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Age Rating: 12+ PS2 Memory card required 1 Player (2 Player in versus fighting mode.) Sci-fi fantasy RPG Created by Square Enix
Star Ocean: Till The End Of Time is the third installment in the Star ocean series although I don't think you need to play the first two to understand what's happening. The hero of the game is Fayt Leingod, a young college student who is on vacation with his parents and childhood friend Sophia. The twist? This is a thousand years into the future and their vacation is on a different planet. A battleship attacks the planet and everyone is evacuated, Fayt's escape pod crashes on an underdeveloped planet, while he finds a way back to his family and friend, a mysterious power begins to awaken inside of him....
I love the Final Fantasy series so when I saw this I knew I had to play it, the game is spread out onto two disks and took me around a month to do (or if you want just play two days straight and you'll be somewhat near the games ending.) Even when you've completed it and destroyed the Final Boss, there are still extra dungeons that you can now complete with a cleared game save file as well as side quests.
The main storyline in Star Ocean 3 takes a while to appear, through out the first disk you're just going about different planets saving the day until the Final Boss's minions come down to reveal the games story, although it takes a while to let itself known the storyline is quite original and manages to make itself entirely believable. There are ten playable characters, you're stuck with Fayt for the whole game but different events will give you new team mates to help him, it all depends on what choices Fayt (the player...) makes. Special endings where Fayt ends up together with a male or female playable character can also be seen if you make the right choices.
I found the 3D graphics ok, not as good as the PS2 Final Fantasy games but I could see thought and detail was put in the characters outfits and the backgrounds of different towns and places in the game. Movement in the battle scenes was slightly stiff but that was all.
The battle system is in real time and you can not pause the game while in the middle of a fight, unless of course you press the triangle button to use an item or chose a spell to perform. As mentioned in the graphics section of this review I found the character movement a bit stiff and slow when battleing monsters. You can have three characters in your battle party and if you go to zero on either your HP or MP that character will die, game over comes if all characters are dead or they've been turned to stone by a spell. The player can set their fighters to Auto (computer controlled) or manual, depending on who they will control in the battle, characters won't always be able to attack, underneath the HP and MP bars there is a fury bar which must be above the zero percentage otherwise your character will not be able to perform a spell or attack. You can charge up their 'fury' by putting them on standby, if a monster attacks and the player's fury is 100% a sheild will automatically come up to block its attack. The battle guage on the right side will charge up while you're fighting, when it is full a screen will appear stating you can earn extra items/EXP or fol (Star Ocean currency) if you continue to fight without the guage breaking (either by escaping the battle or being attacked by the enemies too much.) EXP are experience points that are awarded to characters when they complete a battle, always ending up with them gaining levels. New abilities can be unlocked by this and you'll also be given SP points which you will have to use to increase HP,MP attack and defense power.
A fun bonus to the game is the ability to invent new items to help you in your quest. Fayt and other playable characters can use their inventing skills to create weapons, armour and healing items. Inventors who live in the different towns and cities can also help if you have enough money to pay them. I did get a little bit addicted to making new items and found myself straying from the story just so I could invent things, fun but addicting.
I liked the game music but it did repeat itself over and over again in battle mode, each new area has its own them though and sometimes I would just stay in a town for a while just so I could hear it, orchestra sounds are in some of the pieces as well as guitar music. Voice acting was alright... there was some characters you had to turn the sound off for while others were very well acted and enjoyable.
Special features include side quests, alternative characters costumes and a versus player mode. The costumes can be earned by collecting battle trophies which you recieve when you do well in a battle and meeting certain requirements. Versus mode can be played by two players and you can pit different playable characters against each other.
I still haven't completed this game with 100%, that'll probably take me another month or two... but I enjoyed this game so much that I wouldn't mind spending hours and hours playing it, the main part of the game that drew me in the most was the storyline, I'm not even a Sci-fi fan and I still loved it!