Platforms: PlayStation 4
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Distributor: Megarom Interactive
Release Date: 30 June 2016
Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness is the latest in the Star Ocean series and the first entry in the series to release on the PS4. As much as the series has managed to stay true to its JRPG roots, Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness feels like a step backwards in the series with its unimaginative world, tedious quests, and frustrating battle system. The game is a fun JRPG, but we felt like the game could have been better in some regards.
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The game is set on the planet of Faykreed, roughly 6000 light years from Earth. Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness follows the story of Fidel as he comes face-to-face with a girl from a distant planet named Miku. Miku has crash-landed on Faykreed, with no memory of who she is or where she came from. Fidel and his group of party members, now need to try and hunt down Miku’s parents, while facing enemies who are after the girl for their own personal gain. It is here where the most important part of the game falls flat as the story, having the potential to be great, leaves you underwhelmed. The people who fight alongside Fidel are boring and the plot is full of cheap dialogue and cliché one – liners.
All this is accompanied by cutscenes which have been replaced by moments where the characters just stand around and look at each other while talking. This does not help the narrative and rather keeps you adrift from the drama in the game. It is hard to connect to the characters and even the story at times, as the overall approach to the script is awkward. Certain characters like Emmerson who is a lieutenant, is a womanizer and drinks too much, giving into all character stereotypes under the sun. Fiore is an underdressed mage who bears a little too much skin, and Anne is a weak hand-to-hand combat specialist who tries too hard to fit in. Nothing about the characters seemed interesting or new at all.
In Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness, you can control up to 7 party members in a battle at a time. This being the 7 members that accompany you during the 30-hour odd campaign. This means that in battles, you can easily switch between them with a press of a button. Each character has their own fighting style and set of moves to learn throughout the game. Roles, which you can assign to specific party members, will determine just how each member will use their abilities when you are not controlling them. Roles range from simply increasing attack damage, all the way to improving your stagger and guard boost. Assigning roles to each character, proved to change the tide of battle, especially during those tough difficulty spikes.
Battles take place in real time as you attack and use special attack by holding down an attack button. Quickly changing to a new character to heal up a party member who was not doing their job, is easy and painless. When all 7 members are in a battle at the same time, things do get intense. Fire flying in one direction, slashing enemies into the air in another, while being healed from the background. Battles are fun.
Combat is half-decent and true to the Star Ocean series. But, previous Star Ocean games had less frustrating moments in terms of battles. Combat however is not the only downfall here as the world of Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness is bland and dull. Backtracking through the linear maps is not very fun, and environments are nothing to look at while you are doing it with dull textures and empty spaces. Many of the weapons and skills, which are vital to powering up your party, revolve around you killing a set amount of enemies or farming or a specific item. That, in combination with the dull environments, makes doing these quests anything but enjoyable. Specialist roles let you fish and mine for crafting materials, but once you have unlocked the role, all you can do is press a button next to a pond and you have a chance to get a fish. It would have been nice to see this utilized into a mini-game of sorts.
As past Star Ocean games normally clocked in at 60-80 hours, Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness comes in at a measly 30. Saying that, 30 hours was more than enough to get over the game and its dull plot and characters, and with only boring side missions left to do, we don’t think we will be jumping back into it anytime soon.