Review by Quazocot

Reviewed: 07/14/16

Cliche Ocean

Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness
Overall score: 4 out of 10

Greetings and thank you for reading my review; today we will be discussing Star Ocean 5: Integrity and Faithlessness. This game was hit pretty hard by the critics but as an avid Star Ocean fan I had to determine my own opinion of the game as a whole. In order to understand the rather low ranking that I’ve given it lets discuss this by section.

Story: 5 out of 10
The story of Star Ocean 5 revolves around the protagonist Fidel and his close compatriot Miki. They are the classic childhood friends who are suspiciously close from the very beginning. To avoid any potential spoilers, I’m not going to give a full synopsis though once you start playing you will see a very similar story to other Star Ocean games. There are many major plot points that are very cliché and predictable from earlier games in the series or other games in the same genre.

A large part of any game is character development and in general for the Star Ocean series we see this happen through the Private Action (PA) system. SO5 is no exception to this system; the system has a major change in this generation though. In any given town there will be a glowing circle near the Inn that you walk into to active PA mode. PA mode splits your party members which you now need to find to active various PAs. The PAs themselves are very similar to older games but there are a lot more of them by several times the standard amount. This sounds like a great thing but it does have a major drawback it takes a great amount of time for very little development.

Music: 4 out of 10
There is not a lot to go over here really; the music fit the game but was not memorable in the least. The voice acting in the game is decent but the battle phrases do get old quite quickly.

Visually: 3 out of 10
SO5 actually doesn’t look nearly as good as SO4 which was for the previous generation system. The spells look decent but most of the non-magic combat arts look very similar and rather unimpressive. Many of the opponents are re-skins of earlier opponents as well; this creation effect is used in many video games but SO5 does it with a very limited number of opponents thoroughly overusing the effect and making it look lazy.

Gameplay: 4 out of 10
On to the gameplay aspects of SO5. The battle system is different from previous generations as you do not enter a separate instance for the battle; now that sounds like a drastic difference but it really isn’t. You do stay on the current map with other enemies around but to counter that effect there is a barrier separating you from other enemies. This still effectively creates a separate instance while giving you the visual of being on the map. Another large change from other generations is that all of your party members fight. In most games you get 3 or 4 out of your party of potentially 7, in this all 7 fight. This does make it a bit more difficult to control the battle as effectively; most battles don’t require much control as they don’t really require strategy.

The new role system is similar to the gambit system from Final Fantasy 12; this system allows you to equip and level up to 4 roles per character that will define their actions when you are not controlling them. They do everything from heal allies to specifically attack strong foes from a distance or even majorly boost your defense while slowly siphoning your hit points. It is a very interesting system that could use some polishing. There are far too many roles to choose from and in order to get to the stronger roles that you’ll want in the end you have to level specific roles with no real indication of the result.

The skill system is a bit different from most games; in SO5 you need to collect manuals in order to learn new skills. These manuals can be used again to increase that skills level if you find a second manual. This is not a bad system though it should be noted that 2 characters share each manual and most manuals only appear twice (once for each). This simply means if you level up a skill the other party member cannot get their skill from it.

This game has also instituted a quest system where you go into several major cities and take quests off of the bulletin boards then turn them in to receive items, exp, cp, and money. This is not a bad system but it comes over as an attempt to lengthen a very short game (25ish hours). Doing these quests along with visiting each town after advancing the game at all will take you through the same 3 field maps far too many times fighting enemies that are way too weak to pose any opposition especially given how fast you level (after 6 hours’ playtime I was level 45).

In conclusion:
If you are a fan of the Star Ocean series, I do recommend playing this game just maybe waiting until you can buy it used. If you have not played a Star Ocean game before I recommend starting elsewhere in the series, possibly 2 or 3.
There is very little replay value here as there is no New Game+ and the only things that move over are anything you’ve gotten through battle trophies which is not very much.

Overall I give this game a 4 out of 10 due to tire rehashed story, easily forgettable music, and mediocre gameplay.

Rating:   2.0 - Poor

Product Release: Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness (US, 06/28/16)

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