Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Evolution of The Star Ocean Series: 1996 To 2016 3#

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Star Ocean: Blue Sphere
Developer – tri-Ace
Publisher – Enix
Release date - June 28, 2001



Star Ocean: Blue Sphere is a 2001 Game Boy Color action role-playing video game that is the direct sequel to Star Ocean: The Second Story. It is the only game in the Star Ocean series that has never been released outside Japan. The text is colloquial with an emphasis on "sci-fi" jargon.



Story

Taking place 2 years after Star Ocean: The Second Story and the defeat of the 10 Wise Men, all the characters have since moved on with their lives. Claude has taken Rena, Leon, and Precis to live on Earth with him. While constantly being sent on missions into space, Claude's relationship with Rena doesn't change much at all. Ashton, Celine, Dias, Noel, Chisato, and Bowman still live on Planet Expel. Ernest and Opera are treasure hunting when their ship crash lands on Planet Edifice. Opera manages to send out an S.O.S. to Precis, who then rounds up the entire gang (sans Claude and Rena, who are on a Federation mission) in her self-built ship and heads to the planet. They are also mysteriously pulled down through the planet's atmosphere and crash-land. They decide to explore their surroundings and search for their missing comrades, hoping that Claude and Rena will rescue them, but they too crash-land on Edifice later on in the game.

Gameplay

Blue Sphere attempts to adapt traditional Star Ocean gameplay to the Game Boy Color. For the first time, random battles are removed and enemy characters can be seen on the field. When engaged in combat, the screen changes to a side scrolling view and retains real time combat. The characters can only move left and right, and the majority of fighting is influenced through combos. Battle techniques and magic can be assigned to button combinations, making the battle system more similar to Star Ocean's cousin series, Tales. The game retains its predecessor's gameplay features such as private actions, where individual characters have side sequences, weapon and item creation, and branching plot lines. Players the game introduces a new system called Field Actions can be performed on the field map, allowing players to interact with their environments such as swimming across bodies of water or breaking through barriers to find new or hidden paths. Enemies will now be composed of multiple parts, each of which will bear individual statistics and attack characteristics. This incorporates further strategy by giving certain monsters specific weaknesses.

Development

During development, the game was intended to include multiplayer combat, as well as be available for both the original Game Boy and the Game Boy Color. Tri-Ace made an "action combat" system specifically for Blue Sphere. The game uses a four megabyte cartridge, of which a third is used for dungeons.

Although the game was initially tentatively planned to be released in North America as well as in Japan, by June 2001, immediately prior to the game's release, Enix had decided not to port the game. This was partially due to the size of the game and therefore the difficulty in fitting the translated version onto a cartridge, but primarily due to Enix's change in strategy to focus on the newly released Game Boy Advance rather than the Game Boy Color; the company did not want to release any more GBC games and was unwilling to devote the resources to port the game from the GBC to the Advance.

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