Star Ocean 5 Stream – The Value Of Gaming Discussion, Games I’m Looking Forward To, E-Sports Are Trash

0:00 – 7:00 Updates and stuff

7:00 – 11:33 Talking about Star Ocean 5

11:33 – 19:00 My opinion on alcohol and the hypocrisy of people who don’t drink it for health reasons.

19:00 – 32:45 Why consumer criticism is undervalued

32:45 – 41:30 Why I want to grow an audience on Cynical Gaming Blog/Youtube

41:30 – 45:15 Talking about Star Ocean 5 some more

45:15 – 49:50 Being in minority groups, going against the masses

49:50 – 54:50 Measuring games in terms of popularity and value are completely different things.

54:50 – 1:00:00 The need for intellectual gaming discussion and why I need your input

1:00:00 – 1:09:46 Getting rid of Steam Greenlight was a bad idea. How the problem needs to be solved.

1:09:46 – 1:11:10 ReviewTechUSA stealing Silent Rob’s video

1:11:10 – 1:15:48 Explaining my principles

1:15:48 – 1:27:00 The importance of focused game design

1:27:00 – 1:32:27 Talking about Sidequests and how games need to focus on solving problems by improving pre-established features

1:32:27 – 1:39:50 How influencing the mass market is like playing the game design lottery and why it’s so important to do so

1:39:50 – 1:48:38 The truth about Tri-Ace and why Star Ocean 5 was poorly received.

1:48:38 – 1:54:45 Learning and setting skills

1:54:45 – 2:04:35 Looking For Sidequests and Private Actions

2:04:35 – 2:58:30 Games I’m looking forward to playing in 2018 + Witcher 3 Rant

2:58:30 – 3:21:40 Experimenting with Synthesis and Item Creation

3:21:40 – 3:25:25 Continuing with main story

3:25:25 – 3:47:00 The problem with E-sports and why I think we’d be more better off without them

3:47:00 – 3:50:47 Stream ends

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Star Ocean 5 Stream – The Purpose Of Invested Empowerment In RPG’s, Valkyrie Profile 3

0:00 – 5:45 Introduction/Updates.

5:45 – 46:35 Talking about invested empowerment in RPG’s and whether or not leveling systems matter in RPG’s anymore.

46:35 – 1:14:30 Talking about the Star Ocean series.

1:14:30 – 2:05:31 Talking about other games (SEGA games, Level 5 games, other tri-Ace games and F-Zero GX) and Star Ocean 5’s story.

2:05:31 – 2:14:27 Talking about what I want to see in Valkyrie Profile 3, if it ever happens.

 

Grandia 3 Review

Grandia 3 review Thumbnail

So after years of waiting, we finally got Grandia 3 in the UK via Playstation Store. It was a hassle to access the US Playstation store but regardless, I have finally finished it and quite frankly I’m quite glad I got to experience this game, even if it is a bit rough around the edges. What do I mean by this? Well it is pretty much the opposite of everything that made Grandia 2 so great in the first place.

Allow me to elaborate. When this game was first released, people were in uproar about it, some consider it the death of the Grandia series, others just consider it to be a mediocre title which was nothing more than a disappointment. Hey, that sounds like the perfect game for me to review. So I picked the game up and gave it a go. How bad could it possibly be?

grandia 3 review 24

First of all, I would like to talk about the visuals of this game since they are a considerable improvement from Grandia 2. The world of Grandia 3 is certainly a looker, not the best looking game I’ve seen but it has certainly been given a makeover that stands out if you’ve played any of the previous Grandia games. It feels great to actually play a Grandia game with such great visuals. Sure Grandia 2 Anniversary Edition improved on the visuals somewhat and made them a lot easier on the eyes and actually made them quite likable but Grandia 3 really has a fresh new style that is unlike any of the previous Grandia games.

One thing I would like to note is that Grandia 3 feels like a much more open-ended game than Grandia 2 but don’t let this fool you, the game is every bit as linear as its predecessor though to be fair, you are able to backtrack this time around thanks to the game’s flight system which allows you to freely roam the world map in a similar way to Lost Odyssey in the sense that it is very restrictive and in a lot of ways kinda pointless considering the linear nature of this game.

Grandia 3 Flying around is kinda pointless

For a theme centered around freedom to roam the skies, you’d expect the game to deliver that feeling of freedom in its structure but sadly this is not the case, instead when you approach certain areas, you merely get a text box telling you about it, kinda like in Mass Effect. It’s such a shame since there is a huge world out there to fly around in yet you only get to explore a small portion of it. It’s such a shame really.

While we are on the topic of the game’s theme, let’s get straight to business and talk about the games laughable story. Where do I even begin? For starters after having played the legendary Grandia 2, it is easy to see how this game has come to receive such a negative reception. You would think that after playing a game like Grandia 2, the story would be exciting and fresh, sadly this is not the case this time around, the story of Grandia 3 is about as exciting as a baked potato.

Grandia 3 Trying really hard not to make a dick joke

Trying really hard not to make a dick joke

While Grandia 2 went off the beaten track with its protagonist, in Grandia 3, you are presented with Yuki who follows just about every single cliché in the book as a JRPG protagonist. His only standout feature is his love for planes… not that I consider that a good thing, rather It comes across as obnoxious more than anything else. Typically the game starts off with the protagonist, Yuki getting scolded by his mother Miranda for being too obsessive over his hobby.

But believe me, Yuki doesn’t get any sympathy from me. After crashing his plane like an idiot, he is left stranded in the middle of a forest a couple of miles from his hometown and encounters a young girl named Alfina… you know what this means don’t you? That’s right, get ready for some boy meets girl action in the form of yet another bland, uninspired romance that contributes absolutely nothing to the plot… hurray!

Grandia 3 Review 9

Little did I know that the entire build up of Yuki’s character was about to capsize from here on out. Now Yuki must escort Miss Bigears to a place called Arcriff, a place of worship dedicated to communicating with the guardians. Sound familiar? Anyways the story starts getting duller and duller from there.

Put simply if you’ve played any JRPG, you’ve seen Grandia 3’s storyline already. It pretty much deflates into a quest for macguffins once you reach the halfway mark and by that point, the story never really evolves past that until you face the big bad evil thing at the end.

Grandia 3 review 13

To make things even more insulting, the only two redeeming characters leave the party early on in the story. This cripples the story as they are replaced by two dull characters who barely have anything to offer in terms of personality and they are mostly cardboard cut outs. In fact, these characters are so bad that you could remove them from the game and it wouldn’t change a thing.

Now in a game like Grandia, this is particularly worrying since the Grandia series has always revolved around its interaction between characters and with a cast of characters as dry as oatmeal, its efforts to focus on character interaction are pretty much wasted.

Grandia 3 Review 6

The nature of the Grandia series remains unchanged however. Grandia 3 follows the same formula as the previous games. Its focus on NPC interaction is still an all you can eat buffet of narrative and the dinner scenes return to add more flavor.

You can tell that Game Arts were trying to focus on building a strong narrative as they continue to use the same tools that made Grandia 2’s story so engaging, it’s just a shame that the characters and the plot of Grandia 3 are so sterile otherwise it could have made for yet another memorable and engaging storyline.

Grandia 3 review 18

Where the game truly shines however is in its battle system. Like the previous Grandia titles, Grandia 3 uses an active time based (ATB) battle system with a heavy emphasis on changing the flow of battles through cancelling enemy attacks and manipulating the IP gauge to intercept enemy turns.

Grandia 3 enhances the system by rebalancing the game’s difficulty to make for a more challenging experience. In addition, the game adds new aerial combos in an attempt to mix things up. Sadly while aerial combos have their uses early on in the game, their effectiveness diminishes later on as enemies are given insane amounts of health and this tends to make many of the boss fights a slog.

grandia 3 review 22

Fortunately many of the boss fights are varied, some of which can be quite difficult to figure out at first. The game keeps things fresh by offering plenty of devastating abilities to be used by both the player and the enemy. It is important to stay on your toes in all battles as you are usually outnumbered by multiple enemies and if your characters are widely spread out on the IP gauge, you may find yourself in a compromising situation if you make the wrong move.

Thankfully the game offers a wide assortment of abilities in the form of moves/magic to bolster your arsenal. Every ability is useful, you just need to find the right one for the job. That’s JRPG combat 101 right there and while many JRPG’s forget the significance of this, Grandia 3’s combat focuses heavily on making the player’s choices feel important. Add to that the need to manage SP more carefully (due to the lack of SP restoration items available) and you have a surprisingly deep combat system which offers plenty of variety to keep things fresh for the entire duration of the game.

grandia 3 review 23

Character Management is different this time around. New moves are learned via leveling up rather than with special coins. Moves are enhanced at random. I personally dislike this as it can sometimes screw you over in battles since attacks will be pulled off instantly when a new secret method is learned (the process of leveling up moves) which can ruin a potentially well-timed cancel. I also dislike the randomness of move leveling. Grandia 2 gave the player total freedom with learning moves which led to several balancing issues, however this method is still preferable to the method used in Grandia 3, at least in my opinion.

Magic is pretty interesting this time around. While the spells in your arsenal are more-or-less the same, the method of learning magic has drastically changed from that of Grandia 2. On one hand it complicates the progression system, on the other hand it is a more balanced system that prevents players from acquiring high level spells too early. Magic eggs can be dropped by most enemies and are surprisingly very common, they can be used to enhance the effects of spells or they can be consumed to learn new spells. Abilities work the same way allowing you to equip skill books to increase the potency of specific skills or consume them to learn new skills. These can be equipped at any save point.

grandia 3 review 21

In addition, there are higher level eggs available which can easily be acquired through mana egg fusion. This allows you to access powerful magic when you wouldn’t normally be able to. It is important to note however that characters have a set magic level depending on how high of a level they are. As such the system is balanced and you can never learn spells that are too powerful. To some, this could be seen as a bad thing, however mana eggs can still be equipped to increase the potency of spells to make up for this allowing you to grow stronger should you wish to.

Ultimately when comparing the gameplay of Grandia 2 and Grandia 3, Grandia 3 comes on top just by a small margin, this isn’t to say that Grandia 2’s gameplay was bad, many of the fundamentals that make Grandia 3’s gameplay so great were lifted straight out of Grandia 2, they have just been improved this time round which is expected of a successor. Sadly it is difficult to call Grandia 3 a true successor to Grandia 2 as it falls short in the department Grandia games are known for, story.

Grandia 3 Review 27

Personally, I do not often prioritize story in videogames. Grandia 2 was an exception for me and I honestly didn’t expect Grandia 3 to be anything quite like Grandia 2 but the combat is ultimately what won over my interest in this game. While I disagree with some of the systems used in Grandia 3’s character management, the combat itself is actually quite engaging to say the least. As such I cannot say that my experience with Grandia 3 was as bad as many people make it out to be. To be honest I quite enjoyed it.

The music is what sealed the deal for me, despite this games shortcomings, it still has a solid soundtrack, not as good as Grandia 2’s but a solid soundtrack nonetheless. Add to that the eye-catching visuals and you have yourself an enjoyable game. That being said, I can understand the negative reception this game has received, as a Grandia game it is pretty weak and its linear story focused structure limits its potential. Add to that a couple of irritating songs and a few lackluster dungeons leaving you with just another run-of-the-mill JRPG which just falls short of being yet another classic PS2 RPG.

Grandia 3 Mirror mirror on the wall, who's the evilist of them all

Truly a work of art! Oh wait, that’s a mirror, never mind…

So all in all, Grandia 3 is not as bad as people make it out to be, while it is far from being a true successor to Grandia 2, it is still worth the experience. If you can find the game for cheap, give it a try. It’s not a bad game, just don’t expect too much out of it. Put simply if you’re starving for some JRPG action and you’ve played all the best, you aren’t doing yourself a disservice by playing this game, you should be able to find some enjoyment out of it. While this may come as a surprise to you all, I actually had a hard time tearing this game to shreds as much as I’d have liked to.

I really didn’t expect to like this game. Though the story may have been laughably bad and cringeworthy at times, I’ve definitely experienced worse (*cough*White Knight Chronicles*cough*). It gave me some good laughs at least… seriously what is with the blatant similarities between the story of Grandia 2/3 and Devil May Cry 4? Even the voices for Yuki and Alfina return to play the same roles in Devil May Cry 4 as Nero and Kyrie… plus why does the villain look so much like Ganondorf and why does he wear black patches on his face? Seriously dude, grow a beard or something. Plus what is with that wannabe Arngrim guy named Kornell? Why is he such a doofus? What is his purpose in the plot besides being comic relief? We may never find an answer to these questions. All I can do is give the game its final score.

Grandia 3 Could he possibly be evil

Seriously who the fuck is this guy!? What is his purpose in this game besides just being there?


Story/plot: Pretty Bad

Visuals: Good

Gameplay: Great

Music: Good

Lifespan: Decent Length

Would You Replay? No


 

Overall: Satisfactory

 


 

Value: £15.00

For a more in-depth look at the story, watch this video:

Exist Archive + Nier Automata Stream – Talking About Nintendo

 

Plenty of Nintendo talk and other stuff, couldn’t exactly come up with a better topic to talk about so I was mostly playing along enjoying my time playing the game. I have some more content coming up but it’s been delayed due to the fact that my splitters have et to arrive. I also discuss my troubles with let’s playing and coming up with an alternative idea to bring more filler content to the site because as we all know, people love some filler content.

Ok, ok I get that people don’t care about this sort of content, I just want people to know that I’m here and that I’m working on stuff so by making filler content it gives me something to do in between other blogs or when I don’t have anything planned. Currently I have a review in the works but I am having issues getting the images due to a delay on the arrival of my composite cable splitters. Hopefully this will be resolved. As for Painkiller, I really don’t know how to solve that problem. I’m not calling off the series entirely but the possibility of being able to continue recording it is very low since OBS won’t work due to the fact that alt tabbing out of Painkiller causes the game to freeze.

For those interested in my Painkiller let’s play, head to my Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/brainjuice654

If/when I finish the lets play I will be putting it up on the site but it is not yet finished sadly. Other than that, keep an eye out for some new content coming soon.

Star Ocean Till The End Of Time comes to PS4

It’s happening people, Star Ocean Till The End Of Time is getting ported to PS4. Now I don’t really care much for buying ports of games I already own but this is proof that tri-Ace know what they’re doing. I mentioned this in my Star Ocean 5 stream for a reason, this needed to happen one way or another and it is happening.

However this is not a fully fledged remake, it’s just a HD port with slightly better graphics and trophy support pretty much so I can’t say that I’m too excited for it but the fact that it exists is good news as it means that Square-Enix haven’t completely given up on the series.

star-ocean-3-hd

They are trying to gauge interest again by going the safe route with an HD port, while this may be lazy, it gives new players a chance to pick the game up digitally. This might not seem like an issue right now but once all the physical copies are gone, this will be the only option left for most people so it needed to happen.

I guess the ideal scenario of a re-worked combat system and seamless battles just wasn’t meant to be, here’s hoping that the game will sell well, considering it is the best-selling tri-Ace game it has to, if it doesn’t then the series may be in jeopardy.

What troubles me is the fact that people who already own the game may not be inclined to pick it up again and why would they want to? If they want to play it again they can just pull out their PS2 and play it on the disk. I doubt it will reach high sales numbers but hopefully it will receive a lot of purchases by new audiences and die-hard fans.

If it succeeds, the chance of getting a Valkyrie Profile 3 goes up by 1% so I’m thinking of purchasing it but I’m not going to dive straight in yet as I have numerous games I want to play. Plus I’m not particularly eager to experience that battle system/item creation again.

Source

Star Ocean 5 Stream: Talking about war and shit.

I cut to this point in the stream since my last stream had terrible sound. In any case It’s up here for anyone who wants to listen to me drone on about war and what video games would be the worst to live in. Plus about Star Ocean 5 in general.

I can post more streams on here in the future, sorry that I didn’t put all the previous streams up because the sound quality was terrible.

0:00 – 12:00

Talking about current situation/updates (resolved)

12:00 – 31:00

Talking about the gameplay of Star Ocean and Star Ocean 5 and comparing it to the Tales series

31:00 – 33:00

Talking about HD televisions and why I never use them (I have an “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it policy when it comes to hardware”).

33:00 – 45:00

Making fun of the war scenario

45:00 – 46:00

Talking about landmines

46:00 – 47:30

Talking about Status recovery items

47:30 – 50:00

Talking about Star Ocean in general and why I love the series

50:00 – 55:00

Private Actions and Roles

55:00 – 58:00

Talking about flaws in the series and why they don’t ruin things for me

58:00 – 1:13:50

Talking about war in videogames and my thoughts on real life war

1:13:50 – 1:24:30

What videogame universe would be the worst to live in?

1:24:30 – 1:27:40

Explaining the reason why super armor exists in Star Ocean 5 (just watch it and you will see) and talking about flaws again.

1:27:40 – 1:30:20

Emmerson joins and I play as him, talking about my preference for close ranged fighters

1:30:20 – 1:42:00

Talking about draw distance/visuals as well as the combat system, why Star Ocean 5’s flaws don’t bother me. Talking about the hate Star Ocean 5 received.

1:42:00 – 1:46:00

Private Action stuff and talking about the purpose of entering residential buildings in JRPG’s

1:46:00 – 2:06:44

Talking about the future of tri-Ace again and other Star Ocean/Tales comparisons

 

 

 

Exist Archive Costs £49.99 at release. Is It Worth it?

Well in case you didn’t know, Exist Archive released today overseas and it turns out there are a few things to note about it after doing a bit of research. I have not yet played the localized version of the game but I have seen footage of it and found out a few important things.

First of all, the pricetag has escalated to £49.99 for the PS4 copy of the game. If you’re unfortunate to not own a Vita you’ll be forking out a lot for this game. Now I can see what they’re trying to do here, they’re trying to get rid of the DLC/Microtransactions. However, I am watching you Aksys Games, the moment I see the DLC costumes, I won’t be afraid to call you out on it.

Of course the Japanese release did have cosmetic DLC but I could accept it since it was just that, DLC. No strings attached, no fun money, no loot boxes, just straight up cosmetic DLC. That’s perfectly acceptable, plus we got some free costumes as well.

Oh and as for those free costumes we got in the Japanese version, you guys are gonna miss out on them. Now this might not be a big deal to the vast majority of people but it is a shame considering the fact that they were costumes from the Valkyrie Profile series. It seems Square-Enix weren’t willing to bargain with Aksys Games so I guess it’s not their fault.

In addition to this, the game also has an English dub and from what I have heard so far, the dub isn’t anything particularly special but my views on it could change when I actually do pick up the game. Regardless it is a nice surprise to see an English dub included in there as well. I know a lot of people hate English dubs but for me, it’s important because it makes it easier to understand the character’s emotion. However it’s not be all and end all, after all, back 20 years ago dubbing was a rarity as was voice acting so I could easily cope with it. This is a nice surprise regardless even though the voice actor for Kanata sounds like Dust from Dust an Elysian Tail which is… well, not my thing to be honest. However it was to be expected so there’s no point getting worked up about it.

As for when I’ll pick up the game… not sure, all I know is I will buy it eventually, maybe today or tomorrow, maybe when the price drops? I don’t really know. All I can say is that this release is definitely an interesting one. Lets put it this way, it’s been very uneventful. I thought I should at least post something about it to acknowledge its existence (see what i did there?) because nobody else is going to so I might as well considering the fact that I’m a huge tri-Ace and Valkyrie Profile 2 fan and all.

As for whether or not it is worth £49:99, check my review here: Exist Archive: The Other Side Of The Sky Review

Bare in mind the story may be good or bad, I don’t know yet, I don’t think the story is going to be terrible though, I think they’re going for something interesting with this game story wise but I will wait till I actually play it in English to give my 2 cents on it.

In other news…. Star Ocean Anamnesis

No comment…

Seriously you should know by now what I think of this. All I can say is, it was bound to happen.

Star Ocean 5: My thoughts on the story (Spoilers)

So I finished the English version of Star Ocean 5 and having played it, the story is just as I expected really. In any case, the cast of characters were a lot better than Star Ocean 4’s cast if you ask me. As such I’m going to talk about all of the characters and what I personally thought of them.

Fidel Camuze: Without a doubt the best lead character in the series IMO. Why is this? That’s simple. Fidel isn’t a silent protagonist but his personality is kinda up to the player. A bit like Ludger from Tales Of Xillia 2 only he does have a baseline to work from in the sense that he’s a trained swordsman who desires to protect others. However aside from that he’s a pretty stoic hero with a blank slate personality. This works rather well in private actions since the choices you make pretty much define his character.

That’s not to say that he is completely devoid of personality though, he is still a decisive and dependable swordsman which makes him somewhat respectable unlike the rest of the cast (except maybe Roddick) and he still has that protective nature about him.

Overall, whilst he may not be my ideal character, Fidel represents the “Integrity” int he game’s title very well and the fact that he’s straightforward only makes him better for the lead character role. His character design helps this because it stands out very well.

As a fighter, I played him mostly as a tank. His guard counter is extremely useful and he has a lot of quick specials which allows him to exploit short counter windows without being hit.

Miki Sauvester: I knew I wasn’t going to like this character the moment I saw her. The standard moeblob childhood sweetheart does absolutely nothing for me at all other than serve as a huge obstacle in my attempt to get the ending I want.

I took great pleasure in pissing her off whenever I gad the opportunity and feeding her emotional destabilizers in order to lower her affection rating in my attempts to avoid getting the most generic ending in the game. Seriously though, why does every Star Ocean game make it so easy to get with the female lead? It’s beyond me and just plain absurd.

As a character, she isn’t half as irritating as Reimi and Milly thank god, I could just about put up with her, she’s decent at healing and she doesn’t constantly bitch about everything and instead tries to start comic relief at the other characters expense because who else is gonna do it? Miki is like the only character in the game who has absolutely zero street cred. She doesn’t have any military training, she isn’t a powerful signeturge, she doesn’t have a super powerful symbological sphere that slows down time. She’s just a barely looking 18-year-old who has a few symbological spells and thinks that makes her worthy of being amongst the rest of the cast. Oh and she likes to talk a lot… just a warning for you all.

Oh and to top things off, she has absolutely zero relevance to the plot. When you are upstaged by Ms Fanservice in this department, you might as well just give up.

Victor Oakville: At first I thought this guy was going to be another edgelord like Arumat, turns out I was wrong. At first this guy seems like a stoic and serious soldier, much like Fidel however after doing several private actions  I found that Victor appears to be quite the eccentric and quite possibly the most entertaining character in the game… even more so than Emmerson.

Just listen to his PA’s and you’ll see what I mean, this guy is the most interesting character in the game as well as the most interesting choice of voice. Crispin Freeman pulls this one off very well. Some of his lines are just hilarious and often the delivery of these lines makes him the star of the show.

I actually mained this guy for the vast majority of the game. His moveset just resonates with me. He is an excellent damage dealer with some really badass specials. Probably the most fun character I’ve had the pleasure of playing in a Star Ocean game. His reserve rush tops it all off though, divine wrath is quite possibly the best attack in the game in terms of dealing a fuck ton of damage.

Fiore Brunelli: And here’s the obligatory fanservice character, this time taken to the extreme. Thankfully she has more relevance to the plot than Myuria did and she does seem to make private actions a little more entertaining.

However as a fighter she’s… well, not the best. I just slapped the crusader role on her for double raise dead since symbology isn’t really the most fun role to play in Star Ocean. Like most casters in tri-Ace games, she is excellent at the start of the game and near obsolete at the end. This wouldn’t have been so bad if she wasn’t upstaged by Miki of all people in this department. Her reserve rush is interesting though.

Anne Partricianni: Probably the best female character of the bunch, that’s not saying much considering the fact that she’s the reason behind the infamous “kitty” PA’s. However Anne stands out due to not being a childhood friend, fanservice character or a loli. That alone puts her to the top. Plus as a cat person myself I can see where she’s coming from. She also serves as a good sparring partner with Emmerson when it comes to banter.

I didn’t use her as much as I could have but she seems like a balanced melee fighter. She has an anti air guard counter and interesting moves like acrobat locus and infinity kick. She has some great quick specials and great extended ones but sadly she isn’t much of a tank since she gets inferior armor to Fidel and Victor. However, that’s not to say you can’t tank with her should you choose to do so. She can do basically anything making her an ideal character to main.

Emmerson Kenny: This is the sort of guy you go drinking with but don’t associate anywhere else other than the pub. He’s essentially one of the lads. This is interesting when combined with his role as captain of the Charles D Goule. He’s a captain who isn’t completely stuck up like they are in most games and instead he’s a laid back playboy. Well I suppose if you’re a captain you can do whatever you want… including turning your entire spaceship into your own bachelor pad… just sayin. Plus his voice actor plays one of the Dreadlords in WOW, bonus points for that (even though it’s not original Warcraft).

Honestly though, it’s surprising how the Charles D Goule doesn’t have a private bar… and yet the Calnus in Star Ocean 4 does… I guess the Federation don’t commission those unlike the SRF. Shame.

In battle he is insanely powerful. I played him for a bit and found him a bit too powerful so I swapped back to Victor. He is a ranged character with lots of extremely powerful attacks. I occasionally swapped him in when I wanted to get rid of trash encounters quickly as his crescent wings skill is extremely useful for clearing crowds of enemies.

Relia: This is the character who represents the “Faithlessness” in the title (I presume). The biggest irony here is that the VA for Relia makes her sound older than Miki. Plus this character is actually very important to the plot considering the fact that she’s the first protagonist chronologically able to use forbidden symbology.

Thankfully her VA isn’t half as obnoxious as Lymle’s and she throws a lot of interesting questions in private actions. You can’t control her in battle but I gave her roles such as Terror Knight to lower enemies actions.

So that’s the cast, now onto the story. The game starts off in the small village of Stahl and gets attacked by bandits so Fidel and co seek help from reselia against them. However they eventually find an unconcious Relia from a shuttle. This character is being tracked down by Kronos who have been researching relia and appear to have given the people of Trei-kur their technology to oppress the eastern lands which is due to either carelessness or a deal made with their leader. However the eastern lands refuse to surrender to this threat and war breaks out.

I like how the entire game revolves around this war as it works well together with the game’s cast of characters who are mostly combat veterans. There are several war battles throughout the game, my favourite being the invasion of Eastern Trei-Kur. I think they melded these two plot points rather well to keep the story more interesting. However I believe they could have done a bit more to connect things on the villain’s side of things. How did Trei-Kur gain access to Kronos’ technology? Regardless, Trei-Kur is like what Shinra is to Sephiroth in Final Fantasy VII. They are the “in your face but still not the real baddies” faction whereas Kronos, the guys who gave them that technology (obviously) are the main bad guys of the game who desire to use Relia’s power.

The best part of the story is simply the fact that throughout the game you will see both sci-fi and fantasy melded together. So there is more consistency here than other Star Ocean games. In a way it’s pretty much Star Ocean Till The End Of Time had  the entire game taken place on Vanguard III but with a larger scale as it shows the horrors of what happens when the UP3 law is broken and why it is so significant. With new technology in Trei-Kur’s hands alongside their more primitive society, it leads to them using this technology recklessly which causes a lot of danger for Reselia.

A lot of the complaints were that the game takes place on only one planet. However this is not an issue at all simply due to the fact that the sci-fi and fantasy melds in perfectly well this time around so they don’t need multiple planets to show things off. They still manage to incorporate space travel in there too allowing you to travel to the Caverlero and the Alcatraz which is better than nothing so i’d say that this game still lives up to its “Star Ocean” identity.

Even though this concept has been explored before, it hasn’t been explored nearly as much as it has in Star Ocean Integrity and Faithlessness. It’s not the best story in the series but it’s refreshing to see a cast of characters that are actually…normal. At least after having played Star Ocean The Last Hope… *shudders*.

So my question is simple. This game or Star Ocean 1? Well Star Ocean 5 obviously has the better graphics and battle system but how about the story and characters? Well Star Ocean 1 still wins in that department to some degree as the characters are somewhat more interesting. I think both games equally give a great experience. In a way they are for the most part a similar game in terms of how the story plays out though I was surprised how that in the ending Fidel and co all go with Emmerson and Anne and many of whom join the Federation. That’s an interesting twist of events.

However you can’t beat that good old school feeling of the first game. I find that while Star Ocean 5 may objectively be the better game, I find myself undecided on this. The cast of the first game was pretty solid plus it had you choosing different party members each time which made things a bit more interesting. In addition, the first game explores more philosophy with its plot twist which Star Ocean 5 kinda doesn’t. Also I found that Star Ocean 5 lacked different races. I think it’s something the developers must have overlooked.

So I am left undecided. Perhaps its for the best really. Star Ocean 5 is everything I could have possibly wanted from a new Star Ocean game and I am glad I picked it up and played it. I may also add that there are battles in the game where you have to protect Anne. I had a lot of trouble in the Japanese version fighting these battles due to the fact that Anne is constantly bombarded by attacks and if she dies it’s game over.

However once I got the right setup, the battles weren’t too hard. I suppose having done it beforehand I knew what to expect. Just expect a bit of a difficulty spike there. I would have mentioned it in my review but it was a bit spoilery and I wasn’t sure if the game warned me or not. Turns out it does warn you at the start of the fight so I have no qualms with it. However you may have a bit of trouble in those fights.

Regardless, it’s not a huge flaw, just something to be mindful of, hence the reason why I didn’t mention it in my review. The game is still solid regardless. At least they warn you unlike Star Ocean Till The End Of Time where you die so easily in the Urssa Lava Caves due to MP death which is barely ever explained in-game.

So all in all, I liked Star Ocean 5 a lot. It brought everything I wanted to the table as a Star Ocean fan and was refreshing to play. I will never understand the severity of the criticisms. Sure it’s not perfect but it’s still a solid game and offers just what any Star Ocean fan could possibly want. People have nitpicked this game to death and quite frankly it doesn’t deserve this.

This game has given me an experience better than any JRPG I have played this decade and that is likely due to tri-Ace being tri-Ace. Exist Archive is a solid contender though. However I found that the game had a bit too much filler for my tastes. Still a solid game though. Why can’t people just accept games for being imperfect and move on? I blame the hype for all this. People buy way too much into the hype these days and then they shit on the games when they don’t live up to their expectations

So do yourself a favor and remember that just because the game isn’t as good as you expected it to be doesn’t make it a terrible game. Star Ocean 5 most certainly isn’t one. I knew that the game wasn’t going to be as great as the hype made it out to be. I analyzed it from the start and the score I gave it was predicted to be a “good” rating. Well I ended up giving it a “great” rating. It sure pays to be a cynical gamer because you know better than to trust hype bait and while the hype bait was definitely needed for this game, it still didn’t influence my purchase of the game at all. All I wanted was a new Star Ocean game and I got it… now I’m just waiting for a new Valkyrie Profile game. In any case I’m going to move on from Star Ocean 5, it and Exist Archive gave me more enjoyment than any other JRPG I’ve played in the past decade and it’s a sign that gaming is going up.

 

Star Ocean: Integrity And Faithlessness Review

Ah finally I get to reveal the truth about this game. After all the negativity and all the incessant whining from Japanese fans over a pair of underwear, we can finally get down to business. Star Ocean 5 is indeed the return of tri-Ace and Square-Enix’s relationship and I can say with confidence that it doesn’t disappoint. As a fan of tri-Ace, I commend this game for its efforts to bring the JRPG genre back to life.

Now with all that considered, let’s get straight to it. Star Ocean 5 is basically a giant floating blob of fanservice to all Star Ocean fans, this can be interpreted both positively and negatively but I see it in a positive light, there are tonnes of throwbacks here and there and you can see that the devs are trying hard to bring that Star Ocean magic back into the series.

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Welch returns to cause some more mischief…

However things could seem a little too familiar, many of the enemy designs resemble past Star Ocean games and also many of the music is re-used from previous Star Ocean games. Personally this didn’t bother me so much as I like to listen to old Star Ocean music. The enemy designs didn’t bother me much either, it merely helped maintain that Star Ocean feeling.

Another thing you will notice very quickly is that many of the moves from previous Star Ocean games return. Pretty much every attack in the game is re-used from older Star Ocean titles. This isn’t exactly a bad thing since the Tales series does exactly the same. And several attacks look slightly different from they used to.

 

“Star Ocean 5 is basically a giant floating blob of fanservice to all Star Ocean fans”

 

That aside, let’s get into the bulk of the game. The story is in Japanese so I didn’t understand a word of it, the cast of characters are quite different this time round. Many of them are highly experienced combat veterans which is a nice change from the usual teenage kid saves the world having had zero combat experience (I’m looking at you Fayt Leingod) and it really gives the cast a strong feeling of importance as if they belong in the story as opposed to being put there due to circumstances in the plot.

The story revolves around planet Faykreed, a single planet. I can see why they went with this though and I believe the plot is the main reason why. The game starts off almost immediately in a conflict which expands over the course of the game, the game revolves around this conflict and as such it’s befitting that the story revolves around a single planet for that reason. As a result, the scale of the game’s storyline is a lot smaller than Star Ocean Till The End Of Time but the execution is done rather well.

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“Who ate the last piece of my pie? Was it you!?”

This brings me to the seamless cutscenes. This is where a double-edged sword comes into play. On the plus side, the cutscenes blend in really well with the gameplay rather than taking you out of the gameplay experience in a way many traditional cutscenes do. On the negative side, due to the third person perspective of Fidel it can be difficult to position the camera in a way that lets you focus in on the cutscene. In other words it’s trying to create a Half-Life effect by essentially putting the player into Fidel’s shoes and watching the story from his perspective rather than watching a traditional cinematic cutscene where the player feels detached.

As such, the seamless cutscenes are somewhat of an acquired taste. As you go through the game you grow to appreciate their significance more once they start playing around with new ideas. The game likes to throw them at you quite often and during these scenes you can walk around so long as you stay in the designated area. However there is a new emotes feature you can make use of which is a nifty novelty. The devs obviously intended for the players to make their own fun with the cutscenes and offered tools to do it with. The question is, is it enough to keep the player’s interest?

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The answer is simply… it depends. Whilst many of us appreciate the flashy CGI cutscenes, those that don’t can usually skip them. The biggest problem with the seamless cutscenes is the inability to skip them. This can be troublesome at certain points but for the most part they aren’t long drawn out and if for some reason you’re getting bored watching them, you can force Fidel to do all sorts of nonsense to keep you amused. Personally I had a lot of fun with the emote system but considering the fact that Star Ocean 5 isn’t an MMORPG it could be considered to be somewhat out of place. Then again we are talking about Star Ocean *wink* *wink*.

Another thing that sort of feels very MMO esque is the questing system. Like the seamless cutscenes, these side quests have both positive and negative implications. The obvious negative implication being the fact that questing can be kinda bland. On the other hand the bulletin board keeps everything together in its respective area which cuts out all the monotonous running around town in search of quest givers or trying to find that particular NPC you need to give that item to.

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There’s so much content in this game that you’ll never be board.

One thing that may bother people is that many of the content acquired throughout the game is locked behind sidequests. This includes skill books which are used to learn new battle skills and item creation professions. As a result you will have to spend a lot of time backtracking to different areas fighting mini-boss encounters and finding certain items to obtain new skills and abilities. So to get the most out of Star Ocean 5, you will have to spend a considerable amount of time doing side quests and backtracking. Then again, Star Ocean has always features a lot of backtracking through its private action system.

Speaking of which, private actions return but this time they are a lot easier to access. To access private actions, you merely need to approach a whistle icon in town where your party splits up and by approaching that party member, you trigger that private action. You no longer need to leave town or use a guide to find private actions though you may still want to use a guide to get certain character endings. I personally tried everything in my power to get any ending besides Miki’s, needless to say, I failed and ended up paired up with my least favorite character, looks like the Japanese language barrier trumped me that time.

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Miki appears to get very excited when you trigger her PA’s, shame I don’t feel the same way…

In addition to traditional private actions, certain private actions trigger on the road, kinda like skits in the Tales series only this time you don’t have to trigger them and watch a bunch of character portraits chatting amongst themselves. Instead the private action plays out as you are moving, kinda like seamless cutscenes but you are free to move and even battle during them. Obviously battle will cancel them out. As such you can enjoy these PA’s at your own pace and if you so wish you can take a break from exploring to see their expressions.

Item creation is back and is better than ever. Star Ocean 5 has in my opinion the best item creation in the series. Whilst it mostly sticks to Star Ocean 4’s item creation at first, over the course of the game you will unlock the classic Star Ocean 1 and 2’s item creation… with a twist. As such you get the best of both worlds here. The regular item creation is just like Star Ocean 4’s only this time you no longer have to visit Welch every time and can perform item creation straight from the menu which is handy. Also you don’t have to spend SP on invention or find recipes any more, rather you learn new items by simply making them.

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At first all the items are hidden behind question marks so you don’t know what you’re getting but once you unlock it will reveal what it is and you can make more of it should you wish at any time. Like Star Ocean 4, item creation requires you to gather certain components and use them to create a single item. Over the course of the game however you are able to unlock a new item creation system called the lottery.

The lottery is basically Star Ocean 1 and 2’s item creation where you put items into a pot and get a new one out. This time however you can use just about any item you please and you use up to a combination of 6 items from your inventory. You can have them randomly picked for you or you can choose them manually. Once you’ve selected your items, you can throw them into a pot (or in this case a bunny) to obtain a new item. However be careful not to throw important items in as they may be lost forever and you never know what you’re gonna get, it’s completely random depending on the items you use. The lottery system is fun to experiment with and you may end up getting an item that you can use in regular item creation to create the item you wanted. If you’re lucky, you may also get a new piece of equipment that is better than the one you had before. Of course you will get duds a lot of the time but that’s why they call it a lottery.

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Up to six items can be placed in the pot. Choose wisely!

Item synthesis is back also but is split up between multiple skills, one for weapons and armor, another for accessories. Like Star Ocean 4 you can apply factors to your equipment using any item in your inventory or combine certain items together to create a new and improved one. The system is very much the same as previous titles and whilst it may be nothing we haven’t seen before, it’s still refreshing that they brought it back in all it’s glory. As such there are many customization options for equipment available to you.

Visually, the game is fantastic. Whilst the overall aesthetic style is inherited from Star Ocean 4, there have been some huge improvements made. For starters, the first thing I noticed in the game was how impressive the game’s draw distance was. Whereas Star Ocean 4 tries to cover up a lot of its empty backdrops with white fog and clouds, Star Ocean 5 adds more detail to the game’s environments making them more vast and as such is contributes towards improving the game world’s sense of scale.

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Considering the fact that the majority of the game takes place on one planet though and there aren’t too many areas on that planet, the game’s world isn’t as large as the visuals would lead us to believe. However each location is very detailed.  I found it quite odd that the desert area had constant rain though. Isn’t a desert supposed to be piping hot and dry?

The character designs have been outsourced and are designed by freelance artist Akira Yasuda, who is recognized for his work on the Street Fighter games and they look great. The main character, Fidel is probably the best designed protagonist I’ve seen in a while in terms of visual appeal. Victor looks pretty rad too. The character models are a mixed bag though, Some of them are great, others are a bit off. Emmerson’s head looks a tad too small outside of the CGI’s and Miki… well she looks odd in general. Fidel still looks fine though as does Fiore.

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Overall I’d say the visuals are pretty impressive, at least compared with most other JRPG’s these days. I think they made a good decision to keep the choice of art style colorful and vibrant rather than trying to make it look realistic. It really gives it that Star Ocean flair. In addition, unlike Star Ocean 4, the characters don’t look like weird dolls anymore (aside from perhaps Miki).

Visuals aside, lets talk about the combat. Tri-Ace made the huge mistake of returning to Star Ocean Till The End Of Time’s horribly archaic battle system. Thankfully that’s the only word I could possibly use to describe the battle system of Star Ocean 5. It’s not all doom and gloom though, there has been some improvements. Now in case you don’t know, Star Ocean Till The End Of Time’s combat was abysmal. With the horrible CP cap, difficulty spikes aplenty and of course the dreaded MP death along with the HP cost for special attacks, Star Ocean Till The End Of Time gave me an experience best forgotten, gameplay wise at least.

Star Ocean 5 attempts to fix the system and it uses many simple yet effective methods in an attempt to do so. One method is to simply allow normal attacks to cancel into normal attacks. This way you aren’t stuck with only special cancels. This adds a little more depth to the gameplay as certain specials are long drawn out and you may wish to use a faster normal attack instead, especially if you think the enemy is about to attack you.

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Another improvement is the balancing of the characters. No more useless characters like Adray or Mirage, every character is useful this time round. In fact I found myself switching between characters a lot and thankfully due to the game’s guard system, this worked like a charm. What is the guard system you ask? Remember the fury gauge in Star Ocean 3 which let you guard attacks when it was at its max? Well that awful feature was scrapped and replaced by simply adding a manual guard function. This allows you to block weak attacks and almost all magic attacks which is pretty nifty if you ask me.

Once you have guarded and attack you can unleash a guard counter by letting go of the guard button right after being hit. There is a reasonable time frame but you have to let go of the guard button almost immediately. It does take a while to get used to but once you do it becomes a really fun mechanic and adds a fun new approach to battles. Rather than playing 100% aggressively like in previous Star Ocean games, you can now experience a more defensive style of play. Whilst Star Ocean 4’s blindsides were cool and rewarding, they were rather easy to pull off as you could pull off a blindside before an enemy could get a chance to hit you. In Star Ocean 5 however, guarding requires a lot more precision.

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You see by holding down the guard button, you can maintain a guard for as long as you want. However the enemy will usually read this as an opportunity to hit you with a strong attack. If you are hit with a strong attack whilst guarding your guard breaks and you lose a portion of your reserve gauge. So it’s important to read your opponent carefully and guard their attacks only when necessary. Enemies with blue auras around them are often preparing to attack you with a strong attack so be sure to move out of the way if you see one coming your way.

The reserve gauge is essentially the replacement of the bonus board. However, like in Star Ocean 3 it is a bar this time round. The reserve gauge is accumulated simply by attacking enemies. However it is depleted if you get guard countered or ko’ed. It may also be depleted if you are attacked during an attack animation. Accumulating additional reserve rewards you with bonus experience, sp and fol.

Once the reserve gauge fills up one of its bars you are able to unleash a special reserve rush attack. These attacks are basically the Star Ocean equivalent of Valkyrie Profile’s soul crushes and deal devastating damage to enemies (aside from Miki’s which heals the entire party). It’s cool that they implemented this feature as I always loved the soul crushes in Valkyrie Profile and it’s nice to see a similar concept used in Star Ocean.

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Like in most JRPG’s, it’s important to give the character an extravagant pose before using their ultimate attack. Just so you know that shit is about to get real.

Unlike Valkyrie Profile however, reserve rush attacks don’t show up on a separate screen. Instead they blend into the rest of the battle allowing you to keep the fight going as the reserve rush piles damage into the enemy. As such you could say that reserve rushes are the polar opposite of rush combo’s from Star Ocean 4 as instead of simply showcasing regular attacks on a separate screen, you are able to use unique attacks on the same screen.

The biggest change however is the fact that you control 6 party members in battle and as such you can swap between all of them to make unique combo’s. I personally didn’t have a main character this time round. Instead I cycled between characters and used each one periodically. I mostly stuck with the three dudes: Fidel, Victor and Emmerson though I occasionally swapped to the ladies for some support when needed.

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This brings me to another issue that was fixed from Star Ocean 3. Usually when you switched characters, the character would run up to the enemy in order to perform an attack. This could not be canceled out. In Star Ocean 5 however it is possible to cancel this run up through guarding which cancels out the attack completely. This is extremely handy and can be a life saver at some points.

Another improvement is the removal of boss staggering. Though this could be considered a negative. Bosses will no longer be interrupted by attacks. However with proper usage of the guard mechanic, it’s not likely that they will be able to hit you with a quick attack unless you let them but this is where the strategy comes in. You have to be able to read what the enemy is about to do. As for weak attacks, they aren’t used to interrupt bosses, rather they are used to exploit short counter windows. Strong attacks are used for the same purpose as always, to break down shields. As such, dodging and positioning yourself is very important and you can use it in conjunction with weak attacks for some quick hits.

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This means that you can no longer stagger lock bosses which was an issue that plagued the rest of the series. Now you have to think a bit more and use counter windows to your advantage. On the plus side, this feature only serves to make cancel bonuses all the more rewarding. If you can get a 200% cancel bonus on a boss without getting hit, good job but it’s not that easy. In Star Ocean 3, you could get cancel bonuses easy, all you needed to do was button mash and spam. In Star Ocean 5 however you have to be more calculated as enemies can hit you mid combo which causes your reserve gauge to decrease so you have to be careful with how often you stack attacks and wait for a counter window.

As a result there is a lot more thought process behind Star Ocean 5 compared with the rest of the series, even with the game’s rush mode, Star Ocean 4 still had the ever exploitable staggering but only for a certain period of time. However when an enemy entered rush mode you would simply run away from it until it’s rush gauge depleted then you would wail on it again which was kind of an exploit since the rush gauge was somewhat flawed even if it was a better concept than Star Ocean 3’s fury system.

So Star Ocean 5 manages to do a lot of things right with its battle system despite it’s limitations, so much so that many of its shortcomings are outweighed by the good parts. Needless to say however, the combat system remains somewhat archaic to a degree considering the fact that we’re still using MP for specials (well at least it’s not HP like in Star Ocean 3) rather than AC like in the Tales series. In other words, the Star Ocean series has a bit of catching up to do to keep up with this generation’s standards.

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All that aside however, the combat is still just as fun as the rest of the series, you could even consider it to be the best in the series. I would personally mark it on par with Star Ocean 4’s battle system. I think any Star Ocean fan will find enjoyment out of this system. If you can have fun by simply replaying old Star Ocean games, you will have so much fun with this game, especially if you enjoyed Star Ocean Till The End Of Time.

Now I want to touch on seamless battles a little bit. When you get into a battle, there are no transitions. Instead you are given the option to either attack or block to initiate a battle. If an enemy hits you, you will get surprised and the battle starts so you must be careful as you approach enemies and make sure you get the first move. Once the battle starts, a red ring appears around the field, running into that ring allows you to escape battles but there’s a timer. One thing that could be considered a minor annoyance is that when playing characters other than Fidel, they may end up outside the ring at the start of the fight, setting off the escape counter. It’s only a minor gripe though and if you do run away you merely have to wait some time to re-initiate the battle so it’s all good.

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When the battle ends a results screen appears in the top right of the screen and you are immediately free to move. There is no fade out or loading screen’s in between battles, they start almost immediately. Certain battles may even take you off guard at some points as they are blended in with the seamless cutscenes. Certain battles will give you specific objectives where you have to protect someone as well and as such, battles can get quite difficult later on in the game.

In addition you may occasionally be accompanied by guest characters who will help you in battle. This brings me to what is quite possibly my favorite feature in the game, war battles. War battles are a somewhat frequent occurrence where large scale battles take place in a designated location.

During war battles you can freely move around the map as the battles are waged and can engage into battle simply by getting in range of the enemies and instigating them by using either the guard or attack button. In other words there are several battles going on at once and you are accompanied with NPC soldiers to assist you, very much like the siege of Castle Prevant in Infinite Undiscovery only on a much broader scale. These battles are quite the spectacle and really show off what the game’s seamlessness is capable of as it makes the battles feel more exciting.

Another new feature is the roles system, this allows players to not only provide certain bonuses but it also allows players to alter the character’s AI behavior in battle. As such the AI is vastly improved from Star Ocean Till The End Of Time and no longer will you have to put all characters on manual control due to the fact that the AI likes to recklessly charge towards an enemy. One of thing things that annoyed me the most with Star Ocean Till The End Of Time was the simple fact that Sophia’s AI had to be one of the worst healer AI i have ever had the displeasure of witnessing in a JRPG.

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There are 5 categories for roles. One for offensive, one for defensive, one for healing and one for support. The final category is just for stat boosts among other things that do not affect your character’s AI.

Roles can be used for more than simply changing the AI behavior, certain roles have specific abilities that apply certain effects to the characters in battle. These effects can be pretty dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. I ended up accidentally playing through the majority of the game without obtaining any experience from monsters and I had to do sidequests and farm gathering points just to level up. However my lack of Japanese caused me to be completely oblivious to this fact and as such my characters were only around level 60 by the end of the game. It’s like sealstones in Valkyrie Profile 2 taken to a whole new level of dangerous.

Now as I mentioned before, the music of this game includes tracks from Star Ocean 3 and 4, if you haven’t played those games I urge you to give them a try (even though Star Ocean 3’s gameplay is godawful, it’s worth it for the story). The music from those games are as good as ever and with the exception of a few tracks, the majority of the tracks tie in well with the game

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As for the new tracks, Motoi Sakuraba has put a lot of work into developing new ideas for his future projects as shown in Exist Archive. The soundtrack of Star Ocean 5 is a little bit more familiar though and really gives off that Star Ocean feeling. You’ll realize very quickly that the music maintains the series the standard of quality the series is known for and while there isn’t as much of it as we expected (Sakuraba is a pretty busy guy these days, seriously they should get Noriyuki Iwadare to work with him as he did the music for Radiata Stories and the legendary Grandia 2) the music we got is top notch.

You can feel the effort that was put into the music and you can also feel the struggle that Sakuraba has gone through to make the soundtrack as good as it can be. I think by now, music composition has become more of a challenge than ever for Sakuraba as he has a lot of reputation behind him that he needs to maintain and this means experimenting with new ideas and new approaches.

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It’s amazing how the soundtrack manages to remain so familiar but feel so different at the same time. The mixture of Violin, brass and alluring techno is the style Motoi Sakuraba went with for this game. The brass often stands out as being somewhat overpowering whereas the violin is very technical. The techno really brings out the sci-fi effect, especially when accompanied with the brass.

As will all tri-Ace games, there’s a bonus dungeon at the end and like the other games in the series there are two more unlockable difficulty levels for completing the game. The game itself is rather short but doesn’t outlive its welcome. There are several diversions available throughout the story such as the cathedral (the replacement for the series’ more conventional arena) which pits you against a gauntlet of enemies and finally a boss to obtain a reward at the end. There also of course plenty of side quests to do via the bulletin board and private actions. As a result you’ll generally spend around 40 hours or so which isn’t bad by any means.

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Those intent on rushing through the main story may be disappointed by the game’s length. I’d say the main story is on par with that of Infinite Undiscovery’s main story in terms of play time so if you don’t mind a short JRPG, you should be satisfied with what this game has to offer. I for one am glad the game was short as it meant that I could get to this review a lot quicker. Still I took my time and played through around 37 hours worth doing sidequests and stuff and had a lot of fun doing so, so much so that I was getting a bit lax on my analysis hahahaha. It is a long time since I’ve enjoyed a proper Star Ocean game, I wanted to make the most of it and I got what I came for.

So if you’re wondering whether or not Star Ocean Integrity And Faithlessness is for you, it all depends on what you’re looking for in a JRPG. Are you looking for a long adventure with lots of filler? You won’t find it here. If you’re looking for a game that’s short but sweet and intend to play through some of the game’s side content, I’d definitely recommend this game to you. In other words, Star Ocean Integrity And Faithlessness is the opposite of Exist Archive in the sense that rather than trying to shove as much filler into the game as possible, it aims to bring top quality content in small quantities to keep the budget costs down.

As such I believe they made the right decision with this game and though many will disagree with me, I think that Star Ocean 5 is a top quality game that didn’t get enough time to blossom but it’s definitely on the right track and I can see a potential for a Star Ocean 6 in the making. So just ignore all the irrational hate, give this game a go and I promise so long as you don’t set your expectations too high, you will enjoy this game a lot.

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Plot/story: Satisfactory

Visuals: Exceptional

Music: Great

Game play: Great

Lifespan: Quite Short

Worth replaying? Yes

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Overall score: Great

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For more about Star Ocean 5’s story click here warning: may be small gameplay related spoilers!!!

Value: £40.00+

Purchase Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness (PS4)