There's little room for an introduction to this, so, let's just get right in with my Star Ocean: TtEoT 60-Minute:Introduction:
Star Ocean: Till the End of Time has an interesting history on the PS2. First release in Japan about a year ago by Enix (before they became SquareEnix), the title was extremely bug-ridden, and caused PS2’s around the country to crash left and right, among other things. It was nearly pulled off the market as a result. Afterwards, Enix went back and fixed the issues, patched the bugs, added more story, added in a verses mode, and released the game as Star Ocean: Till the End of Time Director’s Cut.
Now, more than a year later after the original release in Japan, the Director’s Cut is out in America. How’s the game? Well, let me just say this – midnight snuck up on me really quickly last night, which is why you didn’t get to see this write-up until this morning.
Call it a 180-Minute Write-up instead of a 60-Minute one.Graphics:
For the aging PS2, Star Ocean: TtEoT looks remarkably good. The backgrounds and characters are presented in a detailed, sorta life-like look. You can see the anime influence upon them, but they look far more human than a game like Tales of Symphonia.
During cut-scenes (of which there are many), the game uses lots of dramatic camera work, character movements, and visual effects (camera work where it focuses upon the foreground for example) to make this game look like a movie or something. I’m impressed, as it works, and works very well.
Battles are very pretty as well. The characters are well animated, your sword swings give off arcs of light, and special effects fly everywhere when your attacks connect.
In a surprising move, this game supports Progressive Scan if you happen to own the TV and the cabling to do so. What’s impressive about it is that the game supports it without a frame-rate hit. The game is locked at 30fps, and it might even be 60. I’ll have to watch more closely as time goes on.Sound:
For those of you that have it, Star Ocean: TtEoT supports Dolby Pro Logic II (which opens with a fun little fireball effect to show it off). It’s highly used, as characters voices/footsteps are clearly focused upon coming from that position, as well as any environmental effects. It really helps to draw you into the game.
What I’ve listened so far from the music is fantastic. It’s booming, it’s orchestrated, and it’s great to listen to. If it keeps on being as impressive as it has been, I’m going to be looking for the soundtrack.
The voices on the other hand, are more into the ‘eh’ category. Your character is voiced well, but the female protagonist (or what seems to be anyway) sounds way too old, or just doesn’t sound right. Most characters you walk into though are fully spoken (at least what I’ve seen so far), and are a mix of the usual ‘some are just right while others are over the top’ that we’ve come to know and love.Gameplay:
Your hero was just enjoying another day at the beach with a well-known (to him anyway) female friend when the planet he was on was attacked for no reason. You, her, and your parents go to make an escape, but are separated due to issues beyond your control. Once you crash land upon an underdeveloped planet, you create (via a transporter type method) a sword (to better fit into the time period there) and start off towards the nearest town, hoping to blend in until help arrives.
Thus, Star Ocean: TtEoT starts. There’s no ‘save the world’, there’s no ‘group of kids gather to stop the ultimate evil’, there’s no clichéd beginning. Just a matter of survival for your hero, and an attempt to get back to your family.
That’s not to say that you won’t see any of the RPG staples as you move forward, but it’s a breath of fresh air based on some of the other RPG’s I’ve played in the previous months. In addition, the game hints that there’s far more going on than you know, instead of outright telling you, which really brings you into the story.
So, how’s combat? Like Tales of Symphonia, or Sudeki, it’s very fast paced, action packed, and leaves you wanting to keep on fighting. Every character has multiple forms of attack that they can launch depending on their positioning and distance from the enemy. In addition, you’ll learn Skill Moves, where you’ll be able to do far greater damage than normal, but at a cost of HP, MP, or your Fury bar.
Yes, that’s right – some of your special moves will drain your HP. You have plenty of HP to compensate, and you’ll even regain a bit after battle, but you need to watch what you’re doing so you don’t blow through your lifebar.
Combat is also highly customizable from what I’ve seen. Your Skill Moves can be placed in multiple locations, upon which they’ll end up being entirely different moves, with different damage, range, and life drain. You’re also limited (early on anyway) as to how many Skill Moves you can have ‘learned’ at once time, so you have to think as you customize your character.Overall:
To put it bluntly – I really like this game so far. I’m only 3 hours in, and it looks to be yet another Enix masterpiece. I’ll get back to you on the full review once I get the time to play it more.
Edit: Memory Card information:175KB
if you intend to save your 'battle trophies' (basically a little bonus thing for the game), which is insane. Sure, it saves little 'photos' of your accomplishments, but that's nuts.
Yes, I love the game. Absolutely love it. The game truly is as good as the reviews show. Discuss while I keep on playing.