"The thing with some of these battles is that youíll either get through without breaking a sweat, or youíll find yourself totally destroyed within a few moments. This boss just happens to be one of those enemies that obliterates me really quickly. Heís too fast, and since I can only control one character at a time, the other two that are controlled by AI really have no clue what the hell they are doing. "
Star Ocean: Till the End of Time is so far from perfect, and yet, I can't seem to put it down. I don't really know if I like the game or not, even after around 28 hours of progress. I'm currently in some ruins, unable to beat a midget boss who stands in my way to catch a Dragon from the lava caves. I've gotten to the point where I just escape from most of the battles, because they simply take too long, and I get such an insignificant amount of EXP from it. I need up to 4000 EXP to level up, and I waltz into a battle with two velociraptor type dragons plus a huge flying dragon, and all it nets me is some paltry 300 EXP, and not only that, it leaves me in pathetic shape. My characters get paralysed, or I need to really top up their HP or MP. Most of the time, I just simply don't bother. I can beat each boss I have to face, and they don't give much EXP either. Well, except for this one, but I donít think brute force will help me get past it.
The thing with some of these battles is that youíll either get through without breaking a sweat, or youíll find yourself totally destroyed within a few moments. This boss just happens to be one of those enemies that obliterates me really quickly. Heís too fast, and since I can only control one character at a time, the other two that are controlled by AI really have no clue what the hell they are doing.
It also occurred to me that I don't actually enjoy these dungeons that this game likes to throw at me every chance it gets. The main problem is that there are multiple paths branching off in every direction. Thereís also this silly map completion thing, which makes me want to go and explore every nook and cranny. Sometimes Iím rewarded with an item, or a monster, but most of the time I get nothing at all. And most of the time, you canít even achieve 100% map completion without returning later, so itís pointless for the most part.
The dungeons are also full of puzzles. I don't like the puzzles they keep throwing at me, and yet, I keep playing because I want to see the next story segment. I just keep convincing myself it's going to get better. There are times when I play for hours, and I love it. The story is really getting interesting.... and what does it do? It sends me to another dungeon for the next hour. And then I have to figure out the solution to another bizarre puzzle.
And that's not all. Sometimes it throws in these inane tasks for you to do, such as navigating a giant turtle through the mines (which is an exercise in tedium), which becomes more trial and error. You have to keep starting from the beginning until you get it right. Or more recently, running through the desert, hopping into springs of water before the bar on the screen tells you you're out of water, and you collapse. You get returned to the start of the map, and you have to go at it again. Quests like these might be kinda realistic to the areas we're traveling through, but they aren't fun. They're irritating.
The story itself, while engaging enough to make me put up with the gameplay tasks, is a mess. It starts off with one thing, and it throws in something else. Something happens which makes you spend the next few hours doing things, before you can get back to the main story. Actually, for about 10 hours, I had completely forgotten about the main story, and was just focused on traveling to the city of Aquios. It does have a very epic feel though. Itís an epic adventure, which isnít really sure where it started, but it might as well have fun doing things along the way.
And then there are the characters. Fayt is such a goody-two-shoes, and is so damn solemn, I could punch him, and yet, he acts exactly as I'd expect him to. He's a well designed character, whom I can relate to, but damn he isn't very likable. Nel and Cliff are much better, and many of the characters later in the game are okay. The characters seem incredibly real, and youíll want to see how they deal with one another or the events the narrative throws at them.
I say I'm playing through Star Ocean 3, and playing a few hours a day, but when I think about it, all I can name are negative aspects. The only thing it really has going for it is that it's compelling. You want to see what happens next.
I dunno if games should be like this. I've lost count of how many times I've got angry or annoyed, or simply turned off the PS2 and walked away, not caring about losing progress. As a reviewer, this is the hardest game for me to peg, I honestly don't know if I like it or not. Part of me wants to give the game a 7 or 8 in a review, the other wants me to give it a 3 or 4.
Maybe it's a 5/10 game.
Featured community review by jerec (October 30, 2004)
On very rare occasions, Jerec finds a game that inspires him to write stuff about. The rest of the time he just hangs around being sarcastic.
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