Let's Talk About Star Ocean 2

Let's Talk About Star Ocean 2

I have something to tell you, dear readers. You might not like it, but I think it needs to be said. Star Ocean 2 kinda sucks.

I mean, yes, the combat is fine, and the crafting system is pretty neat. But the writing is excruciating. Insufferable. I don't know whether this is due to poor localisation or poor source material, but upon revisiting the second Star Ocean game as an adult, I've found that it's tough to stomach.

Look at these shots, taken via a Let's Play by SomethingAwful forum user White Dragon. This is what an average dialogue exchange in Star Ocean 2 is like.

Let's Talk About Star Ocean 2
Let's Talk About Star Ocean 2
Let's Talk About Star Ocean 2

THEY SELL LOTS OF USEFUL THINGS. SOMETHING SMELLS GOOD. THAT IS THE SMELL OF HERBS.

That's just the opening scene, by the way. Star Ocean 2's inane dialogue continues all the way through to the end.

Let's Talk About Star Ocean 2
Let's Talk About Star Ocean 2
Let's Talk About Star Ocean 2

This is not how people speak.

In another type of game, of pretty much any genre, I could probably tolerate stilted language and inane babbling like this. But in a lengthy, dialogue-packed RPG in which part of the enjoyment is supposed to come from exploring new places and talking to new people, I have no patience for writing like this.

OK, Star Ocean 2 defenders. Tell me why I'm wrong. What do you like about this game? Are Star Ocean 2's positive traits really enough to get you past the horrendous dialogue?


Random Encounters is a weekly column dedicated to all things JRPG.


Comments

    "I have something to tell you, dear readers. You might not like it, but I think it needs to be said. Star Ocean 2 kinda sucks."

    You are the Devil incarnate, dream eater of children and spreader of misery and dismay.

    But seriously How can you say that?

    *edit*
    Now that I finished the article I still 100% disagree. I have probably played and finished the game a good 5 times by now mostly a decade ago but it still remains my favourite rpg of the generation with Final Fantasy 9 and The legend of Kartia.

    Personally In my many play through's I never noticed any abhorrent dialogue, I mean look at Chrono trigger THAT has plain old broken English dialogue and is still one of the best rpgs ever made. While this game I don't even understand what your talking about, the pictures shown don't show anything awful or out of the ordinary, sure "this smells nice" isn't exactly pertinent info but it far from degrades or detracts a single thing from the game.

    In contrast almost every other aspect of the game is fantastic, from the actual battles being player controlled with skill being important (with the option to grind if you sucked). The split story with multiple paths and characters to recruit was also done quite well and never felt repetitive because although each character played the same story it was mostly from an alternate point of view and so you found out different things that you never new about xy or z character and there motivations for things further down the story line.

    I also remember the amusement park of the alien planet (quite late in the game) being super awesome, especially because you could win those bunny boots and that made combat hilarious.

    Honestly, this game still remains one of my favourite of all time and it is the sole reason I gave the 360 star ocean my time (boy did I regret that purchase).

    Last edited 23/08/14 12:24 pm

    I still haven't finished Star Ocean 2(it's in my pile of shame), but I get where you're coming from. I can't finish Grandia because the dialogue drives me nuts. Every other part of the game is brilliant but the dialogue and the characters make me see red.

    That's what's wrong with kids these days, no respect for for great games with great writing, these "inane" bits of information as you put it was to add immersion, we didn't have fancy graphics or first person.
    It was all about the way the writer put the little subtlety's in to draw you further in as a player, make you feel that although you were on this massive quest, the little things mattered, like stopping to enjoy the smells in a shop.

    Also thief gloves, BEST THING EVER!

    I remember it being much better than that - perhaps the PSP version upgraded the dialogue?

    For me the larger problem is that even though I actually finished the game (I have a LOT of half-finished RPGs on my pile of shame) I remember almost nothing about it.

    Well, that's somewhere around eighty points.

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