mark cerqueira well-rounded nerd

Thoughts on Star Ocean 5

A week after its release, I beat Star Ocean Integrity and Faithlessness a.k.a. Star Ocean 5. Here are some of my thoughts on the game.

  • The game is short: I beat it in 24 hours doing about 70% of the side quests.
  • The story is pretty poor. It’s easily the weakest in the series.
  • I liked the cast of characters and the voice-acting was pretty good! Each character was unique and memorable. The story didn’t do the characters enough justice but the optional Private Actions gave some opportunities for development.
  • The battle system is good, but the AI was terrible at making all characters useful. Heal spells always seemed to be improperly timed!
  • How cutscenes were implemented was lazy and really hurt the delivery of the already-bad story. Cutscenes were rendered without any special handling and would let the player walk around and control the camera. This likely saved a lot of development time as cutscenes did not need to be “directed” but really cheapened each scene.
  • The camera was bad: too close to the character and too jarring when moving around.
  • There was too much backtracking without early fast travel options.
  • The option to have orchestrated battle music from Valkyrie Profile was great! This reminded me how much I want Valkyrie Profile 3 to happen.

So much potential squandered!

Conclusion: it’s the weakest entry in the series so far. Even though I just finished trashing the game pretty hard, I powered through it because it was fun to play (I’m a masochist). Along with the Tales series I always considered Star Ocean to be a reliable source for decent JRPGs. This game sadly makes me question that. I would not recommend buying the game at the $60 price-tag, but if you find this game in the bargain bin, I’d recommend picking it up if you’re hungry for a JRPG.