Star Ocean: Integrity And Faithlessness, Remember when game titles made sense? - Games Weekly

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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Star Ocean: Integrity And Faithlessness, Remember when game titles made sense?

Whoever said all the good game titles had already been used might have been onto something. The early days of gaming gave us some absolute belters of tongue-twisting titles as bedroom coders looked to make their efforts stand out from the pack Escape From The Planet Of The Robot Monsters, Horace Goes Skiing and Hard Cheese are three cracking examples to toss into the faces of rose-tinted morons who suggest that old games are simply just better. But as gaming found the mainstream, titles grew more sensible, more self-explanatory (if you can get more elf-explanatory than Horace Goes Skiing), names slowly shrinking into single short words in an effort to make them easier to deal with. Halo. Gun. Haze.Pure. Blur. All the good ones got taken. But then along came the mobile copycats, with canny devs snapping up any variant of popular game titles they could get their hands on, to the point that we fully expect Call Of Honor: War Commander to be an actual mobile game. Like snappy band names, all the good, simple game titles are gone. It’s larger numbers in suffixes and convoluted subtitles from here on out, people. Get used to it.


If its ludicrous moniker didn’t draw enough attention to this new JRPG for you, there’s also the amusing fact that it follows directly on from the third game in the series, Till The End Of Time. Granted, Till The Next Game would have been a far weaker title (plus it’s probably already taken damn mobile vultures) but it’d at least have been more accurate. If nothing else, it’s still something to discuss next time one of those nice robots calls you up to chat about the accident you had recently or the PPI you were mis-sold. It’s not just the game names that leave this fifth Star Ocean game with a burden to bear, either character names have a lot to live up to. Till The End Of Time gave the leading role to a dude called Fayt Leingod but somehow, 2009 prequel The Last Hope managed to trump that by engineering the single most JRPG name ever crafted: Edge Maverick. Drink that in for a second. It’s almost too perfect. Impossible to follow, even. And sure enough, Fidel Camus is a letdown in almost every respect.
“THE OLD-SCHOOL RPG IS A DYING BREED AND WE’LL TAKE WHAT WE’RE GIVEN”
Well, that’s not entirely fair. Our new leading man hasn’t really had much of a chance to shine, given that we’ve not even seen (or heard) him in action yet. His starring role so far is limited to several appearances as Generic Anime Swordsman in these stills and a handful of bullet points. We’ll gladly give the lad a fair crack of the whip traditional old-school JRPGs are even rarer these days than they were last generation (and even then, we ended up playing both Till The End Of Time and The Last Hope against our better judgement) where every team was trying to push the format in different directions. We do know, though, that our boy Fidel keeps somewhat strange company. A terrifying purple-haired elf-girl-thing that looks like a haunted egg has taken over a child’s body and has eyes so big that windscreen wipers would be more effective than eyelids; another swordsman, this one resembling The Witcher’s Geralt enjoying a little Final Fantasy XII cosplay; a spiral-haired witch whose latticed outfit seems to have had every other panel cut out of it in a bid to win the Most Ridiculous Battle Attire Of All Time award (she’s a runaway favourite for it, too). It’s an odd bunch to be sure, and this is before we even set eyes on the inevitable ‘comic relief’ character it is an unwritten, yet sacred, rule that every classic JRPG has to have one and given what we’ve seen so far, we are not sure we’re ready, to be honest. We’re not sure we’ll ever be ready.

To its credit, Star Ocean’s setup has always been pretty cool, and we’re actually kinda up for taking spaceships to underdeveloped planets and impressing the plebs with our superior grasp of technology again. The narrative side of things is neat, too, although multiple endings isn’t quite the selling point today that it was when the series first landed on PSone. And it does look pretty as well, with stills making it look like photos of anime toys taken in a back garden and splattered with Photoshop after-effects, so hopefully it manages to retain this playful style in motion. Whatever the case, we’ll play it as we say, the old-school JRPG is a dying breed and we’ll take what we’re given. It’s only confirmed for Japan right now but seeing as how all the other games in the series have made it to the West, localisation seems bound to happen at some point we’re not sure when, though. Bonus points if Haunted Egg Girl is voiced by Troy Baker.

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