By: M. Spider
My first introduction into the Star Ocean series was Star Ocean Till the End of Time (Star Ocean 3 from here on out) on PlayStation 2. This was at a time where my life was a strange mess, and honestly, video games were the only thing that kept me from taking a very dark turn. Constant battling with depression and anxiety kept me from doing a large number of things I enjoyed, but throughout everything, video games were a constant supply of a delightful combination of enjoyment and escape. Between dealing with the aftermath of my parents’ divorce and a slew of emotional and physical torture during high school, my deep and complete enjoyment of video games is one of the biggest reasons I am here today.
While Star Ocean 3 didn’t help me through these times directly, the game that eventually was my basis for trying Star Ocean 3 – namely, Tales of Symphonia – was. You see, I had seen Star Ocean 3 a few times at my local GameStop and thought “hey, this looks cool,” but it wasn’t until I saw it compared to Tales of Symphonia on the internet that I decided I needed to give it a shot, and what a delight it was! A Sci-fi adventure of epic proportions, with a great real-time battle system, was only amplified with (in my opinion) one of the greatest twists in gaming to date. And before about 50%, if not more, of the people who played Star Ocean 3 go into a rage, I realize that the twist was hated by a large number of fans who felt betrayed and cheated by the company for implying that their efforts in the previous games were trivial and without meaning. I personally enjoy viewing the different worlds portrayed in video games as an alternate universe/reality/whatever flavor you want to put on a world that is not ours. The twist in Star Ocean 3 gave me a greater sense that the trials and tribulations the main characters go though mattered and that, maybe, all these video games characters struggles are more real than they initially appear.
Regardless, the Star Ocean games have certainly left their mark on the gaming landscape, and with Star Ocean Integrity and Faithlessness releasing in the States (in 2 weeks as of this writing) hopefully the future looks bright for a series and universe I would very much like to explore in greater depth in more games!