Review by X Ven0m X
"You'll sure be having a fun time with this... till the end of time!"
Star Ocean: Till the End of Time is a unique but great RPG for the Playstation 2. It has a Real-Time battle system that is different from your usual RPG real-time battle system. So this is Star Ocean 3. Star Ocean first appeared on the SNES. Then we had some Star Ocean's on the Game Boy Color and the Playstation. Now we have a Star Ocean for the Playstation 2!
Star Ocean's story is somewhat Sci-Fi and Fantasy. At the beginning of the game Fayt Leingod, the main character, is with his friend, Sophia Esteed, at a resort with his family. When all of a sudden, the Vendeeni forces attack. While evacuating, Fayt is then separated from his parents and Sophia. After a bit, Fayt finds himself on a "undeveloped planet". And this is where the game starts. Fayt goes around trying to look for Sophia and his parents. There are plenty of plot twists to keep you on to the story. In my opinion, the best thing about the story (besides the crazy plot twists) is the multiple endings. While playing Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, you'll encounter small events that help shape the relationships between Fayt and the other characters. These events are called "Private Actions (PA)" and they are in the game to help expand the storyline, increase your knowledge of the character's lives, and determine what special ending you get.
Gameplay is amazing. It's beyond words! Alright, so this is a RPG. Expect the adventuring, battles, etc. But Square-Enix and tri-Ace make these traditional RPG aspects unique! Before starting the game, you must select a difficulty level. So if you are a Star Ocean veteran, you can go ahead and pick the difficulty you would like, Normal! You unlock Hard and Very Hard after collecting enough Battle Trophies. You are awarded Battle Trophies when you meet certain conditions. For example, "Defeat Giant Crab without taking damage" or "Reach Level 255". Some you can get without effort but there are others that take planning and skill. Star Ocean's area's are very large. So there's gonna be A LOT of secret stuff. To get to these secret stuff you have to use the "Ring of Disintegration". The Ring of Disintegration enables you to vaporize certain obstacles in a dungeon. Sometimes you are forced to You choose what and where you want to disintegrate. Another unique thing about Star Ocean is the "Item Creation" system. This allows you to create... items! By using "Item Creation", you can also upgrade your equipment to make them powerful or more effective. It's sorta complicated. You choose 3 people from your party or random people (inventors) you may find on your adventure to create items for you. To get these random people to make stuff for you, you need to either hire them or do certain tasks for them. When you finally create an item, you can go to the Craftsmen's Guild and patent your items so certain stores can sell the item that you made. Of course you get a small portion of the money.
The Battle System will blow you away. Battles aren't random, you have a choice if you want fight them or avoid them. When you enter certain areas, there will be enemies just walking around. When and if you do fight them, characters say their battle cries and then you start the fight. You have a choice to just attack, use Battle Skills, use items, use symbology (magic) or run. There are no menu's (unless you bring up the command menu). There are 4 types of battles you can get into. Normal battle (you go into the battle with a full "Fury" gauge and ready to attack), Ambush battle (you start with an empty "Fury" gauge and there are more enemies), Rear battle(you start with an empty "Fury" gauge and the enemies are ready to attack you), and Surrounded battle (you start with an empty "Fury" gauge and you are surrounded by enemies). Your character uses Fury for every action, attacking, using an item, symbology, etc. To recover Fury, your character has to stand still. In battle you can freely run around and hit any enemy you'd like. You can switch characters too. There are 2 types of Normal attacks that each character has, Strong and Weak. You can set Battle Skills to these Normal attack buttons. X is Weak. O is strong. So if you set a Battle Skill to X is will be weak but fast. If you set on to O it will be strong but slow. You increase the effectiveness of your Battle Skills by using the Battle Skill many times until it is mastered. Defense is important too right? Well yeah that's why the game has Anti-Attack Auras. When someone's Guard is broken (when and if your Fury is at 100% you will have a guard, when an enemy attacks you the guard will protect you) there is a chance that it will produce an Anti-Attack Aura in return. An Anti-Attack Aura is a type of defense that you must activate in the Tactical Skills menu in battle or in the party menu. When you defeat all enemies on the screen you are awarded experience points, fol (money), your characters recover some health, and Battle Trophies. If you are defeated you are taken to the Game Over screen, and you will see this screen from time to time because there are 2 ways to die! HP kill and MP kill, yes, you can die if you are low on MP and an enemy causes MP damage to you. Just another thing to make this game different from others. The only "bad" thing I'd say there is about the battle system is that sometimes the A.I. controlled characters will do dumb things like run off the corner of the screen and stay there. There is a way to fix the A.I. by going to the party menu and setting what that character will do in battle, like attack heavily or use symbology.
Sound isn't special you say? But it is my friend! Songs in Star Ocean are either beautiful, catchy, or sometimes annoying. Dungeons are long so you'll be hearing the same dungeon song for like 2-3 hours. Sound effects are average, nothing too special. Character voices match their personality. Cliff is this big strong guy, his voice is deep and funny. Some scenes don't have voice-over though. So basically Audio has it's ups and downs but it works.
Star Ocean 3 is completely 3D. In previous Star Ocean's you had 2D characters in pre-rendered backgrounds or 2D characters in 3D backgrounds. Character models MAY seem to look weird but they're normal. Facial expressions are great. Towns and Areas are large but they are very detailed. Characters look good too. They all have their own unique looks. People in the towns sometimes look the same. The FMVs are fantastic but there are very little in the game. Cutscenes also look nice. I like the fact that there are bunnies in the game! Overall graphics aren't bad at all.
Star Ocean has A LOAD of stuff to do after you beat the game. There are different sidequests that reward you with special items. There are bonus dungeons are extremely long and end with a very hard boss fight. Max Level is 255. You'll be leveling up for a long time. There is a total of 300 Battle Trophies too. They didn't name this "Till the End of Time" for nothing! Well there is some fun things to do too. There is a certain town in which you can play mini-games for prizes. The arena is where you'll be spending most of your time. There is also a sort of "Point of No Return" for characters in which you can only have 7 of the 10 available characters. So if you want to play as the other characters, you will have to re-play the game and choose the other characters and ditch the other ones you chose earlier.
Story - 4 out of 5
Gameplay - 5 out of 5
Audio - 3 out of 5
Graphics - 5 out of 5
Replay - 4 out of 5
Final Word: Star Ocean: Till the End of Time is one of the best Playstation 2 RPGs out there. It's 2 discs! But those two discs are filled with fun and surprises. I love this game. I strongly recommend getting this game if you are a RPG fan or need a RPG. Even hardcore RPG fans will enjoy and will be challenged. I had a great time playing Star Ocean: Till the End of Time and I'm sure you will too. Take a dip into Star Ocean!
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 09/21/05
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