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Hands-on with Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness

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Hands-on with Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness

I still remember playing Star Ocean: The Second Story on the original PlayStation, moved by the stirring strings in the opening sequence and obsessing over the manual at my grandmother’s house.

I told Shuichi Kobayashi this as we sat together in San Francisco earlier this week, discussing the upcoming Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness on PS4. Kobayashi, the game’s producer, hopes the next chapter in the Star Ocean series can bring this same level of emotion to its players when it launches on June 28 this year.

Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness

Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness follows the story of a young swordsman named Fidel defending his village from a bandit raid. Like so many Japanese role-playing games, Fidel and his friends are soon swept up into events far greater than themselves. Like the past Star Ocean games, this means events on a galactic scale, in which fantasy and science-fiction meld together in a familiar flavor that fans of the series will know all too well.

Kobayashi and his team mean for Integrity and Faithlessness to reboot the series and begin a new chapter in a story of magic, adventure, and sailing the stars. Several additions have been made to the familiar mechanics of the franchise — seven-character battles chief among them. As players explore the world of Faykreed, Fidel’s party will grow, eventually allowing players to control a core team of six heroes in real time with a seventh character as support.

Integrity and Faithlessness has several layers to the battle system, beginning with the simple interplay between weak attacks, strong attacks, and blocking. These three types of actions have a rock-paper-scissors style relationship, forcing players to monitor an enemy’s actions in the field and react accordingly.

Star Ocean: Integrity and FaithlessnessStar Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness

The next layer to combat is the usage of skills. Special Arts (physical skills) and Signeturgy (magical skills) are learned through reading books, and each hero can equip up to four in battle that vary depending on their distance to the target. These skills can be improved through use, enticing players to wield them often for even more effective results.

The third primary layer to battle is the Role system, and it has an enormous impact on the overarching flow of Integrity and Faithlessness. Roles are unlocked over time and include simple assignments like Attacker or Healer, but include more specific examples such as the Insect Slayer or Invoker.

Like skills, Roles grow in power with use and endow special bonuses to the character using it. While other RPGs allow players to assign AI behaviors to heroes not currently under control, Integrity and Faithlessness turns this system into its own game mechanic. Now the act of party management and strategy is directly incorporated into the growth of the player’s heroes.

Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness

Even after a few brief battles in Star Ocean’s opening area, the battle system’s potential is obvious and enthralling. Add in full crafting suite and a “Specialty System” that enables the heroes to gather resources (among other alluring unknowns), and Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness promises to keep players engaged for dozens of hours.

But more than anything else, Kobayashi and his team want players to embark into a new world and mirror the same awe and excitement that the heroes themselves face when they encounter a world, and a galaxy, far greater than their own.

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36 Comments

8 Author Replies

  • Absolutely cannot wait.

  • THE HYPE IS REAL !!!!! CANT WAIT FOR MY COLLECTORS EDITION !!

  • I am actually purposely NOT watching any trailers for this game since I am 100% getting it anyway.

    Want to go in totally fresh and ready for surprises. Cannot wait.

  • 7 characters at a time is great! Is that all the playable characters or is there more available?

    • I’m actually not sure. I was only told that there were six core heroes and the seventh support character. ^_^

  • This looks pretty good! I’m really hoping that the story is ok and the characters are endearing..

  • Looking interesting, but I am still unsure about getting it on launch. I WILL buy it, but maybe not when it launches.

  • It’s been over 10 years since i last played a Star Ocean game i’m glad it’s going back to it’s roots and learning from Star Ocean 3 Till the End of Time to make this new one i’m ready let’s go ^.^

  • Loved 4, hope this is as much fun as it was.

  • This can’t come soon enough.

  • I absolutely can’t wait to get my hands on this greatness! Star Ocean: Till the End of Time was one of my favorite games on the PS2 and I look forward to this new entry in the legendary series.

  • I’m excited! Square Enix needs to keep going back to it’s roots and bringing us RPGs!!

  • I’m interested, but I gotta wait to see if the localization is botched or not.

  • We gonna get Star ocean 2 on ps4? or the part 3, its my favourite.

    • I keep saying the same thing. Since Star Ocean 2 is available in Japan for ps4 and Psvita. The Staff won’t reply for an answer on this though….

  • How well does the game run?

  • Thank you for the wonderful article! I remember playing countless hours of Star Ocean: The Second Story on PlayStation 1 with my older brother – great times. I had a file with Claude as my starter, and my brother, Rena. The amount of content in that game was intense (we loved experimenting with the crafting, cooking, etc.), and the differences based on starting character were a really nice touch. I can’t wait to see how Integrity and Faithlessness turns out. Keep up the great work!

  • Just to be sure, can get an official list of what’s getting censored?

  • Also, (I’m sure this has been asked before) can you poke Squeenix and ask them to get Star Ocean 1, 2, and 3 up on PSN in some form? Curiously, even 4 doesn’t have a digital release…

    Now would definitely be a great time with the hype for 5.

  • I’m definitely hyped! Waiting till June for my collector’s edition to come in! :D

  • While the last couple games have had less than stellar stories their combat was definitely on point. Looking forward to my preorder coming in.

  • Looking forward to this one. But, I’m still undecided on the collector’s edition. Either way, this will tide RPG players over until FFXV.

  • I watched the twitch last night, even on twitch the graphic looks so glamorous and dazzling

  • Censored version. No thanks.

  • Awesome. Looking forward this one.

  • Last Hope International was so, sooooo terrible. I dearly hope that Tri-Ace has gotten better at writing. Something above “Sword Art Online”-caliber junk, please? I also think this game looks weird – they’re talented engineers, because the quality of the visuals looks GREAT. But the characters are stylized, so under realistic lighting they just remind me of Muppets. Like the people from Dark Crystal or something? It doesn’t come together here as well as, say, throwing Akira Toriyama’s art style in great, realistic lighting (a la Dragon Quest Heroes).

    At any rate, this is a good preview. Read Jeremy’s on USGamer as well and it sounds like the game is doing some really interesting things with the JRPG template. I want to support an effort like this, but since I’ve only ever played SO3 and 4 and found them both lackluster (I WOULD try the originals, but they’re not PSTV compatible for some reason *grumbles*). I’m not exactly chomping at the bit to pre-order this. But if reviews look good, I may pick this up… after getting Grand Kingdom, which also comes out in June. I played the demo of that from the JP PSN – it’s gorgeous and SUPER fun. THAT is an RPG I absolutely have to play.

  • Why won’t you allow us to buy Star Ocean one and 2 digital on Vita? They were already available in retail… you want me to be interested in this game? Do that first! Also, I bought Metal Gear Solid portable ops and portable ops plus totally playable on my VIta, except you (sony) has done everything in your power to artificially stop that from happening, even though I bought the game, it’s my Vita, and it works just fine, you wont let me play it, and since I bought it from you, since you were offering it for sale, this is illegal. And I contacted you guys and got no refund. What the **** is going on here? Should I go to the better business bureau? WHy would you sell games you wont allow people to play cause you feel like it?

  • Will this game have a digital release as well?

  • I have never played Star Ocean. Is it anything like the Tales Of series, where you can control the character and perform combos, not turn-based like Final Fantasy or Persona?

    • Yep, like tales action based combat systems.

    • It’s practically a sister series to the Tales games, matter of fact. The original Tales for the Super Famicom, Tales of Phantasia, was made by a studio called “Wolf Team” who went on to launch that franchise, but then the studio went out of business. Namco took up the Tales franchise themselves, while others went and reformed as Tri-Ace, making a “Sci Fi” version of pretty much the same kind of thing. An epic JRPG with real time, action-heavy (and combo-heavy) combat. They called it Star Ocean, Squaresoft published it on the Super Famicom, and that was that. The two series have been co-existing ever since.

      The two series’ have diverged quite a bit over the years, obviously – Tri-Ace is a much more inconsistent developer than Tales Studio – but they’ve always had real-time combo heavy battles in common. If you like Tales, you should at least give *A* Star Ocean a try sometime. Probably this one! :)

  • The ‘censorship’ is world wide and isn’t that big of a wtf. Mostly one of the female characters originally had a skimpy pair of underwear on. She now has more bum covering pair. Is it cause the west is full of proods. Yes, but that said its only a pair of pants. Not the whole game in anyway. If you want to see underwear in all its localized glory get senran kagura.

    That’s said I’m excited. The Japanese reviews have been mostly favorable out side of the fan boys annoyed that it’s not blowing the PS3 out of the water on the ps4.

  • Man this is awesome can’t wait please Sony release the other two Star Ocean games that were on the PSP on PS4 I’ll even take the one on PS2

  • Looks amazing!!!!!

  • Since this went up, I’ve seen the 70 min Polygon video, the two new character trailers for Victor and Fiore, and read a couple previews. I even checked out Star Log #2 on the Square Enix Presents Channel. I gotta say, I’m awfully impressed. The writing, characters and voice acting all seem like a massive step up from the “bad anime” quality from Last Hope. And I love the presentation; I think it’s really cool how they handle conversations seamlessly as you’re exploring – no buttons, text windows or simple cutscenes, people just talk. That’s… actually pretty intuitive and I kinda wonder why no JRPG’s done it before :P The combat is looking great, the massive worlds and great visuals are fantastic as well, and the soundtrack is solid (though the battle music in Fiore’s trailer is REAL close to a Tales of Xiliia theme. Motoi Sakuraba may be subconsciously ripping himself off there, lol)… I’m coming around to this, Tri-Ace. I’m pleasantly surprised ;)

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