Star Ocean: Even More Hope?

So after Square tried to spend three days jerking everyone around with the Deus Ex reveal last week, their Japanese division though it might be cute if they did the same thing this week.  They put out a teaser image that looked like this, announcing that they would reveal more info the next day:


As usual, fans kinda lost it and started speculating as to what it could be.  S A R 0 1 0 1?   It wasn't long before someone thought a T fit between S and the A, and that the 0s and 1s could be binary, where 0101 translates to 5.   And just like that, we had our speculation for Star 5 being "Star Ocean 5".



But I was unconvinced.  This is Square-Enix, the company who came to Sony's 20th anniversary show where tons of new games were revealed, and teased a remake of Final Fantasy 7 perfectly, only to reveal...the original Final Fantasy 7.

These are the people you wanted me to have faith in?


I mean, sure Final Fantasy XV Episode Duscae was pretty fun (what I've played of it...I don't want it to end ;_;).   And yeah, Dragon Quest XI is coming to PS4.   And even though I don't care about the franchise, they've finally started earnestly working on Kingdom Hearts III.   But, it's still Square-Enix.  In the gamer world, they're the closest thing to a crappy significant other.   They treat you like garbage until you're almost out the door, then they suddenly remember how to say all the things that made you fall in love in the first place. 

So I was beyond skeptical.  The only thing that stopped me from coming to JiH and writing a blog post explaining why Star Ocean 5 wasn't going to happen was a Daredevil marathon that just wouldn't end until I saw Matt don the red suit.  I was still thinking about doing it, until I woke up and learned that I misjudged how close Square thought we all were to walking out the door again.


We don't know much about Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness yet.   So far it's just a ton of screenshots and the most basic of character information, along with the knowledge that tri-ace is back and the game itself is for the PS3/PS4.   Everything I'm seeing looks pretty hype--the character designs are neat, the graphics look great and the world looks properly "Star Ocean" as far as starting in a fantasy environment only to somehow end up exploring other planets.   I like the twist that we're finally starting with a different planet rather than going the "galactic empire" route that SO is usually about, too.



Seamless, real-time battles have been confirmed, so no time wasted on loading battle screen loading, which honestly sounds like the best thing ever for a game series that honestly made it off the strength of their battle system in the first place.



The only thing I don't care for is letting the PS3 bottleneck what can be done with the PS4, but realistically Japan has been really slow adopting the current-gen systems so I'm not surprised.  At this point I'm just glad it's both on current-gen consoles and doesn't look like a pile of hot garbage.  (To the contrary, the game looks gorgeous and it'll probably look even better when they finish.)  Everything else I just have to take in stride. 

Now, the last game went pretty far off the rails in terms of what gamers were looking for, so a few "wants"/wishes before we get any further:

- Modern Quest Design:  Keep the fetch quests to a minimum, but if you have to have them, please use a more modern quest design.  I tried some of the quests from Star Ocean 4 and was astonished to have them tell me to look for things that were basically rare drops, so I spent hours doing random battles until they finally gave me what I was looking for. There's a huge difference between telling me to find an item that can only be obtained from fighting a difficult monster, and telling me to hunt for an item that only drops from a monster every 50 times you kill one.   One's challenging, the other's tedious. 



- No Ridiculous Little Kids: This may already be a wash considering the screenshot above, but I'm pretty sure most of the people who played Star Ocean 4 hated Lymle.   So keep any little girls or boys with stupid catch phrases out of the game, please.    (Or, if you must have any kids, make them less Lymle and more like Leon from SO2.)



- Spaceship Travel:  Less a criticism of the last game and more a suggestion of how to improve.  Do what Destiny promised but couldn't do.  I don't need anything super complicated, but give me a cool spaceship that I can travel the galaxy with.  It's called Star Ocean and I haven't been able to do more with my ship besides use it as a fast travel button yet.   Let's get some piloting involved, please?



- Ridiculous Crafting: Star Ocean has always had some legendary crafting.   SO2 let you create books and recipes that you could copyright and get you paid periodically without fighting a single monster.   SO3 let you boost weapons so they did monstrous damage so boss battles could be easier and regular battles became a cake-walk if you wanted.   Take the next step with that and allow custom spell-crafting or technique-crafting.   Allow us to develop our characters to a greater degree.  This sounds like its biting from W-RPGs but really it's just the next step in what you've been doing already for years.


Whether they go forward with these ideas (please) or not, this game is probably the biggest news I've personally heard all year.  I've seen so many franchises get new entries this gen (Persona, Deus Ex) and remained quiet while I hoped some of my favorites would get a return.   Well, it's finally happened and I don't think I've been as happy with console gaming as I am right now in a long while.  At this rate, I'm going to seriously have to re-think my stance on J-RPGs being "back". 

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