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Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness review

On July 13, 2016 by Aaron Meehan

Before playing Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness, my only previous experience with the series was with Star Ocean: The Last Hope, which means I don’t have a lot of time investing in this series, but with that said I was somewhat interested in Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness as the pre-release material had me intrigued.

However, when I started playing Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness and finished the game 19 hours later I was left feeling a bit disappointed. Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness was for the most part a bland experience, to make matters worse the game had some glaring issues, which included an unnatural running animation and a camera that liked to shake, and when you put them together, it created a feeling of motion sickness. However, let’s get back to some of the issues later.

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Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness takes place on a planet called Faykreed IV, an underdeveloped world that uses Signeturgy, a magic-like ability. The planet is divided among three nations, but it is not fully peaceful as there is a war between two of its nations, with one having recently gained a power advantage. Enter Fidel and Miki, two residents from a small cliff-side town. Fidel is a weapons trainer while Miki is long time friend of Fidel and Signeturgy user. In an effort to help prevent raiders from attacking their town, they venture to their nation’s capital, Central Resulia. However, on the way back from the capital a chance encounter with a young girl completely changes their view of not just their planet, but of the universe. The young girl Fidel and Miki meet is called Relia, she has no memories and she is being chased by unknown men.

The encounter with Relia changes everything, as Fidel and Miki also befriend Victor – a high ranking soldier for Resulia, and Fiore – a researcher from the royal institute of Signeturgy studies. The five would also meet Emmerson and Anne, two travellers who turn out to be members of the Federation, a Pangalactic organisation that seeks to spread peace across the galaxy. The Federation has appeared on Faykreed IV because of Relia and a group known as the Kronos government. As the game progresses you learn more about the Federation and Kronos, what divides them and how close they are to conflict, you also learn more about Relia, who is a lot more than just a scared little girl.

For the most part the Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness’ story does its job, it creates a narrative tale with a beginning, middle and end, but unfortunately, the story isn’t told very well. The story initially starts out well, but as you get further in the game bombards you with information such as who are the Federation, who are Kronos, who is Relia etc. The bombardment of information isn’t helpful and its delivery makes it feel like the developers had to rush the ending as major plot twists and enemy reveals happen late in the game.

The characters in the game are thankfully better than the story, while each character isn’t well fleshed out or is fleshed out via information dumps, the characters do have personality, for example, we see Miki is a kind caring woman who has a love of food and has feelings for Fidel who in turn treats her like a sister. Unfortunately, the characters that are all fleshed out are on the good side, as those who are evil including the main protagonist aren’t given a lot of time to develop, for example, we only know the game’s main protagonist hates the Federation because he shouts about how they are fascists.

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Ok, now let’s talk about the combat. Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness’ combat is an action based combat featuring six party members. Combat is activated by simply walking up to an enemy and attacking, attacking an enemy changes the UI and controls to its combat setting and when combat is completed it reverts back to its normal exploration setting. However, while switching between exploring and fighting is handled well, combat can be best described as viewing a fireworks display while wrestling a camera. Yes, the six-party setup that while sounding good in theory leads to a blinding array of skills constantly popping up, which makes trying to see your enemies a nightmare, and to make matter worse the camera has a tendency to wander, which once again makes trying to see enemies difficult.

There is, however, a bright side and that is the combat setup and changing characters mid-battle. As you explore and fight, you gain Skill points (SP) and skill books. SP allows you to level up and unlock new roles, roles are used to create specific actions for your AI-controlled teammates, for example, Hothead provides +10% attack and intelligence, and Sharpshooter provides +7% critical hit rate, +6 fewer actions, and perform more attacks from long-range and move more often. Skill books, on the other hand, unlock new battle skills for you or your teammates to use; personally, I found skill books to be incredibly effective, especially one that allowed me to give Miki new healing/resurrection spells. By the end of the game, my team became unbeatable as Miki was equipped with skills that could revive fallen allies with 100% HP, and perform massive AOE heals.

Besides combat, what else can you do in Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness? One major out of combat experience is unlocking Specialities. Specialities are special roles that allow you to gather materials, create new items etc. Unfortunately, the game does a poor job of explaining how you unlock new specialities and so I spent a large portion of the game with very few. There are also quests to gain money, experience and SP. Finally, there are private actions, this action when activated separates you from the group and allows you to talk to party members individually, private actions help you to get to know each character.

As I said near the top of the review the running animation combined with camera shaking causes a feeling of motion sickness, and when talking about combat I pointed out the issues with the camera and overuse of effects, but are there any other issues? Well, there is the poor lip-syncing, and the game’s fast travel isn’t unlocked until very late in the game.

Now before I offer my conclusion, let’s talk about the audio and graphics. Audio wise the game offers some impressive orchestral music that helps improve moments of tension or relaxation, and graphically the character models look amazing.

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Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness feels rather bland. The story isn’t told that well, and the combat is a mess of particle effects. The game’s redeeming features are its protagonists, graphics and audio.

SCORE: 5/10

Pros Cons
+ Interesting protagonists – Story is poorly told
+ Impressive graphics and audio – Combat is a visual mess
– Running animation looks horrible
– Camera likes to wander
Developer Publisher Genre Rating Platform Release date
Tri-Ace Square Enix JRPG 16+ PlayStation 4 July 1, 2016

*A review code was provided by the game’s publisher.*

For more information on Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness, visit http://staroceangame.com/ 

Author: Aaron Meehan

Hi, I’m the creator of SG Gaming Info. When I’m not working on my writing or creating content for this site’s YouTube channel, I like to relax and enjoy character driven story games.

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