Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness is an action RPG from developer Tri-Ace. It was published by Square Enix and was released for PS4 in March 2016. Japan got a PS3 version in April 2016.
Fidel is training with his friend in the art of swordsmanship, when suddenly his village of Stahl is attacked by citizens of the Trei’Kur region. They decide to try and get help from the king and the army, but unfortunately they don’t realize they’re about to be pulled into a plot deeper than just a basic war.
The story starts off way too quick without any build up honestly. I didn’t even have a chance to get introduced to the main characters or the world without immediately being tossed into the fray. I know some games do it perfectly, but it’s just not done well here at all. But luckily the story eventually finds its footing a couple hours in once a main character is introduced. It’s just a shame it stumbles for so long. I got really into it once you start learning about Relia, and why Kronos is after her. Why are they on this underdeveloped planet when that means a war will come their way? Most of the story circles around keeping Relia away from Kronos, but it does get deeper than that, and when it does, it does a fantastic job at telling the story it wants. Even if some of the dialogue feels a bit out of place.
Unfortunately the world never feels that big during the course of the story, as it has you back tracking to the same few areas over and over again. They had a huge possibility for the planet of Faykreed to feel immense, but it really was not. The one big thing I hated about the story is that the cutscenes are not actually animated videos. Instead you can walk around while everyone is talking about the events going on. There’s a FEW times where you get an animated cutscene so you can take in the big emotional scenes, but it really took away from the story that you didn’t even have to look at the person talking during everything. With subtitles on, you don’t even get a name on the screen for who’s talking. It’s just words slapped on the screen.
In each town, you eventually get to do private actions with every character. You learn a little more about them, or random things they’re going through, or see little storylines. Like Anne trying to find her cat. But you only get to view a few at a time, and there are A LOT to see. At times I was running into an inn, coming out, and seeing more private actions for like 30 minutes at a time. As much as I loved learning about the characters, why have so many tied to one spot that needs to be reset a billion times?
The gameplay is very simple and basic. You get two attack buttons, one being a light attack and the other being a heavy attack. Most of the time, you’ll find yourself just mashing these buttons until you get a large enough mana pool to continually use your skills in battle. But then instead of mashing the buttons, you just hold one, then hold the other, then hold the other, and so on and so forth to increase the damage you’re putting out towards the enemies. Sure you can guard against the attacks of the enemies, but after the opening bits, I didn’t much care to do so because I’d just be healed immediately upon taking damage. The downside is that to get new skills, you have to use specific skill books to get them, and if you use them to level up other skills, outside of battle, you have to find new ones.
The AI in battles were the absolute worst. If I wanted them to act a certain way, I had to buy specific traits with skill points and then attach it to them. These usually gave buffs to them, like making their healing more potent, but if I wanted them to actually attack more often, I needed the trait. It was absolutely maddening. Especially at the beginning of the game when you’re the only one attacking the enemies. Why would you do it like this? I’d rather have AI that run head first into battle than the ones who don’t. Even if that pisses me off just as much!
Luckily if you don’t like playing as Fidel, you get five other people to play as in battle. There’s Emmerson with his gun, or Miki with her support magic, or Fiore with her damage spells. There’s at least something for you here. In some spots of the game, you can’t play as everyone though, whether it’s because they leave the party, or because you have to do defense points, and these were infuriating. Nothing like having to defend Anne when she’s tapping on a computer and all the enemies go to her and immediately kill her! She can’t fight back or anything and you have to restart again and again and again! AHHHH! The game also gives Relia a health bar when she does literally nothing in battle. She can’t fight, she has no magic, nothing!
There are a bunch of side quests to do in the game and these give you a ton of experience and money to make the game much easier. The only thing is, they don’t help with the backtracking issue. You go to the same few spots everytime. Kill an enemy, turn it in, go back to that area, rinse and repeat. I got so sick of visiting these areas again and again! But it really helped with the boss fights in the long run, as they have HUGE health pools. Even on Normal. I was sitting there smacking on them for up to 15 minutes as I’m slowly watching the bar move as I’m doing millions of points of damage. I can’t imagine the higher difficulties. Or how much longer it would’ve taken if I didn’t do the side quests!
- Engaging Story When It Gets Going
- Variety Of Characters To Play As
- Tons Of Skills
- A Lot Of Backtracking
- Many Issues With The Battle System
- Way Cutscenes Are Done
As much as I enjoyed the game, there were many issues I couldn’t overlook, and most of them come from the battle system. I can see why people would drop off from the game because of that, but it’s also an easy system to break if you do enough side content, and the story was awesome once it finally found its footing and the sci-fi side of it got going. I was definitely recommend this entry to the series.