September 14, 2004


At the start of Labor Day weekend, I dedicated myself to a mission. I was going to play the heck out of the new Square/Enix RPG, Star Ocean. I hadn't delved into an epic role-playing game in quite some time, but I figured I still had the obsessive chops needed.

I was wrong. I've managed to log some 30+ hours on the game but last night I finally surrendered.

To its credit, the Star Ocean battle system is a remarkable upgrade for the genre. The turn based system that's been around since before the first Final Fantasy games hadn't really changed in over a decade. In Star Ocean, they introduce a real-time, free range battle system where you have to actually, you know, fight to win battles. Figuring out how to string together combos is much better than scrolling through menus of neat effects you'd like to watch.

However, all of the other trappings of the anime-styled RPG remain. The obsessive collecting - in which you're presented with countless opportunities to spend untold hours making some counter creep toward 100%. The arbitrary role-playing elements - in which some dialog choice you make at hour 3 will shape events at hour 35. And, most devastingly, the preposterously convoluted plot.

The story is your basic "boy separated from his parents/turns out to be key to universal salvation" type deal. But then, at around hour 25, the twist happens and the "universe as reality tv show" plot emerges like a moist turd from betwixt the greaves of a blue-haired celestial warrior.

Anyway, I've had enough. And, luckily, just in time because my birthday present arrived today (thanks, Mom!) and I've got a new world of Xbox gaming to explore.


Dgcopter said...

And despite the fact that this game sounds lame, I still feel compelled to play it. If Square's the name, it must be tamed. I shall then await the arrival of Final Fantasy XII.

Yes, I am slowly becoming the Comic Book Store Owner. That is an original Snagglepuss arm.

goldman said...


Scott McMillin said...

Go and pickup Fable for your Xbox. My wife and I have really enjoyed playing it over the past week. Very innovative and fun. Cheers!