An ocean of possibilities
It's been seven years since the release of the last Star Ocean game, as a long time fan i'm both satisfied and disappointed with the resurgence.
A lot of potential, but with contradictory execution.
Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness staying true to Japanese role-playing archetypes, starts in a small town. You play Fidel Camuze, the son of a legendary swordsman who, alongside his friend Miki, finds himself thrusted into a conflict between two nations whoms fate will decided by a rag tag bunch of unlikely heroes who transform along their journey into the squad necessary to bring some kind of harmony to their world.
Star Oceans cast leaves quite a lot to be desired in the, ‘unique and trail blazing department’ as they pretty much make up the most generic archetypal ‘save the world team.’ Now, that, especially in the cases of the other heroes (not Fidel and Miki) actually comes across as charming and endearing at some points. every body loves a good ‘infinte and mysteries’ powers character, who along the course of the journey begins to uncover the truth to who and what they are, and that is what we could of got, along with a myriad of other intertwining stories to make us care about these characters plight, but we didn’t. The bones and pedigree was there to bring a resurgence to the Star Ocean name, and although the game isn’t terrible, it isn’t great either.
One redeeming factor of Integrity and faithlessness is that it decided to stick to the formula that is tried and true and that I love when it comes to it’s combat; it being, we have control of a character within a defined area being able to switch between light and heavy attacks as well as different characters. The fluidity of the combat and the lack of typical ‘turn based’ combat warms my heart and stands as the linchpin holding the game together. This time around, with Integrity and faithlessness some much needed and well received adjustments were made which helped with the seemliness and fun in landing and dodging attacks.
Another saving grace for Integrity and faithlessness is the soundtrack, it’s beautiful, captivating and well paced. Motoi Sakuraba deserves a lot of credit for helping to elevate and bring emotion and meaning to sequences which would of otherwise been greatly lacking.
The story promises a lot but doesn’t fully deliver, there’s not any real emotional payoff in character development or narrative. Combat and its subsequent upgrade systems are a welcomed improvement and make the game fun but the overall experience is held back from being great by multiple issues elsewhere. I love the Star Ocean series but in the case of Star Ocean: Integrity and faithlessness, it holds too tightly onto outdated character concepts which makes the game discernible from other JRPG’s and lacking in the special sauce we’ve come to know and love from the Star Ocean series.