Thursday, January 06, 2005

I Hope The End Of Time Isn't Soon

This last week, I've been playing Star Ocean: Till The End Of Time, a late gift. It's been a while since it's been out and, while there have been reviews both good and bad, I was somewhat suspicious of the game after seeing what Penny Arcade had to say about it. Reading other reviews seemed to paint an entirely different picture, but which one was right? Penny Arcade has generally been dead on, as far as I'm concerned, but this time we don't see eye to eye.

Yeah, that's right. I really like this game. The real-time combat system, which I thought I'd be maligning over in no time, is good to the point that it actually gives me some hope for Final Fantasy XII. While it doesn't sport a particularly liquid-smooth feel, attacks have a sense of weight which makes pulling off combos very satisfying, especially when switching between characters for maximum effect. While your AI controlled party members generally don't fight too well at the beginning of the game, an interesting system where you actually increase their skill(not strength) while leveling eventually has them fighting well enough to hold their own in any battle.

Yeah, any game has got to have bad parts. With Star Ocean, a lot of reviews have mentioned shoddy character detail but neglected to also mention that only certain characters look like crap. Why this is remains a puzzle to me - the character models themselves are well done, but the texture work on some(mainly NPCs you see clearly for a second or two) just looks awful. Does that really matter? Not to me. The only other problem is just as much a problem in any recent Japanese RPG as it is in Star Ocean: squeaky voice acting. At this point though, that's just come to be expected.

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