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Star Ocean: First Departure – Part II: Through Purgatory September 29, 2009

Posted by emeraldsuzaku in Blog-along, Video Games.
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And so it continues. I played some more Star Ocean last night. I finished the stuff in Astral. I REALLY like Phia. She’s rather okay in combat, but her personality amuses me. Not nearly as much as Ilia amuses me, though. That woman is hilarious. Especially her comment about Roddick being whipped. Wow.

Anyway, I undertook the (optional?) quest to go retrieve an item from Purgatorium. You know, that place I ground waaay too many levels out at earlier. Of course, I wasn’t using this mysterious super-secret-entrance thing, so I had to stumble around a bit until I found it. I was expecting a cave-like thing on the world map, but there wasn’t any indicator of where it might be. I just zoned into the secret entrance area when I got close enough. Interesting.

I met up with Ioshua (awesome name, by the way) and ran through the dungeon with him. The teleporting colored blobs were cool, and the hints were suitably mysterious, yet easily decipherable and helpful! Though, the big multi-tiered room was really, really annoying. I kept accidentally running into the wrong color of puyo and getting sent where I didn’t want to go. I came out a couple hundred skill points ahead thanks to random pickups in bundles of 50 SP.

The phantom hounds at toward the end weren’t very difficult, and now I’m really starting to regret having taken the time to play around with the crafting. I am so overleveled (my main three are around level 30+ now), and Roddick is so insanely powerful the game has no challenge. I assume things will even out eventually, but for the moment it’s all pretty meh. Everyone has Determination maxed, Ilia maxed Appraisal, and Roddick is working on finishing up Crafting. I don’t remember if I maxed that with him or not.

Ioshua has Trance (or whatever skill it is that reduces lag time between spell casts) up to level…9…I believe, and is proving to be mostly useless. I just don’t get hurt enough to make him need to heal, and I’m still leery of allowing the AI to spam skills/spells all the time, as they invariably burn everything on random encounters as soon as humanly possible. I really wish there was some middle ground between “kill the crap out of everything” and “don’t use anything shiny.” The “spread out and attack” tactic is okay, but meh.

The conversation at the end of Purgatorium was pretty amusing, as was the cutscene back in Astral. I loved the personalities of the Three Graces, and Phia is developing well also. The plot is certainly thickening. I did end up requesting Ioshua to join me. It’s another party member, and he might actually be useful later. Maybe. Or something. Now it’s onward to Silvalant, with possibly even more skills. And stuff. Next time through I’m definitely going to hold off on the power leveling crafting thing. I didn’t realize that I could abuse item creation to get THIS overpowered so early in the game.

I finally feel like I’m getting used to the battle system. I’ve played a decent amount of Tales games, which have a similar yet different system (and one that I still like better), but even so it still took me a bit to wrap my head around this one. I think my initial issue was that I was using Semi-Auto instead of Auto, which required more menu management and made targeting clunky in comparison to the combat system as a whole. Auto is definitely the way to go with this one.

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