Star Ocean 2r Review/Impressions/Retrospective/whatever the hell else I feel like

Several months ago during a Nintendo Direct, a remake of Star Ocean the Second Story was announced, and I lost my fucking shit. Why? Well. I could just leave it at “It’s one of my favorite psx era JRPGs” but then again there’s a lot of those (the Playstation was stacked) For anyone that doesn’t know the game, it probably doesn’t do a good enough job on selling it. And while I don’t feel obligated to sell it, it’s one of those games I want to sell because of how underappreciated it is.

First, a little bit of context on my original experience. Star Ocean is a series that is made by Tri-Ace, a group of developers that split off from the original group who made the Tales of games. If you’ve ever played a tales game before, it will become immediately evident with some of the same systems (even the items are similar, just different terminology)

The first game was released only for the Super Famicom, at first, and didn’t have much of a presence until the 2nd story was released in the west. Why the second story was brought west, I could only say is probably thanks to how well Final Fantasy 7 performed.

I don’t think I ever bought the game myself. Rather, I had an online friend at the time I would exchange RPGs with that I think let me borrow it. Though I did buy my own copy later I know (because I think I ultimately sold it like an idiot)

The game features a dual protagonist system (which I thought was neat) but I only ever ended up playing the guy my first and only time back then. Why? Well I think I indentified more as a man back then and was more interesting in the potential romance relationships.

You see Star Ocean 2 has over like 100 endings (you get multiple of them per beating the game) and they’re all based on which of your characters have the most affection with other characters. For someone like me who was just getting heavily invested in romance VNs, I found that aspect really appealing and incredible ambitious

That’s actually the running theme of SO2. It’s incredibly ambitious. There’s like an overabundance of shit you can do and while it’s not all implemented flawlessly, it’s still all pretty fun. You can, as one example, pickpocket any NPC(even your friends) for rare items. Or you can craft incredibly powerful things and easily break the game as early as the first couple of hours. The game possibilities seem endless.

Combine that with the private action system where you can see special events with characters you travel with. There was a lot of stuff that made the game feel a lot BIGGER than it actually was. For people in the west who had never experienced the first game, I think it carved out a huge niche for itself to live up to..

The plot, while nothing incredible(still enjoyable), was still fresh as most JRPGs were fantasy based. Again, I think it was FF7’s success that convinced them a futuristic RPG like Star Ocean could do well.

Unfortunately, the subsequent entries weren’t as great. Partly because they made some odd directional choices with the story (the story of the Star Ocean games are all in the same universe) and partly because they didn’t quite expand enough on what the second story had set up. Of course, I’m mostly speaking for myself here, but ultimately while I didn’t hate any of the subsequent games (even 5 which everyone seems to hate) I found them incredibly lacking in comparison to SO2’s glory

Replaying the remake, and playing the game for the first time in over two decades, I definitely enjoyed experiencing a lot of the stuff I never did in the original (starting with the girl character, recruiting a lot of characters I never played with before) Though I do admit that a lot of the initial excitement I had for it (both when I played the original and when I heard about the remake) fizzled out. I think because I knew that even though it was a good game, that there wasn’t a lot of of hope the Star Ocean series could ever be that again

Like it’s most recent game, 6, isn’t bad at all, but now I’ve mostly forgotten it. It was more of a filler game while waiting for other big releases. Telling people who like the 2nd game to play it or any of the other entries just feels wrong (even though I don’t think they’d be as impressed given what they have available today)

So yeah, In short the original SO2 was godly. The remake is also good. It could have used a bit more quality of life in the form of things like being able to fast forward everything (you can only ff scenes) and by incorporating some kind of cursor memory/last item used system for some of the crafting. I also kind of wish they had included the English voices from the original PS game for nostalgia..

OH Yeah speaking of voices, if you do JP voices, I highly recommend you do the SE voices rather than R voices. Much much better.

In terms of other recommendations, I see a lot of people recommend Rena these days, but I think the best protagonist is still Claude. True you miss out on ONE exclusive character who can be pretty good, but he’s not THAT important (especially considering he’s outclassed by other characters) The reason I suggest Claude is that I feel like the game is kind of designed around his perspective more. Ultimately it doesn’t matter that much, but if you’re facing choice paralysis, I’d say go Claude

I’m taking another indefinite hiatus from social media…

I’m taking another indefinite hiatus from social media. This time, I’m aiming to keep off it for a year while I get myself in order. Right now, it’s just not doing anything for me other than exasperating my negative emotions, and even when it’s not, it’s often encouraging me to engage in non-productive behaviors (like buying a lot of shit I don’t need)

I’ll be posting here more, most likely. Though I’m going to give myself a few days (maybe even weeks) to center myself

https www youtube com watch v=mz1ypuGJ3VM Along with…

Along with Nagi no Asukara, I also finished watching Shinsekai yori (from the new world) The premise is that humans at some point develop psychic powers. Due to the nature of some people, however, they come to either abuse or lose control of them. Essentially leading the world down an apocalyptic path and creating a dystopia of sorts.

Normally the information of the past is tightly guarded by a select few, and children are watched closely out of fear. However, a certain group of students randomly come across some of this old info, and their fates as well as the course of events are radically changed forever.

This one is an interesting series. If you’re a huge fan of children dealing with a dystopian world (like I am) you’ll probably enjoy it. Similarly, if you like things that keep you on the edge of your seat or deliver some pretty strong philosophical messages, you’ll probably get a lot out of this series.

I will say that the way it tells the story can be confusing. If someone were to watch it, I’d recommend you actively watch it versus passively because it’s really easy to miss stuff. Hell, even I’m not 100% sure I got everything out of it that I was supposed to.

There’s no OP song, but the first ED (the one I posted here) is a banger. Loved hearing it every time an episode ended.

https www youtube com watch v=uVf9B9TzD0I I finished…

I finished watching Nagi no Asukara yesterday. It’s a series about these people who live in the sea and their relationships with people on the land. More specifically it follows a group of kids from the sea who are forced to attend school up on the land and them dealing with the increasing tensions between sea and land. Even more specifically, its one of those series where there’s a lot of complex romantic entanglements (A will like B, B doesn’t know who they like, C likes A etc)

My feelings on it are mixed. I am mostly happy with who ended up with who at the end, but the melodrama was overdone. I found myself wanting to roll my eyes when certain characters would cry and run off and then get chased (It would have been fine just once, but it felt like all the time) I would have instead preferred to see more episodes devoted to characters getting to know each other better (rather than a lot of the dramatic turns they throw at you)

Ultimately not something I regret watching. but not something I’d ever recommend

It’s time for a bit of an update…

It’s time for a bit of an update on me.

Lately, I’ve been feeling good. Really good. The reason why is still somewhat unclear, but what it comes down to is that there’s been something wrong with my gut for the past several years and I’m only now starting to find some relief for it.

To be more specific, I’ve had numerous health issues that have been bothering me for several years now (4 or 5 at least) Random alarming body pains, weird pulsations, constipation, and acid reflex. While maybe not all related to each other (unsure) they were really interfering with my quality of life. Enough where I went to the doctor several times (and several different doctors) to get some kind of direction.

My regular doctor would just give me blood tests, all of which would come back normal. She would tell me that I’m just getting old and that I needed to take fiber and laxatives. Which I did to minimal improvements. Another doctor told me it was fibromyalgia (which they then admitted is basically a doctors diagnosis when they don’t know what’s going on) (Basically them giving up without really trying) Another doctor, upon learning some family history, gave me a referral for a colonoscopy which was quite an ordeal (but otherwise showed no problems) Oh and I also got tested for allergies once

My own suspicion was either something with my stomach or neurological. I figured the constipation/acid reflex was a stomach problem and the pains were some kind of neuropathy. I even wondered if they might be related. The doctors I saw seemed to dismiss the idea, but honestly I feel like it was outside their field of expertise. I wanted them to refer me to a neurologist or someone who knows the stomach, but my guess is doctors wont refer you to a specialist unless they themselves have some idea (and just need confirmation)

In any case, doctors weren’t really stepping up to the plate, and it was causing me a lot of frustration. This on top of the frustration with where I was in life and time ceaselessly marching on, really fucked with me for the past several years. And while I wouldn’t go as far to call the last several years irredeemable, I would say I wasn’t anywhere near where I needed to be.

But now things are different. While I’m still not sure exactly what’s going on, I feel better and closer to an answer.

You see, in my quest to figure out what’s causing my issues, I started a new probiotic. A few hours after my first dose of it, I noticed I had developed some itchy spots. This wasn’t the first time I had experienced itchiness like it, but I found the timing to be somewhat suspect. Reading online, I then found out about something called histamine intolerance

While it wasn’t a perfect fit for everything wrong with me, I wondered if it might really be something with my gut. So I’ve started doing a few things like eliminating my consumption of milk and taking only half of the two pills of the dose of my probiotic.. and well.. I haven’t faced any issues of constipation since.

That’s not all though. I find myself feeling a lot less depressed and anxious. I’m also a lot less irritable.

I still deal with random pains and acid reflux like symptoms, but I feel like they’re a lot more manageable now that I’m not also dealing with the constipation. Who knows, they might also get better with some more time. I can’t really say for sure.

I do have a physical sometime in the future, and I plan to ask my doctor more. At the very least, I hope that if they don’t know they can give me a referral to someone who does (for once) That’d be great..

But even without that, I feel myself heading more and more towards a positive direction as of late. Hopefully I’ll have some more to share in regards to that over the coming weeks

The past couple weeks or so I’ve been…

The past couple weeks or so I’ve been primarily playing the newly released Lies of P on Game Pass. As a huge fan of souls games (played every one of them excessively minus Sekiro), the game seemed the closest souls-like game to a Fromsoft title ever. Turns out it was a lot more similar than I was expecting.

Maximilian Dood, a popular Twitch Streamer/Youtuber, said it was the first game that wasn’t a souls-like but rather an actual souls game, and I’m inclined to agree with that sentiment. Nothing else has ever come this close to feeling like a Fromsoft game. Now that this exists, in fact, it’s caused me to look a lot more critically at other souls-likes (It’s much the reason I didn’t pick up Lords of the Fallen)

I can’t sing the game’s praises any higher other than to say it’s given Resident Evil 4 a good run for it’s money as both game of the year and as one of my favorite games. I eagerly await DLC (moreso than Elden Ring at the moment, though that’s more recency bias)

I’m not a huge fan of horror media…

I’m not a huge fan of horror media. While I like to occasionally feel unnerved by a story, I don’t tend to take a lot of enjoyment from being scared. In fact, due to a somewhat traumatic experience when I was young, I mostly try to avoid horror media.

That extended to games until I watched a friend play Silent Hill 2. I’m not sure if it was due to it being dated (this was in 2014 or so) or if it was just being older that gave me courage. However, having enjoyed his playthrough, I wound up playing both Silent Hill 1 (Clunky and doesn’t hold up), 3 (Amazing game), and 4 (bit different, but not bad)

Since the success (relative) of Silent Hill, I was tempted to try other games I’d long avoided. On that list was Resident Evil. Resident Evil however was even more dated than Silent Hill (with 3 entries being on PS1) and were notorious for their tank controls (Which I think Silent Hill 1 might have had, but honestly I can’t remember)

I ended up getting involved with other games and forgot about Resident Evil for a while. It wasn’t until they announce a remake of RE4 (the one a lot of people heralded as the GOAT) that I thought about giving it a shot again. I played RE4 remake and was blown away.

It’s too bad that RE4 is considered to be a lot different than it’s predecessors. Namely all the things I liked about the remake, I’ve read aren’t huge part of the previous games (The open nature) Thus it’s unlikely I’ll ever play the previous ones at this point, but it looks like Capcom might be working on more games that go in that direction

Most recently, they released a DLC for RE4 called Separate Ways for 10 bucks. After spending 3-4 hours on it initially, and then at least 20 hours on replaying it, I have to judge it as amazing as the original game. Especially since it’s only a 10 dollar DLC (honestly they could have gotten away with more)

Even now I still find myself booting up RE4 to challenge myself further. It’s one of the few games I can say really belongs on a list of being the greatest games ever (Along with games like FFVII, Suikoden II, Doom, etc)

I recently played Todd Howard’s recent hype beast…

I recently played Todd Howard’s recent hype beast Starfield. Despite it being available on Game Pass (which I had an active subscription to at the time) I decided to buy it for full price (well actually $10 cheaper through Greenmangaming) for the deluxe edition (or whatever the edition that let you play early)

It was mostly because I wanted to play it early, but I also justified buying it as an investment. Since it came with a future expansion and would probably support a ton of mods one day, I figured it wasn’t a bad idea to just own it rather than relying on gamepass and having to inevitably purchase later.

The game itself was a mix. I really liked a lot of the ideas that seemed to be behind Starfield, but the execution all left something to be desired. Ship combat, for example, was something I was excited for, but the difficulty of which is unreal (unless you level up skills specific to ship, in which case it only becomes somewhat manageable)

There was also a lot of things that were downright broken as most Bethesda games tend to be. Sometimes quests would bug out making them impossible to complete, or at best you got something comical like NPCs walking around naked on the surface of Mars. The only good thing I can say in regards to major bugs is that actual crashes were somewhat minimal…

I liked the concept behind New Game+ which made me play through the game about a total of 10 times. Though truthfully I only wanted to play through it about 3. The only reason I kept playing was some bogus info that you got something special after playing through 10 times (maybe it wasn’t but I never saw any differences in my 10th playthrough)

One kind of interesting thing is that in New Game+ you can randomly get a playthrough where things are different. Explaining how would be spoilers, but essentially it only happens like 13% of the time and changes the setup of the game somewhat. I only had this happen to me once, but if it would have happened to me more and if it would have affected more (It only really affects a small part of the main quest) I would have no issue playing this game the 10 times I did.

As it stands, Starfield is a decently fun game. I wouldn’t say it’s worth the full triple A cost, but on game pass it’s not a bad deal. I could also see it being great in a year or two’s time after people have had the chance to mod and fix the shit out of it (similar to Skyrim)

I know I posted a video two weeks…

I know I posted a video two weeks ago of me rolling in a gacha, but I’m here today to say I’ve quit gacha. Well, for the most part at least.

At first my decision was to quit Fate Grand Order on the JP server. Reason being is I had gave in a moment of weakness and spent money on the game. The bad news is that it was a lot and I wasn’t able to actually spend it on the game (due to me attempting to do it through google play cards) The good news (kind of) is that I potentially can get a refund, but I have to wait until someone else purchases that card

Regardless, I felt like I was out of control and needed to take away what was tempting me.

Then I chose to quit Honkai Star Rail. Not because I feared being tempted, but more because I haven’t found the time to play a lot lately. Plus, getting Kafka had been my ultimate goal since starting the game, and now that was finished, it felt like there was nothing left to shoot for (and I didn’t feel like getting sucked in by another character) It’s a shame that while I really enjoyed the story, it was still a bit of a chore to keep up with everything they throw at you (Kind of what happened with Genshin too)

That leaves the only gacha game I’m playing right now as Fate Grand Order English server. I contemplated quitting that too, but in comparison to the other two titles, there’s a huge difference in terms of play time investment and danger of spending money. That is in FGO English’s case I have all the servants I want for at least 2 years and it takes me no more than 10 minutes every day.

Part of me wants to quit that too to make things feel complete, but it’s harder to cut oneself off completely when the community (anime/videogames) is probably going to keep exposing me to Fate for the forseeable future. I know I’m probably going to be tempted back. Thus, for a while at least, I think the best thing to do would be to hold off. Considering there’s no pressing need to spend money and it wastes no time, it’s shouldn’t be a problem I have to deal with right now.