Author Topic: Klutz64's Quest "4" A Star Ocean Platinum

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Klutz64

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Klutz64's Quest "4" A Star Ocean Platinum
« on: November 03, 2014, 07:48:23 PM »
I've been meaning to start this project for a while now, but never really found the time. However, all these Interstellar previews have gotten me in the mood to play the game, so why not give this a shot?

And considering it was kind of my idea to start this forum, I should probably contribute something to it. So here we are: my very long-term adventures in attempting to get the Platinum trophy for Star Ocean 4.

A BRIEF HISTORY

I got the game originally on the XBox 360, before I owned a PS3. I really enjoyed the game(play) but the disc swapping was absolutely maddening during the endgame. So I finished the game with a basic playthrough, acquiring very few extras and didn't really touch it afterward.

Then I got my PS3 and eventually picked up the International Version. Only played to about level 20 before becoming distracted by something else and haven't touched in over two years.

For this project, I've deleted the battle trophy data from my last game to start somewhat fresh. I say somewhat because I did keep my current PSN trophy collection for the game. I only mention this because I plan on starting most posts with the current playtime and current trophy percentage. So while this ratio may not be 100% accurate, I doubt in the grand scheme of things it will make much difference.

THE GAME THAT COULD HAVE BEEN

I mentioned the Interstellar trailers because I really wanted that to be what this game was: A story about a journey to find a new home, like the introduction promises. Instead we get a space virus, lizard people, time travel, and the origins of that ever-present plot device, the UP3.

The crafting system, the environments, the gathering skills, the hub ship... all these things could have been used to make an amazing free-roaming, main-plot-takes-second-fiddle, explore-the-galaxy-to-your-heart's-content, sandbox-ish RPG.

Heck, the intro would have made a better linear RPG to play through than what we were given. The characters even seem to have had a lot better character development during that time.

Anyway, let's begin...

CALNUS...ENGAGE!!

Everything that comes out of a character's mouth in this game is completely stupid. EVERY SINGLE LINE.
--"The ship's taken severe damage!"
-----"Thank heavens the ship didn't take too much damage!"

---"Now go travel to the far reaches of space to save our planet from our own mutual destruction--BWAHHAHAHAA"
------Seriously, why does he laugh at the end of that line? We're not sending a probe to Mars to look for Martians.

---GRAVITY FLUCTUATIONS!!
-----GRAVITY FLUCTUATIONS!?!?
--------GRAVITY FLUCTUATIONS!!!!!11!!1!

---"I can't believe you would do something so stupid!"
------"I--uh--saved a bunch of crew members from ravenous monsters?"
----------"I know, right!? I'm never speaking to you again!"

Let's take a moment to remember that this game felt the need to give a SCIENTIFIC EXPLANATION for why the main character uses a sword in the future of guns.

Meanwhile, this crew is being heralded as heroes for embarking on this super dangerous trip (that takes all of two minutes, if you were paying attention). But when the captain asks central command for support from the military, Shimada's response isn't "We don't have the resources for that, that's why WE MADE SUCH A BIG DEAL OUT OF PLACING MANKIND'S FUTURE IN THE HANDS OF YOU GUYS!"
But rather... "I don't feel like it."
Just, everything after the initial launch makes everything feel a lot less tense.

But enough of that, let's talk good stuff:

The graphics in this game are still amazingly detailed and gorgeous to look at (again, making me wish there was more free roaming). Sure, the graphics are probably not nearly as good when you take away the blanket of bloom over everything, but I'm still blown away by them regardless. I also like how the monsters are designed with their environment in mind. I've had plenty of times where I would run into a monster I didn't even realize was there because it blended in with it's surroundings so well. But it's not just the environmental graphics...

The UI for this game is by far my favorite for any game. It loads quickly, it looks and feels smooth and unhindered by needless fluff (despite having a ton of things to keep track of), and the character portraits in classic mode are fantastic. Especially Reimi's....

Reimi is the savior of the entire cast. Love her hair, love her weapon, love everything about her design. She's certainly the most distinctly Japanese looking anime character I've ever known. Plus she can be super OP in the beginning of the game.

TODAY'S DISCUSSION

How do you guys compare the combat system in this game with the Tales' games. I've never been very good with the combat in Tales (especially the Xillia battle system), but I'm pretty good with this one. I think this one is slightly slower paced, making it easier to transition between attacking and defending. Yet, despite a slower pace it's still stylish as all hell, and the amount of strategies and options at your disposal makes it a great battle system for generating "stories"
« Last Edit: November 03, 2014, 07:55:53 PM by Klutz64 »

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Re: Klutz64's Quest "4" A Star Ocean Platinum
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2014, 08:28:43 PM »
I've actually always preferred the Star Ocean battle system (in line with their years of release of course) to the Tales system, but Tales has a lot more to go on and many more titles to play.  They were always less restrictive and great about having that almost WRPG-ish idea of grinding for the best weapons.  SO is also much better about making their games harder; Tales game's idea of "difficulty modes" tends to be just giving enemies more HP and the player dealing less damage.

I actually really didn't like the super colourful Japanese menu and hooonestly preferred the more sci-fi and deep space look of the overseas release (sorry).  I liked that the original was more cartoony and colourful, but since it didn't match with the in-game (well, frankly, neither actually did match the in-game style) I was sort of iffy about it.... and the fact the blue and rusty red contrast just looks like butt to me.  But in the end, I did switch them up from time to time because they both did work.


Even a more unpopular opinion was that I actually *loved* the FMV look of realistic characters.  Unfortunately, the SO team didn't pick their battles and opted for THREE DIFFERENT styles.  

The anime one was nice (Katsumi Enami is a brilliant artist) but I'm not sure how well it worked against the 3D in the game.  The in-game graphics were criticized for being doll-like and creepy --- but I give a TON of credit for being a rare anime-J title that even bothered with texturing (something the Tales series can barely deal with, it seems).  Then the realistic style was quite lovely but takes real people with....anime proportions (big eyes, tiny waists, big heads) and makes it somewhat off-putting to look at.

Quote
The crafting system, the environments, the gathering skills, the hub ship... all these things could have been used to make an amazing free-roaming, main-plot-takes-second-fiddle, explore-the-galaxy-to-your-heart's-content, sandbox-ish RPG.

Heck, the intro would have made a better linear RPG to play through than what we were given. The characters even seem to have had a lot better character development during that time.

Yeah I remember by eyes GLITTERING with all the potential, and I've ALWAYS adored SO as the nerd-match that brought JRPG, fantasy, and Sci-fi together and I'll always love it for that.  But it quickly lost steam as soon as the Earth segment happened ("losing steam" being a possible understatement), then the plot was dead for me by the end of Roak.  

I honestly wish to fuck that Tri-Ace didn't fuck up the plot and characters so bad...  This is that once in a blue moon TRAIN WRECK of bad characters matching up with an equally bad plot where everything else was so much better but still brought down the entire title.

Star Ocean 4, on a gameplay-only basis, was almost perfect to me.  I loved the wandering, and Tri-Ace has very competent 3D artists that made the world look beautifully coloured, brightly lit, and perfectly crisp.

Quote
Let's take a moment to remember that this game felt the need to give a SCIENTIFIC EXPLANATION for why the main character uses a sword in the future of guns.

I was thinking about this when I was playing FF7 and I think have an answer.  Call of Duty shows and proves that any obnoxious teenaged idiot who's claimed to have "fucked your mother" over Live Chat can use a gun.... but using a sword puts the action, literally, "in your hands" and makes it much more personal and more about skill than pulling a trigger.  I'm simplifying a bit, and that's not to say there haven't been awesome gun-wielders (WA3's cast, Maria in SO3, ME, Dante from DMC, ...fucken Megaman).

I'd actually give up Zelda Wii U (for example?) if it meant a new Star Ocean title that "got it all right"

Ah well, here's an old piece of art that inspires me and reminds me a ton of SO4
http://i.imgur.com/0MpUplm.jpg
« Last Edit: November 03, 2014, 08:30:58 PM by Dice »
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Rucks

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Re: Klutz64's Quest "4" A Star Ocean Platinum
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2014, 09:14:43 PM »
this fucking game...

I like this thread for the same reason I like watching a train wreck

Out of all of the games I've managed to slog through, I think I liked this one the least. I only made it to the end because the battle system is so much fun (and I'm pretty sure opinion on that is split).  It definitely seemed easier to grasp than most Tales games.  Hell, I made it through all of Tales of Symphonia without really being sure what the heck I was doing during fights.

Unsolicited Opinion: Tales of Eternia was/is my favorite setup from either series.  So underrated.

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Re: Klutz64's Quest "4" A Star Ocean Platinum
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2014, 12:02:29 AM »
Oh, man, this Platinum. I was going to go for it on the PS3 version before my game froze up multiple times in a row while I was deep in the optional dungeon each time, before we knew what was causing the freezing.

I just lost so much time and effort to the freezes that I said fuck it.

A few times I've ended up Platinuming games that take so much effort, like SO4, I usually end up enjoying them a lot less. Like Nier's terrible Platinum.

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Re: Klutz64's Quest "4" A Star Ocean Platinum
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2014, 04:20:49 PM »
Nier soured me on the whole idea of getting platinums and is probably one of the reasons I kind of swore off trophy collecting entirely...

Klutz64

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Re: Klutz64's Quest "4" A Star Ocean Platinum
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2014, 05:57:42 PM »
I normally don't care about achievements in games, but in terms of gameplay, this is one of my favorite titles and I have a lot of fun collecting the battle trophies, so I'm kind of determined to get this.

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Re: Klutz64's Quest "4" A Star Ocean Platinum
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2014, 09:49:38 AM »
 I had a hard time remembering this game, I was sure I have played it so I had to look into it more to find out and I think that was the main problem with this game is that it really didn't leave a impact on you for most people. Overall no it wasn't a bad game at all and I did enjoy it because sometimes corny characters make me smile. Like a lot of RPGs have that friendship and love theme built in but this one was so straightforward about it that it just came off as humorous. The overall plot was a great plot of people trying to find a new home but most of the character writing and depth was just bad.

 I will completely agree that the world was awesome, I wish more games took the time and effort to make areas of the world so detailed/unique. This is another game that did some great things but never got the credit for it and its ways were mostly lost in time due to bad sales. It makes me wonder if people who make games actually play games enough to find out why people don't like them and then try to improve the things that are lacking.

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Re: Klutz64's Quest "4" A Star Ocean Platinum
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2014, 11:01:06 AM »
I normally don't care about achievements in games, but in terms of gameplay, this is one of my favorite titles and I have a lot of fun collecting the battle trophies, so I'm kind of determined to get this.

I can already see you having less fun trying to do exactly 77,777 damage.

Klutz64

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Re: Klutz64's Quest "4" A Star Ocean Platinum
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2014, 11:11:07 AM »
I normally don't care about achievements in games, but in terms of gameplay, this is one of my favorite titles and I have a lot of fun collecting the battle trophies, so I'm kind of determined to get this.

I can already see you having less fun trying to do exactly 77,777 damage.

Haha, I already remember being super frustrated trying to get Reimi to do 1,111 damage.

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Re: Klutz64's Quest "4" A Star Ocean Platinum
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2014, 06:05:03 PM »
I didn't mind those achievements.  Granted the "final few" will probably be annoying, but fighting enough (and you will be) is sure to net you a bunch of those tropies.  It's probably just a good idea to keep switching things up.

I also questioned whether or not I liked the character design or not.  Edge Maverick has a perfectly boring outfit scheme to go with his perfectly derivative name; and Reimi actually has a futuristic skirt of...like...techno-flaps.  Ah well, the colouring is lovely at least (I especially love that this is one of those rare occasions that an MC has blond and GREEN eyes as opposed to the usual blue most games opt for).
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Klutz64

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Re: Klutz64's Quest "4" A Star Ocean Platinum
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2014, 12:05:51 AM »
Mid-post Update:

The going is kind of slow on this one. It takes a bit of time in each area to max out the monster data and I'm playing a bunch of other games as well. So I do apologize that the posts aren't coming quite as quickly as I would like. I'm currently finishing off the first dungeon and I'll probably do another long-form post once I circle back around to Triom.

Klutz64

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Re: Klutz64's Quest "4" A Star Ocean Platinum
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2015, 11:41:21 AM »
Main Entry #2: Edgie's a Klepto, 'Kay!?

So, Lemuris... the first real look at how the game plays. And your first incredibly annoying character. Well, perhaps annoying is the wrong word. Lymle is obnoxious simply because she's super creepy and weird. You have to wonder a lot in this game what the developers were thinking, but none moreso than Lymle with her dialogue and speech patterns. I just feel like the directors told her VA that the sound they were going for was "future sociopath." Though one thing that does make her slightly more bearable is taking a quick glance at her battle trophies to realize the developers hated her as much as the rest of us do. They're basically 30% "Get the shit kicked out of her."

-Brief aside: I find it odd that you can learn about the Eldarian's "Lemuria" legend RIGHT before learning the planet's name is Lemuris, and nobody even blinks when it's mentioned. It's a small problem I've always had with games that have optional side content that adds major details to the world-building and plot.

Not really much to say about the plot that happens on Lemuris. Just the first real dose of "*nudge nudge, wink wink* reference the first two Star Ocean games and pretend SO3 never happened" that the plot leans heavily on throughout the entire game. I feel like the game wouldn't have suffered from a bit of "Ha, ha. Can you believe how dense the citizens of this universe were for not realizing they were in a game?"

I do really like the dungeons, but maybe that's because this game takes place before lazy dungeon design was the norm for JRPG's, and I'm just thankful for a little bit of interaction in dungeons. They're also helped by Sakuraba's SO dungeon themes which I always felt make every dungeon feel like a final dungeon.

What wasn't fun was working on getting every monster's Bestiary entry to 100%. I managed to get most of the enemies on Lemuris, but I forgot the Lizardmen disappear after defeating Barachiel, so I didn't complete the Dragon Newts or Lizard Commanders.

Speaking of Barachiel, holy hell. I forgot how irritating most of the bosses can be, with their vaguely-defined weak points or otherwise taking barely any damage. I was drastically over-leveled due to the farming for bestiary entries, and I still almost got killed in that fight.

Lastly, as the title of this entry references, I want to talk about how much I love Pickpocket. It's a stupid, barely useful little addition that helps keep track of which NPC's you've interacted with and the fact that you can pickpocket major NPC's and even party members for the same worthless junk as everyone else makes it even more special. Anyway, onto Arcturus VIII!

Battle Trophy Progress

Not really much to update, until I get to the battle arena I'm mostly working on the grind-heavy trophies and the luck-based trophies. I'm mainly focusing on Faize right now for his "Leave the enemy with X hp" trophies. For that I'm still missing 9, 8, 6 and 5. You would think the smaller numbers would be the harder to get, but it really is just luck of the numbers.

A couple I've already been dreading trying to get, none more than Lymle's "Keep the Rush gauge at 100% for X minutes"

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Re: Klutz64's Quest "4" A Star Ocean Platinum
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2015, 10:21:46 PM »
Main Entry #2: Edgie's a Klepto, 'Kay!?

So, Lemuris... the first real look at how the game plays. And your first incredibly annoying character. Well, perhaps annoying is the wrong word. Lymle is obnoxious simply because she's super creepy and weird. You have to wonder a lot in this game what the developers were thinking, but none moreso than Lymle with her dialogue and speech patterns. I just feel like the directors told her VA that the sound they were going for was "future sociopath." Though one thing that does make her slightly more bearable is taking a quick glance at her battle trophies to realize the developers hated her as much as the rest of us do. They're basically 30% "Get the shit kicked out of her."

I feel like they could have made her AMAZING because her character bio is so damn frightful and tragic. But then they went too much like a creepy doll you'd find in a haunted house complete with creepy-cute communication, annoying looking outfit, and as an aside, kinda just shitty to use (most mages in the SO series are though).   That dress she wears in the secret ending was a lot better, less pink, and the added height makes her not walk around like her boots are 4 sizes too big.
If they made characters endings, one unique character chapter would have been divine to flesh a lot of the cast... instead we get pretty half-hearted and way-too-anime Private Actions where our handsome and fabulous alien gets to flirt with the tiny doll-girl in dumb ways. 

Quote
Not really much to say about the plot that happens on Lemuris. Just the first real dose of "*nudge nudge, wink wink* reference the first two Star Ocean games and pretend SO3 never happened" that the plot leans heavily on throughout the entire game. I feel like the game wouldn't have suffered from a bit of "Ha, ha. Can you believe how dense the citizens of this universe were for not realizing they were in a game?"

In a fun reversal of what you're saying: It's not like SO4 is much better since this is the game that sets up the "UP3"...  Where, like in Star Trek, you don't go to developing planets and fuck with them with trippy future-technology....

So basically the same law that gets broken and sets every previous game's plot into motion. :P

Quote
I do really like the dungeons, but maybe that's because this game takes place before lazy dungeon design was the norm for JRPG's, and I'm just thankful for a little bit of interaction in dungeons. They're also helped by Sakuraba's SO dungeon themes which I always felt make every dungeon feel like a final dungeon.

Never saw it that way before... and you might be on the money there!
I always liked this one from SO2.
Hard Chain Reaction from Valkyrie Profile fits very much.  And it works because Lezard's Tower was like the hardest dungeon in that game...  But this song hits at you so hard (and the opening seconds are electrifying).

I was grateful SO4's dungeons (iirc) weren't nearly as lengthy as SO3's.... which is one of the main reasons I don't wanna replay that one.

Quote
What wasn't fun was working on getting every monster's Bestiary entry to 100%. I managed to get most of the enemies on Lemuris, but I forgot the Lizardmen disappear after defeating Barachiel, so I didn't complete the Dragon Newts or Lizard Commanders.

I like going for these and seeing how far I go till I give up

Quote
Speaking of Barachiel, holy hell. I forgot how irritating most of the bosses can be, with their vaguely-defined weak points or otherwise taking barely any damage. I was drastically over-leveled due to the farming for bestiary entries, and I still almost got killed in that fight.

Yeah I remember that one.... >:/
On that note, I say this lightly, but Reimi could be my waifu I fucking loved her so much in combat.

Quote
Lastly, as the title of this entry references, I want to talk about how much I love Pickpocket. It's a stupid, barely useful little addition that helps keep track of which NPC's you've interacted with and the fact that you can pickpocket major NPC's and even party members for the same worthless junk as everyone else makes it even more special. Anyway, onto Arcturus VIII!

Pickpocket was the reason I'd recruit Ernest in SO2.  Pickpocket is also all about the 1 out of every 200.  One amazing item for another two hundred shitty ones.

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Annubis

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Re: Klutz64's Quest "4" A Star Ocean Platinum
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2015, 10:36:11 PM »
Yeah I remember that one.... >:/
On that note, I say this lightly, but Reimi could be my waifu I fucking loved her so much in combat.

Catgirl is also great on bosses.

Klutz64

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Re: Klutz64's Quest "4" A Star Ocean Platinum
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2015, 12:54:23 PM »
Probably won't have an update ready this weekend. Had to work most of it and too upset with the world today to enjoy much of anything.

So after working all weekend two weekends in a row, I haven't had a lot of time to play. But I did manage to finish the Cardianon Mothership which I feel like is enough for another entry,

BECAUSE...
« Last Edit: January 25, 2015, 06:31:23 PM by Klutz64 »