Star Ocean: Till the End of Time - Review
|175KB||Dolby Pro Logic II||Yes||No||Medium||Yes|
Star Ocean: Till the End of Time is actually the third game in Enix's Star Ocean series of games, a series which has earned a very positive reputation over the years. Developed by tri-Ace this game is generating a lost of interest in PAL territories, and for all the right reasons. The initial Japanese release was plagued by bugs. Fortunately American and PAL gamers have been fortunate enough to get the "Director's Cut" of the Japanese game, a game which included many bug fixes as well as new items, mini-games and objectives. The wait was more then worth it.
|Inflicting some major damage.|
Four hundred years have passed since the climactic battle with the Ten Wise Men from Star Ocean: The Second Story. The year is now SD 772. Humans and aliens co-exist, some in more advanced societies than others. The Pangalactic Federation continues to research the cosmos in an ongoing quest for power. Meanwhile, the young Earthling Fayt Leingod is taking a well-deserved vacation on the resort planet of Hyda with his family and childhood friend Sophia Esteed. Their dreamy holiday turns into a nightmare when Hyda is attacked by an unknown military space force. In the heat of the attack, Fayt is separated from Sophia and his family and begins an emotional quest into the unknown to find his loved ones.
|Selecting party members.|
I guess it could be said that this is just another (very good) Japanese styled RPG with your typical Hit Points, Magic Points and plenty of spells. What really makes this game really stand out is the superb battle system. Firstly the battles in this game aren't random, you can see enemies, although they can be a little sparse at times. Star Ocean: Till the End of Time includes an advanced real-time battle system allows up to three characters to move freely around a three-dimensional battlefield and execute synchronized attacks and other collaborative actions. A Fury Gauge is used and when full allows weak enemy attacks to be deflected to inflict damage on them instead, if it empties, however, you are likely to take a pretty quick beating. If you do well enough in the battles you can earn multipliers for you experience and earn bonuses. This is a great combat system, eclipsing that of Square's Final Fantasy series.
Item Invention is a rather cool feature of this Star Ocean: Till the End of Time where you can create weapons, food, potions or amour using items and material collected during your adventures. The abilities of the characters in your party play a big part in what items you can create. This is one area of the game where in order to proceed you will need to master the ability to invent items.
|The effects are breathtaking.|
Now for the problems. Firstly the games story, while good, takes a little while to get into, perhaps too long for some gamers, but persevere and you will be rewarded. One strange disappointment with this game is the packaging. For some crazy reason the PAL game comes in your normal PS2 case with one disc in the normal position. The second disc, however, isn't on a second DVD holder (like the ones you get with 2-disc DVD movies) but rather in a little paper sleeve. It cheapens the whole experience. C'mon UbiSoft you can do better...
From the moment you start this game you know it's going to be something special graphically. The player models are rather anime styled but intricately detailed. The animation is super smooth and the backgrounds up there with the best of them. At times you'll believe your watching a CG movie, it's that good! What really makes this game stand out graphically, however, are the visual effects and particle effects, particularly during the battles. As you can see from the surrounding screens it's impressive. It's even better in motion. The CG cut scenes are also very impressive, albeit a little blurry at spots. A great looking title, just below that of Square's Final Fantasy titles.
|The inventing screen.|
One of the most unfortunate things about this game is the voice-acting. Put simply, it's terrible. There are no well-known actors or actresses in this game and the dialogue leaves much to be desired. It's corny and obviously done on the cheap with little emotion or expression. Worse still is the way that by skipping cut-scenes or dialogue the sound will start to get out of synch with characters, or will keep going when the characters have stopped talking. Certainly not one of the best titles in this area. Fortunately the music, by legendary composer Motoi Sakuraba, is quite brilliant, in parts, epic. The sound effects also hold up pretty well and the entire game is polished off with Dolby Pro Logic II sound.
|The effects are breathtaking.|
Overall Star Ocean: Till the End of Time is an RPG game that should be in every single RPG fans collection. It's not the greatest RPG ever, but in RPG starved PAL territories this is probably one of the highlights this year. Let's hope sales are strong enough to inspire some more ports of the many non-release Japanese RPG's in the near future.
Review By: Dave Warner
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|GRAPHICS||Square never disappoint graphically, and this game is no exception!||85%|
|SOUND||The speech is only average, but the music superb and excellent effects.||73%|
|GAMEPLAY||Classic RPG in every sense of the word. This will have you hooked.||90%|
|VALUE||This will take you some time to complete, and it's worth a second run.||83%|
|OVERALL||Star Ocean: Till the End of Time is another epic RPG from the masters at Square-Enix. The game will keep you playing for weeks and is destined to become one of the greats on PS2. Thank goodness UbiSoft decided to bring it out in PAL territories!! A must have for RPG fans.||87%|