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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Star Ocean’ kicks rivals in the junk

Swords! Magic! Dragons! Intergalactic spaceships and evil computer programmers! In Square-Enix’s new RPG (role playing game), “Star Ocean III: Till the End of Time,” you get all this and more.
In the third title in the Star Ocean series, the life of far-future college student Fayt Leingod continues. While on vacation with his folks and childhood friend, Sophia, on the resort planet Hyda IV, Fayt is attacked by the fish people from outer space called the Vendeeni. The Vendeeni are after Fayt and are tearing up planets and space-faring freighters looking for him. Fortunately, Fayt escapes and develops an uncanny ability to crash on every single planet that each seem to be one big Medieval Times. He eventually ends up on the planet of Elicoor II and the story branches from there as he meets friends and foes.
The biggest selling point of “Star Ocean III” is its battle system. For nearly 20 years, RPGs have done combat in planned out, one-at-a-time fashion. The Star Ocean games are known for their real-time battles and the latest edition is no different. The player controls one character during the fight while the computer controls the other party members. This is innovative, but the biggest pain in the butt ever. For the most part the AI-controlled party members do their job. But what can be a relatively easy battle has the potential to become an epic struggle as the computer for your strongest character decides to stand there and watch you get torn to pieces by porcupines. It can also have a mean sense of humor as an AI-controlled healer runs in circles while only casting helpful spells on herself (I’m looking at you, Maria). These problems do exist, but only happen 10 percent of the time. Eventually, players learn that the secret to winning is taking control of the healer and letting everyone else do the dirty work.
Besides a novel battle system, “Star Ocean III” also presents a lush world. The graphics and the music in the game are some of the best in recent RPG history. With a range from speed metal battle ballads to peaceful, Gaelic village music, the atmosphere of the game make it it most two years old. Delays in bringing the game to the United States were due to the first batch of the games in Japan were more flawed than campus parking and that it apparently takes a long time to record lackluster voiceovers.
The game panders to those who hate reading by including spoken dialogue in the game. Unfortunately, it is not that great. It always seems that Star Ocean games must set the bar low for voice acting. Compared to other games with spoken lines, Star Ocean is not playing with a full deck. The character Farleen’s voice is so high-pitched you can hear the dogs down the street howling. It is interesting, however, that the voice acting for the battle sequences are the best in the game. But, in its defense, a line like “I’m going to kick you in the junk!” has enough raw emotion associated with it that it probably makes the delivery easier.
Voice acting aside, “Star Ocean III” offers something missing from modern RPGs lately: extra stuff. The game is filled to the brim with dungeons and bosses that will test your patience and skill. After you beat the game, you can load your data and go to a dungeon with 200 floors and a boss with over 10 million points of life. However if you do decide to go on this quest bring some No Doze and don’t make any plans for the next three days. Star Ocean III also comes with a versus mode that is opened by completing a dungeon and a story requirement. The versus mode is very entertaining and everyone will be shouting his favorite battle cry – you guessed it – “I’m going to kick you in the junk!”
Most players will see through the weak dialogue and slightly unoriginal storyline and enjoy the battle system and over 50 hours of gameplay. Also, console RPG fans will rejoice as we have been given a worthwhile game to play during this fall semester. “Star Ocean III” is an entertaining RPG and a great way to forget you have a paper due the next day.
GRADE: 4 out of 5

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