Star Ocean: The Second Story is one of those games I have a love/hate relationship with. Itís like being in a romantic relationship with an idiot that gives you great sex, and it took me nearly a decade
to actually realize how much of a ditz Star Ocean 2 really was. Why, the realization hit me while I was playing it a few days ago, actually.
When I fired up the olí PSX and popped the game in, all I could think of was how much fun I was going to have. I remembered spending hours upon hours grinding for levels, Skill Points, and Proficiency for my Killer Moves. Star Ocean 2ís combat system is extensive, and does a great job at keeping you entertained throughout the many battles youíll have. Not to mention the ďSkillsĒ feature, which is unnecessary, but fun to tinker with. This is tri-Aceís specialty, after all. However, once I started getting into the story its stupidity started coming at me en masse.
Iím playing as the Earthling Claude, just arriving on an alien planet called Expel (through some means that is never really explained) in time to save Rena Ė the co-protagonist Ė from a monster. After slaying the creature, Claude and Rena begin talking. I donít think you read me. I said that Claude, the Earthling
, and Rena, the Expelian
start having a comprehensive conversation. How? Fuck how. Itís never explained. Does Claude possess some sort of translator? If so itís never mentioned, and the gamer is left wondering. It bothered me, but I decided to ignore it. Adult Castle wasnít going to ruin Teen Castleís memories, god damn it.
I soon learned that the nonexistent language barrier wasnít the only hole though. Thereís a crap load more where that came from, and the gameís writer and director donít seem to fucking care. Another example, Energy Nede is a 700 Million year old civilization that uses endangered animals to travel by sea and air. This civilization had ruled the galaxy once upon a time, and they donít have airships or boats or submarines? What the hell?
The dialogue is horrendous. I mean, even by Shonen standards itís bad. Aside from typical cornballery, the characters have this terrible habit of echoing whatever an NPC tells them while the NPC is trying to explain something, ruining the pace of the scene and making you wish you could enter the game and summon the Knights of the Round. Donít get me started on when the characters try to get philosophical. Itís fucking laughable.
Not to mention the characters just arenít worth caring for. Their actions and the things they say are fucking absurd most of the time. New characters join your party with unclear or nonexistent motiviations. One character abandoned his wife and business to join Claude and Rena simply because he wanted to have an adventure. How did his wife take it? Pretty fucking well. She was upset, sure, but she knew that he wouldnít just abandon her out of the blue unless he was ďseriousĒ (I shit you not). That, and he porked her before he left.
Private Actions are there to flesh out the characters a bit; however, they donít do much for characterization except make you hate the characters more. And, as Iíve mentioned before, the dialogue is horrible, and thatís all Private Actions are. Every time the option for a Private Action appears, it feels like the ďDoes this make me look fat?Ē question that will bring me pain no matter what kind of answer I provide.
The plot gets weaker as the game carries on. I wonít spoil, but this game has a habit of causing the characters intense pain and suffering, only to cop out at the last minute. Itís fucking irritating.
Still... I have spent 22 hours on that game. Yes, 22 fucking hours, because the ďsexĒ is sooo good. I had told my cousin that I ďprobably hate Star Ocean 2,Ē and he replied, ďDude, you hated it way back then. You had like 80-plus hours invested, and you were complaining the entire time.Ē And he was fucking right. 15-year-old Castle was in an abusive relationship with Star Ocean 2, but the sex was awesome, so he pocketed all the pain the game had caused him in the recesses of his mind.
*Sniff* Fuck Star Ocean: The Second Story. While Iím at it, fuck Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, too (thatís a whole Ďnother blog, man).
Now, if youíll excuse me, I need to go back to grinding in the Minhe Cavern so Claude and his party can finally reach level 90.