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Octavia
September 9, 2004

Boy, it feels a little odd to not be sitting in front of my TV playing Star Ocean. That's practically all I've done since this time last week, after all. Really, when you've been attending college for two years longer than you were supposed to, a week of missed classes isn't that big of a deal.

And sure, I completely forgot today was my sister's 21st birthday, but I hit level 70, and that's just as important. :P

So, let's get down to it.

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E-mail Daniel, unless you're a scammer from Nigeria.
 
 
Let's get the non-Star Ocean stuff out of the way first, shall we?

Nippon Ichi Software America (NIS America) confirmed that Atelier Iris ~Eternal Mana~ will be released in North America!

they don't have a release date yet, but it's still confirmed! i'll be sure to grab a copy of that game! and if they make a Limited Edition of it, i'll surely buy it!

we need more Limited Edition stuff here dammit! :-P

-Francis

Iíll admit, I know next to nothing about Atelier Iris ~Eternal Mana~ except that it looks absolutely beautiful. Very reminiscent of SaGa Frontier II, one of the last RPGs released where I was absolutely floored by the graphics.

The main thing I wanted to talk about is your point about limited editions of games. Why donít we see more games like the Playstation releases of Lunar? Admittedly, RPGs are still predominately a niche market (especially compared to, say, the latest edition of Madden), but WDís continued existence is proof that this can be financially viable. I mean, you could have a normal release as well as a release containing extras. They do it for DVDs all the time, do they not?

Of course, Iím just a humble journalist in training. What do I know about economics? :P

 
This letter is somewhere around eighty points.

I can't stress enough the fact that Star Ocean: TET has finally arrived on US shores. I have been anticipating its arrival for quite sometime after realizing Squares embaressing first shot at the title. I went to my nearest game store, purchased SO as well as Phantom Brave (another title I was extremely eager for) and popped in SO as soon as I got home.

Wow.

Star Ocean is perhaps one of the greatest RPGs to bless our beloved PS2. While I am not done with the game, I can positively say that the story makes the game, as it is easily a classic in all our books. I feel the same about the battle system, far exceeding my expectations. The whole package blew me away, top notch graphics, excellent dialouge, battle system, minigames, everything is perfect. Damn, how did they make it so perfect!

Its one of those games that I'll be playing over and over and over again to find every secret, every item, obtain the highest level and then some. Few games have had this effect on me, and to tell you the truth, I've been waiting for a superb title like this.

Kudos Square, you continue to exceed my expectations every game....except for FFX-2, SHAME! See you next year!

Wow is right. Iíve been enthralled with this game ever since I got past the dismally long prologue. Not that I expected a short prologue. This is a tri-Ace game, after all. This is by far the best ďpureĒ RPG Iíve played on the console. Iím not sure it beats Dark Cloud 2, but itís the only other game that comes close to it in my eyes.

I will say this: you are the very first person Iíve heard who has said that ďthe story makes the gameĒ. Most everyone, myself included, feels like the storyline is the weakest link. Not that itís bad, of course, but it is pretty mundane for a large portion of the game. No, the big draw for me is combat. I donít normally go out of my way to fight, even in RPGs with active battle systems like this, but I find myself steering right into enemies I could easily fly past, all because I actually enjoy mopping up the floor with them.

I agree, this is one game Iíll be coming back to for a long time. Iím already on my second time through!

 
Of course, there are always exceptions to the norm. :P

Uggghhh....what have they done!

Like most of you I am now about 25 hours into Star Ocean 3....shaking head slowly. After just having played 2 again, did you collect all the voice bytes to unlock the galaxy quest there and so on? Uggg private actions or story, i don't know if it was normal, or not 1st time thru, but at one point cliff turned to me and said: " took you long enough to get here." No where near the abuse Zelda WW put us thru but still. Okay, they should have spent more money on voices ( i don't care that they pulled in some big names, every video game with voices all sound the same, dialog delivered without any feeling or emotion behind it it is always in monotone!) and one example is of Nel's wagon drivers; i have blocked it out of my mind, her voice was a cross between fran dreshere's and mickey mouse........I grabbed my ears, reminded me of dumb and dumbers, "hey, want to hear the most annoying noise in the world?" And the nice simple battle system, sings 'where have you gone', okay wh! at is the deal, can you tell me, is there more CP points or is 15 it? I mean I have all these cool things, stun and fear and all the ole favs from 2, but when i leveled them up in the previous game they were usuable from anytime, you could just beat on the enemy, and then hit the top buttons for special attacks, now i got to be close to the enemy, i have to hit crazy button combos, ohh and is it a feature i just didn't see listed in the pamphlet style no help instruction manual, but does the AI keep other characters, you use too much, on the side away from the battle, I got it set at show no mercy type o setting and the wuss just sits there. As for the animation, ehh, Lunar's (original sega cd) was groundbreaking this is just a little bit better, as for the sound, i got a dobly surround II (and that special digital cable) system and i got to say w/o the volume way up and the center speaker rigged higher than the others by a lot, the voices are impossible at times to make ! out above the background music. i think this may join crummy(xeno)saga in games that i just won't play to the end.

From his cave, the hermit

ps I can't wait till they maybe ruin shinning force for me!

Tim Dugs

ÖMan, thatís a lot of stuff to cover. :P

While Iím no fan of Farleenís (A.K.A. the wagon driverís) voice, I think the voice acting as a whole is quite good. Fayt and Nel in particular have great voices. Sure, the voice acting isnít up to the caliber of the Metal Gears and Soul Reavers of the gaming world, but it does the job well enough for me. Iíd certainly rather hear this than hear the Japanese voices drone on and on in a language I canít even begin to comprehend. I know that makes me a rarity in the RPG community, but itís true. :P

From some of your comments, it seems to me like action-based RPG battle systems might not be your forte. If you think holding down the attack buttons to use your battle skills qualifies as ďcrazy button combosĒ, then you might be better off playing something that involves a little less dexterity. :P

I do agree with you on the volume of the voices, though. Albel in particular has several good lines, but I can barely make out what heís saying. It seems like this was a problem in the Japanese release, too. Makes you wonder why they didnít sort that out with the directorís cut. Oh well.

Closing Thoughts

You know what I need right now? That's right, a little more Star Ocean. When I come back downstairs in a week, I hope to see all sorts of your shiny letters in the ol' inbox. And don't worry about spoiling things for me with regards to SO3. I done seen it all, baby. :P

~ Daniel Stringer (letters@rpgfan.com)



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