12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
A wonderful surprise,
This review is from: Star Ocean: Till The End of Time (PS2) (Video Game)
I'm not really sure what I was expecting when I bought a copy of Star Ocean - Square and Enix have both had proud heritages with regards to RPGs and being a fan of Final Fantasy games I felt it was worth experimenting for the little money it cost... I certainly wasn't expecting what I got.
The setting is a peculiar one; probably best described as a mix of an episode of Star Trek and a fantasy novel. Like most Japanese RPGs the translations can be a litte grating at times, not through bad grammar but in unrealistic semantics, however as a whole it is well presented and easily on a par if not better than the significantly more famous and successful FF. The voice acting is generally excellent, let down almost as spectacularly by the terrible casting of Cliff Fittir - thankfully this seems to be an unfortunate fluke bar one or two others. The good thing about it is that there's so much of it, you are actually surprised by the small segments that aren't voiced over. It really does add to the atmosphere immensely as does the literally vast content - considering that it took two DVD disks to fit it on goes to show it's sheer scale. Continuing my comparisons with FF, I'd say the storyline wasn't as epic as the many versions but perhaps is more satisfying as a result; I shalln't say less far-fetched but it's more in touch with real-life in how people interact with one another. In FF games they set out the good and the bad guys and a Love story which is fine but tiring time and time again, and whilst SO isn't MUCH better, it's enough to be a breath of fresh air.
The gameplay itself is entertaining too - far more fast paced than your usual RPG, the battle system being the best example. Gone are the infuriating random battles in favour of a more digestable method whereby many enemies can be avoided if you wish to merely travel somewhere quickly. When you do enter a battle also it isn't a case of two sides opposite each other in a turn based manner but a part action, part tactical system ala Phantasy Star Online. At first it's a little daunting but when you get to grips with it (which doesn't take long) it makes things a lot more interesting. The graphics range from good to spectacular, impressing most in the fact that there're literally hundreds of well constructed characters and thousands of locations with incredible detail, and with only a few FMV sequences when required.
As you can tell I'm impressed - if there weren't so many copies about then I believe that this would become a cult hit that would be selling for high prices on eBay in the future, having said that it means more people should be able to enjoy it. It's never going to get the time it deserves in the face of FF but to anyone who can look beyond will be rewarded with a massive, and most importantly, fun adventure.