|By Charlie Goodrich||Friday, 1 Apr 2005|
I loved Star Ocean: The Second Story for the PS1 and could hardly wait for the sequel to come stateside. But when I got the game last September, my enthusiasm wore off. I don’t know why but SO3 didn’t grab me like the second one did. Everything about SO3 seems very mediocre and it felt like everything had been done before. Maybe my standards were too high from SO2 but this is still a fun game.
The graphics are nicely done. They won’t offer you anything you haven’t seen before but they get the job done. The characters are the real complaint. They lack emotion and detail. Everyone looks the same and most characters, when they do show emotion, either show it too much or not enough. The characters reminded me of Final Fantasy VIII. The main character was quiet and serious, and the supporting cast fit a wide range of clichés. I had seen all these people before. I was impressed with the environments. Planets that were suppose to look like 15th century Europe actually looked like 15th century Europe. Forests were teaming with life, and deserts lay desolate. A nice touch is that you are given rewards for exploring every inch of a dungeon. So you get to experience the beauty this game has to offer (just look away from the character running around). Kudos to the people that designed the settings.
The story had its ups and its downs. The beginning showed promise. You start at a resort that is soon attacked by another planet’s space armada, and you are forced to leave on an escape pod. The pod crashes on an “under-developed planet” and you get mixed up in a war between two nations. The game focuses on you trying to find your way home, and helping the planet you crashed on. There is a big plot twist but it’s been done before. I wasn’t as surprised as I probably should have been. Overall it is a fine story that gets the job done.
The combat system is quite enjoyable. Sticking with the Star Ocean franchise is the full action combat system. Once in battle, you have 100% control of your character. You can run up and start attacking the enemy, or stay back and cast magic, or you can perform hit and run attacks. Having this much freedom is a rarity in a RPG and it works well. My main complaint about the battle system is that people can die if they run out of magic. This pissed me off on many occasions. And since some enemies have attacks that focus on draining your magic this happens far too often.
The audio in SO3 not very good. The voice acting is atrocious. Most of the characters have high pitched annoying voices that make you want to kill someone. On top of that the script writing is pretty god awful. So you are forced to listen to these infuriating voices say stupid things. The music for the most part is bad. They use bad rap and some crappy rock in this soundtrack for reasons we may never know.
All of this adds up to a very mediocre game. I did have fun playing it but I didn’t have fun paying $50. This game isn’t worth $50, but if you can find it for at most $35 buy it. If you are new to the RPG universe then I suggest SO3 because you will not have experienced other games like this. But to RPG veterans rent first.