Patreon button  Steam curated reviews  Discord button  Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | PC | PS4 | PS5 | SWITCH | VITA | XB1 | XSX | All

Star Ocean: Till the End of Time (PlayStation 2) artwork

Star Ocean: Till the End of Time (PlayStation 2) review

"But, see, everything else about the game is sub-par at best. It’s a perfect example of what an RPG shouldn’t do."

I find it hard to write about Star Ocean 3. Not because the story’s difficult to explain or it hits some emotional chord, and not because the battle system or anything else about it is beyond words. Getting the words down is simple enough, but not sounding like a bum while I rag on the lack of quality…that’s a trick.

I’ll strive to be fair; there are some facets of the game that don’t suck. Like, say, the graphics. As rare as the cutscenes are, they’re well animated. And as lame as the attack animations are, they’re well animated, too. Very vibrant, bright colors, pretty. The music’s good, if you’re into 80’s rock.

But, see, everything else about the game is sub-par at best. It’s a perfect example of what an RPG shouldn’t do.

DON’T create a universe and never use it.

Star Ocean 3 is a science fiction RPG, but I wouldn’t expect you to remember that. The game sure doesn’t. It starts out in a standard SF universe filled with standard SF stuff. Teleporters. VR videogames. Humanoid talking dolphins. Crap like that. It basically breaks every major SF cliché in the first two hours.

But that isn’t good enough for Star Ocean 3; it has to break every major fantasy cliché, too. See, it’s not long into the story that a race of identical aliens bomb the crap out of the planet where the ridiculously named hero, Fayt, happens to be staying. This puts him on the runs (predictably), separates him from his loved ones (even more predictably), and winds up with him landing on a planet that looks amazingly like something out of a fairy tale (not predictable, but lame). Dragons, fairies, gnomes, the whole deal. Fayt joins up with the resistance, which is comprised almost totally of hot ninja chicks, who are fighting against the evil empire.

It gets worse.

DON’T introduce characters and never use them again.

I’m not even talking about the NPC’s here. There are about ten playable characters, and only three of them are worth a damn. Everyone else either A) appears once and doesn’t show up til near the end B) has one or two mini plots and then contributes little, if nothing, to the rest of the plot. Only one character is exempt, and she’s useless when she shows because the main three, the three you’re stuck with the for the bulk of the game, are much stronger than her.

None of the main three are all that interesting, either. Nel, the skirt-wearing ninja redhead, is, well, just what that description suggests. She doesn’t have much of a personality or a past, she never develops. She’s what she appears to be and nothing more. Same thing with Cliff, the blonde muscle-headed Han Solo-wannabe. Oh, and Fayt Leingod, the blue-hair sword-wielding do-gooder savior of the universe? He’s even more trite than his name suggests. Yes, such a thing is possible.

The story fails; the characters fail. It could stand a chance if the battles were up to par. They aren’t.

DON’T make dungeons longer than they need to be.

Chicks dig long dungeons; this is a fact. Grueling crawls, working for every battle, finding hidden paths, opening chests, all good fun.

But there’s a fine line between ‘tough’ and ‘annoying’. Star Ocean 3 leans to the latter, dragging you through some of the most nauseating dungeons ever. Marvel at the deep, dark, repetitive caves. Wonder at the anal halls that are a pain to get in and out of because they all look the same. Spend hours and hours accomplishing nothing and then, when you luck up and find the way out, get your ass handed to you by a cheap boss!

DON’T fill your sucky dungeons with sucky monsters.

Actually, that might not be fair. Rewind.

The bosses are cheap, true. They do have plenty of attacks that can just wipe you out in a single blow. They do cheese, they do abuse. But a little blame has to rest on your computer-controlled partners. It doesn’t help that they’re complete dumbasses.

See, you can only control one character at a time, and the CPU takes over the other two. Is it smart enough to attack? Yes. It is smart enough to defend? To a point, yes. But doing basic things, things like using healing items or dodging a boss’s all-range one-hit kill attack that he’s obviously charging up for, that’s just too much for them. Against a monster that requires anything reminiscent of intelligence to defeat, they’re boned.

Half of your time in battle will be spent just trying to keep them from dying. Yippee.

They screwed up the role-playing part and they screwed up the game part. What’s left?

Minigames suck. DON’T make people play them.

Oh, right.

Some of the minigames are harmless; stupid, but harmless. Like Item Synthesis; more trouble than its worth, but its there.

But the infamous Hauler minigame is a different beast. You HAVE to beat it to advance. It involves giant turtles. It involves getting them through a mine. It involves finding the right path without tiring them out or hitting a wall or getting struck by falling rocks. All of this depends on your turtle listening to your directions, which might not happen if you choose poorly (happy turtle, goofy turtle, angry turtle, etc.)

It took me five hours. Five hours to find the right turtle and navigate the maze without crazing. Five hours staring at a turtle’s ass. And they say videogames shouldn’t make you cry.

What really boggles me about this game is that the same guys responsible went on to make Radiata Stories. This game and that game are similar in key ways, the major difference being that Radiata Stories doesn’t suck.

Let’s just call Star Ocean 3 a test run and leave it at that, eh?

lasthero's avatar
Staff review by Zack Little (March 10, 2006)

A bio for this contributor is currently unavailable, but check back soon to see if that changes. If you are the author of this review, you can update your bio from the Settings page.

More Reviews by Zack Little [+]
Catwoman (Xbox) artwork
Catwoman (Xbox)

99.999% of the people reading this review have either seen or heard about the horrendous Catwoman movie, and are coming into this review expecting it to be bashed. Though I hope the great majority of people enjoy the read, know that I'm not aiming it at them. No, this is for the .001, the one soul on the planet ...
Mass Effect (Xbox 360) artwork
Mass Effect (Xbox 360)

The moment that made me realize Mass Effect was a great game came about thirty minutes in.
Spider-Man 3 (Xbox 360) artwork
Spider-Man 3 (Xbox 360)

Gang wars take over the streets. An alien symbiote pops out of nowhere and gives him a new suit with incredible strength - but makes him a complete asshole. Kraven the Hunter, Calypso, the Lizard, the Rhino, the Scorpion, the Kingpin, the Sandman, the New Goblin, Venom - New York City is a battleground, and there’s onl...


If you enjoyed this Star Ocean: Till the End of Time review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

You must be signed into an HonestGamers user account to leave feedback on this review.

User Help | Contact | Ethics | Sponsor Guide | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998 - 2023 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. Star Ocean: Till the End of Time is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors. Staff and freelance reviews are typically written based on time spent with a retail review copy or review key for the game that is provided by its publisher.