|Reviewer: Daniel Yetman||Date: Feb 20, 2004|
|Hey, gamers. First off, I'd like to say that I'm extremely picky when it comes to RPGs (the Final Fantasy series has spoiled me), so it came as a great shock to both my friends and myself when I discovered that I enjoyed Star Ocean. I've played Second Story and Till the End of Time for PS, and I have to admit...I wasn't too impressed. My fiancee's sister is an RPG otaku, and she pressured me into trying Star Ocean, and I have only one word to say...
Graphics are smooth and clean-cut. The use of anime-style character portraits (in the style of Tales of Phantasia for the Super Famicom and Warsong[for Sega Genesis]) is a stroke of genius - even more so since the details were crisp and consistent with the overall graphic tone of the game. Transitional errors were non-existant, and Dejap has fixed whatever bug prohibited SO from working with the SNES9x emulator - Gary Henderson (who created said emulator) also inputting a great addition in the form of graphics pack location modifier helped a bit too. But I digress - Star Ocean has the best graphics I have seen for any Super Famicom game...and better than a goodly percentage of PS games, too.
While the sound was excellent (and having voices - VERY much like ToP - startled me quite a bit), the fact the voices were hard to understand, even to a fairly fluent Japanese speaker, detracted from the spoken dialogue's value. The character's taunts before beginning a battle were a stroke of genius, as were the comments made after battle. Alas, again the difficulty in understanding them lessened their impact considerably.
Oh, wow. Never before have I encountered such a unique and difficult battle system! This has to be the only TRUE real-time battle RPG ever made! The fact that the enemies (unlike the FF series) would NOT wait for you to make your move before attacking gave the sense of realism a huge boost. The storyline is impressive, although a little choppy in some places, and the Characters are true works of art - You can't help feeling sympathy for Millie when Dorn is turned to stone, even at that early stage, and you can, quite easily, imagine yourself doing the same things that Ratix does when faced with dangerous or tenuous situations.
While an excellent game in many respects, SO does have a few flaws...albeit, not many. The failure to really detail Iria and Ronixis' histories sorta ticked me off, and...maybe it's just me, but I would have loved to see Iria and Dorn get together. Ah, well. That last honestly has no bearing on the score, and, overall, I enjoyed this game just about as much (if not more than) as Final Fantasy 6 & 8.
Star Ocean...Just be sure to drop a line to Dejap.znes and let them hear your thanks for finally getting the game totally translated!