the character animations in the cutscenes have some great facial nuances (eyebrow movements, squints, shrugs, etc) that bring a lot of character to the, well, characters.
Which brings me to the bad. Star Ocean contains some of the most annoying characters and worst writing, voice acting, and plot that I have ever experienced. Cliche anime characters, annoying mannerisms ('kay?), zero chemistry, excessive invocation of the "friendship" theme, creepy perversion (character accuses you of wanting to look up her skirt, just out of the blue), etc. It was truly brutal to endure. I hated every unskippable (well, you can either skip the whole thing or watch; you can't zoom through dialogue) cutscene, the sometimes unresponsive camera, and the way everyone constantly talks about how amazing a leader the main character is despite the many spectacularly bad decisions he makes or his epic whining and yelling out of nowhere... It was really difficult to feel motivated to play through.
That said, the good outweighed the bad. Barely. It was fun enough to overlook the flaws (your mileage may vary), but it's just a shame when it could have been much better. Overall, not a bad RPG.
gamers (83%) found this review helpful
You can read many of the ratings between 7-9 and even a few undeserved 10's to understand what you are going to get into. However, allow me to restate the important downfalls on this game that appear as constant problems throughout and be assured that much of what others have said in praises are true.
English voice acting is atrocious. There are two voice actors who work well for their roles, everyone else however brings the game down significantly. Luckily you have the option to change the dialogue to Japanese which brings me to my next issue.
I am not Japanese so I can't tell you if they share the same feeling as westerners on overstating everything. This holds true with nearly every JRPG game and you tend to get used to it, it doesn't make it any easier on your ears however. This was the glory of the alternate voice actors. Put the dialogue in Japanese.
In short, if you like JRPGs, this is still a little over the top. Also switching the visual style will put you more in the frame of mind for the world it takes place in.
The battle system is addicting but difficult. A thing with Star Ocean games in general is that they are brutal and merciless when it comes to tutorials. You begin this game with a 1 hour long tutorial on everything about fighting, then it's good luck. There is no gradual learning of combat over time. Which is actually awesome for second and third plays.
On a closing note: the story is strong, but it gets a lot of it watered down by poorly timed JRPG moments, which is just on the fault of the director. This is a problem when you are trying to get drawn into the willing suspension of disbelief. It is hard for one to accept that a band of kids and stereotypes are going to save the galaxy when the atmosphere keeps bringing you out of the feel of the game.
Ending note: Turn on Japanese voice acting, change the visual style of the menu, endure the JRPG parts (they had the best intentions in mind)
posted by johnnyme95 (STATE COLLEGE, PA) Feb 18, 2010
Member since Sep 2008
gamers (79%) found this review helpful
Having played the previous star ocean and being well aware of Square Enix style of games, this game comes just as expected. The battle system is unique and a great 3d version of the previous style. There is plenty of gameplay so I was not easily bored and this game could be bought becuase of its value. (a game you play less then 10 hours and never play gain should never be bought.) I have played over 30 hours and am maybe half way. So many people are comparing this to the FF series. This game belongs in the Star Ocean category and it is the first refreshing JRPG on the PS3. Not to burst anyones bubble out there, but FFXIII is also going to be melodramatic. That is just the JRPG and Square Enix's way. I think many of you will be dissappointed om march 9th. I won't because I know what to expect and I enjoy all of it.