Star Ocean provides a compelling storyline, but has a few features that really bring down the fun value of the game.

User Rating: 8 | Star Ocean: Till the End of Time PS2
You'll follow in the footsteps of a boy named Fayt Leingod. He was enjoying himself on the beach on Hyda IV when all of a sudden the Vendeeni attacked. The Vendeeni are basically the antagonists in this game. You land on an unknown planet with your mom, dad, and friend gone. And on top of that, interacting with anything, or anyone on another planet, is a violation of their laws which are known as the "UP3". You come across Cliff, whose boss is looking for you. The two of you get arrested but are busted out by a woman named Nel. She asks you to help her and her country in a war against another country. And the story pretty much takes off from there, with some plot twists here and there.

The graphics are great for this game, every character and town looks amazing. The monsters look good and there are so many places in this game that you will visit.

The music is another great thing about this game. This game features a huge soundtrack, however, most of the music is repetitive. You'll hear the same song in some dungeons and fields. But each town has its own unique little jingle that pops into your head and stays there for days.

The voice acting is good, although some parts of it sound terrible. Almost as if they are just trying way, way to hard to be convincing.

The battle is real-time. You'll be able to run around the battle field attacking any threat that comes towards you. You have four main attacks, strong and regular, both of which are either short or long range. Regular attacks happen as soon as you hit a button, while strong attacks will take a while. As you progress through the game, you will get more attacks that you can mix with other attacks to create your own style of battle.

Each of these attacks consume percentage from your "fury" gauge. You start at 100%, and each attack will take up some. To replenish your "fury" gauge, you will have to stand still. That can be a problem as during that period, you are prone to attacks from enemies. The gauge can also be frustrating as if you constantly attack, it'll drastically go down. And when it reaches zero, you can't attack until it is back to at least 15-20%.

During battle you will also have a "Bonus Battle" gauge. When you start a battle, if there is any percentage on the bar at the right of the screen you can fill up that bar. When you fill it up, you will get bonuses for defeating enemies. Bonuses such as triple EXP, double Fol, (Which is the currency in the game.) and others. This can get frustrating as the percentage is usually at 0%. And when it is at a certain percentage, it will drop down no matter what you do. That can get very annoying.

When you do have the gauge full, you have to be extremely careful as even the smallest amount of damage can destroy the gauge, making you have to furiously start over again.

All the enemies will be visible on the map and you will also be able to switch your characters and control different characters. So you have to run around as Fayt, but you don't have to battle with him, or even put him in the battle. You can choose any other character that you'd like.

Symbology allows you to cast spells, but like most RPG games, spells will consume your MP (Magic Points). Also, like most RPG games, having 0 HP (Hit Points) will cause your character to die. And to revive them, you need an item. But, also having 0 MP will cause your character to die. So you have to watch both constantly rather than just one of them.

This game has several areas for you to explore which is great. The dungeons can be really long and frustrating as they almost never give you any clues. So you have to play Nancy Drew with every dungeon you come across.

You can carry a bunch of items, but only 20 of each. That's not really good considering how long most dungeons in the game are. So you will sometimes have to come out of the dungeon and purchase more things and go back in a lot of times.

During the game, you can join an Inventor's Guild. This basically allows you to invent things, if you have the money for it. The invention process can be very slow and dull. When you set up what you want and everything, you just have to wait for your characters to tell you when it's ready. If you are crafting an item that consumes lots of money, it will take longer, even possibly emptying your wallet.

You will be able to sign some inventors and place them in any city that you have visited. They will be able to help you make items, so they are really used for only that. Each inventor has their own special ability, whether it is Cooking, Crafting, or even Alchemy so use each one wisely.

You will obtain a PDA upon registration which will alert you about new items on the market or new inventors that just started and everything else you'd expect from and inventor's guild.

Overall, the game provides a unique experience like no other. It is a fun game, but some parts are just bad, or really, really annoying. I recommend this title to any RPG fan, or for somebody who is just getting into RPG's. I also recommend it to anyone who loves puzzle solving because this game has a bunch of them for you to enjoy. You'll also get 60+ hours of drama and gameplay.

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