I can’t say I was actually blown away. It was pretty fun, even if painful beyond reason at times.
<3 her Blindside
That said, Star Ocean 4 is pretty good overall, but its a shame squeenix and tri-ace didn’t want to include Japanese voice tracks as part of audio selection for the Asian release version and put out an English and Japanese version (like, wtf square! You put the game across three DVDs and couldn’t put in Japanese voice tracks with subs?) of which local retailers only wish to import the english version (now that I can’t blame. I mean not everyone speaks Japanese as SUGOI SUGOI as the Japanese themselves)
[spoilers from here on. Well actually from the 3rd paragraph on. Hell, even wikipedia didn’t care for spoiler warnings]
[Disclaimer-of-sorts: Yeah I used a digicam to take pics of my TV while I was playing]
The game itself starts off impressively, all sorts of pre-rendered cinematic cutscenes of humanity blowing itself up etc etc. Standard WW3 theory, nuclear winter will consume the world etc. After they suddenly catch on and realize that if they keep nuking everything there’s going to be nothing left except dust and cockroaches, Amerikka and SOVIET RUSSIA (i guess lol) sign a peace treaty and look towards outer space and the endless STAR OCEAN for future colonization efforts.
So the story starts off with Edge, our typical protagonist. Full of youth and vigour and you know, the run of the mill standard start-of-the-game pre-hero mold. It’s a wonder how I even sat through his cutscenes in the initial bits of the game with a straight face >_>
Battle simulator training with him is pretty boring though, even if the story finds a nice way to lead into it. Seriously, reading the manual is enough. Unless you aren’t a fan of even tiny walls of text then by all means use the battle sim and be bored to death.
After touching down on Aeos for the first time I was rather surprised there weren’t any enemies right off the bat. Seems like they only attack after exploring past a certain point and stuff, so I guess me running around the same area trying to trigger a flag event got me nowhere~
Addressing the real-time battle system, it’s not exactly vesperia nor is it eternal sonata, the two other realtime 360 JRPGs I’ve played. I would, however, hasten to say that playing ToV actually helps get around the fact I haven’t played the previous Star Oceans and thus am unaccustomed (read: a noob) with Star Ocean’s system.
Getting new characters is pretty few and far between, sadly. Although the only significantly underleveled one would probably be Lymle, but that’s rather easily corrected. Star Ocean mages are usually pretty broken (or at least coke says so) and her AOE nukes and faerie healing are lifesaver skills.
Main-wise I usually just use Reimi for long-range pew-pew and her blindside (read: SO MANY FLIPS <3 Reirei’s blindside <3 Reirei’s blindside) and that once she gets crimson squall+crescent wings + atk boost + critical hit, her damage output is pretty disgusting. Only Arumat can exceed her in that respect (I heard meracle can too, actually, but I never used her)
“B-B-Baka, it’s not that we’re the OTP or anything!”
Bossfights are initially a playaround lulz-fest. When I fought Armaros for the first time I just kept using Reimi to pepper him with arrows and blindside him at every little opportunity (<3 her blindside) until he used his “arm” and revealed his weakspot. Although at that point I was too busy blindsiding him with Reimi to notice Edge and Faize were slaughtering him 🙁
It actually stays that way until Sahariel shows up. In a contrast with Barachiel’s weakspot which is his enormous back which he reveals everytime he uses a downward strike, Sahariel has an extremely annoying AOE slam which knocks Edge (who at this point is the only good melee charcter in game) back down everytime I try to land a mystic blade. What’s fucking worse is that his core is located on his underbelly and requires good timing to actually hit in the middle of his gay AOE slam when i’m not in rush mode. Took me fucking forever and I let Faize die 🙁
The whole alternate earth thing actually had me thinking “holy fuck pime taradox” for a while…I didn’t realize i’d actually been thrown into an alternate dimension until the earth actually exploded. Plus, that all important scene with Reimi not realizing she was stark naked was probably the best part of the Alternate-Earth quest arc. Well, that and getting meracle. Most risque outfit in the entire game, for lack of a better word.
Hey Panther, guess what, tri-ace and square made your mascot! Just that you can’t use it!
Edge’s emotrip after seeing Alt-Earth explode was pretty funny. Although by the time I got to Roak it was getting pretty fucking old and annoying. You don’t see arumat looking for self-pity (even if he isn’t exactly dealing with his issues right either) do you now, Edge?
And the bunnies. Oh jesus the bunnies. For a moment there I thought Edge was going to RIDE ASTRIDE INTO BATTLE AT THE REINS OF A SAVAGE PINK, FLUFFY BUNNY. Sadly that was not to be. I demand that the next Star Ocean have bunny battle encounters for epic lulz. Maybe you can gain special bunny attacks like “savage pound” or “carrot smash” or “fuzzy thunder” or “diabolic nibble” or something.
Also, I thought the colosseum was going to be like the colosseum in Tales of Vesperia, open to contenders etc etc. Turns out they lock it shut after you beat some pathetic excuse for a sub-boss. Maybe you can go on in later, idk, but I haven’t given it a shot yet. Boss of the level was surprisingly easy. Maybe I was overleveled but seriously, guy went down really fast. Probably the second easiest grigori as compared to Armaros manifest.
Was a bit shocked when Faize left the party. It was a pretty surprising plot-twist, given that tri-ace spent 2 entire discs developing his character in Edge’s party. Arumat however, is a fucking damage monster. Wide area slashes, massive hitcount attacks, better-than average health and a badass scythe. Seriously Diabolic Edge -> Unholy Maelstrom -> Diabolic Edge -> Bloodstorm Revolution -> Unholy Maelstrom can kill off any singular unit. Anyday. Well, unless you’re one of the grigori with all those weakpoints and shit. Insofar the weakpoints I know are:
Armaros: Entire armored side. Initially not a weakspot until he detaches it as an arm.
Barachiel: Back. Hammer him when he slams into the ground.
Sahariel: Underbelly. Do a special skill on his weakspot when he rears on his hindlegs.
Armaros Manifest: Too easy. It’s the huge crystal on the back of his/her (?) tail. Blindside to get to it.
Kokabiel: When he calls his little slave grigori back to him and envelops himself in a lightsphere. Hammer away at the sphere.
Sataniel: First smash his jewels. Then his entire body is vulnerable.
Nothing worthy of note on En II except “Ex”. Felt sort of “Big Brother is watching your entire race fap” in the control room, but nonetheless it was a pretty boring level. Kokabiel’s a shitty boss and the early psynards which are supposed to be the zenith creatures of the level are easy pickings except when they nuke the arena with some long-range AOE thunder blast.
At the end of it all, the morphus (the race on board En II), eldarians and earth forces under the USTA launch a combined attack on the final boss planet. Turns out the planet’s alive and can generate a fleet from itself using the evolutionary life force of un-natural evolution. It’s final doomsday weapon had me going for a while. Apparently it’s called Jormungandr and is a living dragon that fires one enormous pewpew laser from its mouth which then causes its head to explode -_-
What I don’t get is that apparently the morphus are so technologically advanced they have technology capable of generating black holes. If that’s the case Crowe wouldn’t have needed to turn his own ship into a mini-black hole and die in blaze of manly glory. Then again if he hadn’t died the Aquila wouldn’t have blocked the hurricane leading to the palace of creation so yeah.
The final dungeon is irritating as hell, even if you just want to get to Sataniel. Vesperia’s final dungeon was a walk in the park compared to this. Especially when it came to the fucking gateways. I gave up playing for a while there because I got lost for a good half hour.
Final boss turned out to be a two-stage fight, depending on how you look at it.
Even if the cloak made him look pretty badass.
First stage is pretty easy. All it took was Reimi and an endless stream of crimson squalls and crescent wings coupled with the party hammering away at him to eventually finish the job.
Second stage was FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF. Apparently Faize didn’t die in the blinding burst of light (I actually thought he was pretty dead then myself) and formed a master-servant contract with the missing procedure (read: unseen all-powerful antagonist).
Initially only Lymle realizes this because she is totally fucking tsundere for Faize and deep down Faize is a closet lolicon with a particular attraction to lolis with annoying sentence-ending copulae.
He then throws you into an alternate dimension to fight every other boss (excluding Tamiel and Armaros) from Barachiel to Kokabiel.
Once you break out he goes batshit crazy (read: drunk) with power and merges with another Grigori to form Sataniel. Easily the hardest of the Grigori bosses due to a crazy amount of health and the fact that his own battle proceeds in two stages; one in which I have to smash his protectory jewel-orb things and then you just fight him just like the Apostle of Creation.
lol spelling lol
At the end of it all, the way it wraps up is pretty lame. Edge supposedly “dies” after Faize sacrifices himself to save him but the light of life (yes it is literally that) saves him from his fate of being disintegrated as Nox Obscurus falls apart with Sataniel’s defeat.
The earthlings then swear (on Edge’s prodding) not to maintain ties with En II or Eldar die to the fact it would prompt altered evolution. The Eldarians start life from scratch on Lemuris (which is coincidentaly their lost utopia lol) with nothing but hoes and spades and manly burning passion. En II vanishes into space for good.
Seriously that was pretty damn lame. In the end Earth still relies on Eldarian technology and their consensus for that fact was that they somehow hope to surpass it with earth-made technology. Edge seems to be fine with that, so why not use that consensus with En II? Whatever happened to political exchange, cultural exchange, literary exchange via the use of ambassadors? The missing procedure has just elegantly trolled Earth, Eldar and En II. Well fucking played.
That said it was incredibly lulzy to see the Eldarians dig away at the ground aimlessly with nothing but hoes still dressed in their alien robes. If that doesn’t make them look like gods to the Lemurians I don’t know what will :/
In the end, Edge and Reimi live on in as the true OTP, relinquishing their titles to those of “nameless heroes” and watch on as Earth unveils its plans for expansion to the stars.
There are also character specific endings (of which I only have EdgeXReimi, Sarah, Myuria and Lymle’s true ends). Faize apparently has an end too, but it’s exceedingly troublesome to get. Arumat’s is significantly less annoying but is also relatively troublesome. I can’t give two shits about meracle’s end and Bacchus apparently goes off with some random woman i’ve never seen throughout the entire game. Perhaps his wife?
Dubs were decent. Lymle’s was horrendous because it was overly annoying and I wanted to leave her rotting in a ditch on Lemuris ‘kay? That and I missed out on delicious Miyuki Sawashiro (SANYA from Strike Witches) and Misato Fukuen. Fukken rage squeenix, 10/10.
On a final note, Beat: B is awesome. Beat S is probably only good for Arumat.