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 lard pirates dawt cawm  §  Star Ocean 2 in a Nutshell / by Spoony Spoonicus
 the waggoner  §  articles and general riff-raff exceeding your expectations of worthlessness.
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 ~Spoony Spoonicus on 12:25pm 04/12/13 (05:21am 02/23/09) in 2h13m21s  §  5442 eyeballs
 chained to: Games in a Nutshell  §  first - previous - next - latest
 Bustin' down plots like the T pities fools.
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Writing one for a game I played almost a decade ago purely off memory. Whee! Oh, and like all my Nutshells and pretty much everything else I write, don't take it too seriously.

You get a choice of characters to play at the start. This makes almost no difference, since they meet up about five minutes in, you can assume direct control of any character in your party, and their stories don't diverge from one another in any significant way.

Claude: We're on a random shitplanet. Hey look, a mysterious technological artifact!

Mysterious Artifact starts up and Claude gets teleported to Disc1

Rena: Holy shit, an enormous gorilla that isn't native to this area at all! That's not lazy writing or anything!
Claude: Time to spank this monkey!

Claude destroys the thing in three hits with his awesome beam pistol, which breaks down seconds later since even though technology has progressed to the point where humanity can create anything out of thin air, they still can't make a reliable weapon. Disc1's primitive swords, bows and axes, on the other hand, never ever break down or require maintenance in any form.

Claude: 10 points for me!
Rena: Hi, I'm Rena. If you haven't guessed by now I'm the female lead.
Claude: And the only decent healer to boot.
Rena: Yep. Too bad my AI is garbage and I spend all my MP casting shitty attack spells instead even when specifically told to do otherwise.
Claude: Yeah...

A bunch of boring stuff happens, but at least the music is pretty

Village Elder: Claude, you are the hero destined to save our world. Now you must go on some vaguely-defined quest.
Claude: Okay...

They decide to go kill a generic cave monster for no real reason

Celine: I arbitrarily decide to join you. You have no choice in this matter.
Claude: Since I'm stuck with you, what can you do?
Celine: I'm a mage, which just means I stand in one spot and waste all my MP, rendering myself useless within three battles.
Claude: Well, there's nobody else to swap you out for yet so I guess I'll have to put up with it.

They plow their way through more generic enemies, earning more of Claude's imaginary points.

Claude: ....Wait a second. There's two settings for combat. As far as I can tell, the only difference is that you need to hold down the Square button to move with one of them, while the other just lets you use the D-Pad.
Rena: Yeah. So?
Claude: So what's the point of that?
Rena: I really don't know.
Claude: While we're on the topic, why does the attack command have me randomly break off from my target, run to the top corner, touch it, and run back before actually attacking?
Rena: Shoddy programming. Wasn't the constant freezing enough of a clue?
Spoony: No kidding. Even Ultima VII running on my old piece of shit 486 Packard Bell didn't lock up this often.

Like every fight so far, the battle with the cave monster ends in about thirty seconds of button mashing.

Claude: That's uh, 80 Points!
Rena: Seriously Claude, what the hell are you talking about?
Claude: ...I don't know. I'm not convinced the writers or translators do either.

They leave and come to some other town

Rena: Oh look, a tournament!
Claude: A cheap excuse for more fights. And more points!

Claude enters, Claude gets his ass beat regardless of what equipment you bring with you, meaning the choice and the entire tournament scene was a complete waste of time. Also, the game freezes again after you lose. This results in much frustration since you have to sit through all those scenes AGAIN.

Claude: Well, that was excruciating. What's next?
Rena: There's some plot about a war but it was so uninteresting that Spoony can't recall it at all, so he's just going to discuss the recruitable characters instead.

Dias: I'm apparently supposed to be the HARDCORE character since I have a gruff voice and treat everyone like shit. I'm also completely useless in combat because I insist on running up and then stopping dead FOR A FULL FUCKING SECOND before I swing, leaving myself wide open to attack.
Claude: Yeah, you suck hardcore. Back row for the rest of the game.

Bowflex: I shoot tornadoes out of my hands.
Claude: Awesome!
Bowflex: I should also add that my voice clips all sound like they were recorded on a low-quality microphone from 1939 while my actor was shouting through a pillow, but that's nothing new with this game.

Leon: I'm another crappy mage character, but at least I spice it up a little by wielding books that shoot demons that shoot swords.
Claude: Neat.

There's probably more, but I didn't care enough to check. However, I will say that Precis' voice is probably what you'd hear if Satan cross-bred a fire alarm with Gilbert Gottfried; it was so completely awful that I restarted the whole game just to get her the hell out of my party. I'm not even kidding.

More boring stuff happens and they decide to climb up a tower.

Evil Circlejerk: Boo! We are the main villains!
Claude: This game has villains? That's surprising.
Evil Circlejerk: We are a not-so-subtle reference to the twelve Apostles, and our minions are all vaguely angelic! Beware our clichedom!
Claude: Yeah, we have to put up with heavy-handed Christian symbolism in every work of art Japan will produce for the next twenty years because some hack included it in his terrible giant robot manga and everyone mistook it for being "groundbreaking" and "edgy". Thanks a million for that one, Evangelion.

The villains are all invincible and can crush the characters' rib cages with one finger flick, so Claude's just forced to run circles around them until they get bored and call off the fight. With no explanation the party gets dumped onto some other planet

Claude: Okay, where are we now?
Stooge: Planet Disc2. Disc1 was destroyed.
Claude: Destroyed?!
Stooge: Disc2 crashed into Disc1 and somehow emerged completely unharmed.
Claude: That makes no sense whatsoever.
Stooge: Tell it to the writing staff. Anyway I'm done talking, go to the lab and get your requisite airship... err, fetus creature.

For no particular reason, the fetus creature escapes and you're forced to beat it into submission first, which proves suprisingly difficult. But after being pelted with a relentless barrage of spells and sword skills for fifteen minutes, the beast submits

Claude: Finally, we won!

The game freezes for the eighth time


The CD gets frisbeed across the room and left untouched for two months. Due to either boredom or severe masochism it eventually gets dug out from under a pile of old homework and the story (I use the term loosely) continues

Claude: Okay, the bosses on Disc1 were all really easy, so they're making up for it by making all of Disc2's bosses ridiculously cheap and giving you no good places to level.
Rena: Claude, you're supposed to use your technical skills.
Claude: No, screw that. I've thrown away so many skill points and raw materials and at best I always end up with a basic, shitty dagger that barely costs a third of what I spent on the ore. The only useful thing I've gotten of these is the stat boosts.
Rena: Well then steal something decent.
Claude: Unlike Ultima, where theft is the key to the universe, everyone in these games either carries bad checks, scribbled-on pieces of paper or just barely enough gold for one measly health potion, so that skill's also a waste.
Rena: Fine, back to more tedious grinding.

A lot of other boring stuff happens, Rena and Claude get some mediocre weapons with flashy names like "Fallen Hope" and "Crescent Moon" and they're off to the Evil Circlejerk's tower, where EVERY SINGLE ENEMY is more powerful than Jesus. Since just one of these assholes can wipe out the entire party in a matter of seconds, Claude and company just end up running past them all.

Flamecunt: WE MUST FIGHT!

Flamecunt wipes out the entire party by spamming a move where he covers the entire battlefield in flames while shrieking "OH-HO-HO IT'S HOT!" at ear-splitting volume. The party is unable to defeat him and between the frequent crashes and the overpowered enemies, they're unable to get back out and grind some more. Spoony declares this a victory for the forces of extremely lame evil, not really knowing or caring what their motives were, and goes back to playing SaGa Frontier.


Spoony: Bad writing, bland characters, terrible voice acting, stories that make absolutely no sense, combat that consists of little more than brainless button mashing, and an item crafting system that, while an interesting idea, doesn't really work in practice. That's this whole series in a nutshell. Oh, and don't forget graphical technology that always looks at least three years behind the current technological curb. Star Ocean 3 looks like a first-gen Dreamcast game, yet it's a fucking mid-gen Playstation 2 game. How did this franchise ever become popular?

But hey, at least it's a more tolerable game than Star Ocean 3, even if it is only because they don't give their characters pretentious names like "Fayt Leingod."
 rawks  §  rad comments, dogg.
 ~Aquas  §  at 02:34pm 02/26/09

thing about disc swapping reminds me that i somehow got another copy of disc 2 of the game, not sure where it came from?

celine doesnt have to join you, as well.
 ~Spoony Spoonicus  §  at 02:48am 01/12/11
You know, something that always bothered me about this series is that it's set in the distant future, but every game has you stuck on just one or two planets for at least 90% of its run time. What the fuck, take advantage of your setting! That's like having a Final Fantasy game that's just set in a three-mile-long corridor full of monsters!

Oh wait, they already did that.

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a cherry