Star Ocean: Till the End of Time is the third installment of the Star Ocean main series. The game was developed by tri-Ace and published by Square Enix for the PlayStation 2 console system. It was released in Japan, North America, and the PAL territories. The original Japanese release date was in February of 2003 by Enix, shortly before its merging with Squaresoft to become Square Enix. It was re-released in 2004 as a two-disc Director's Cut version with bonus features such as new characters and dungeons. The North American and PAL versions are based on the Director's Cut version. Regarding the series' timeline, the game takes place four hundred years after the events of the second Star Ocean.
Star Ocean: Till the End of Time inherits the recurring real-time interactive combat system from the series while presenting many new elements: instead of random encounters, battles now occur when running into enemies on the main travel field or when certain pre-scripted events occur. In-battle, though, there is little change: the player now controls a party of three members, like in Star Ocean: Blue Sphere, controlling one character and assigning the tactics used by the other AI-controlled characters or switch which character they are directly controlling by pressing a single button.
Enemy attacks can target either a player's health points (HP) or mental points (MP). Players will also lose HP from using special attacks or lose MP from using Symbology (or Runeology), which is functionally equivalent to magic in other games. Symbology and runology are equivalent terms for the same concept in-game, which was known as "Heraldry" in previous games Star Ocean: The Second Story and in Japan.
Like the previous games in the series, the game contains an Item Creation feature that allows the player to create and enhance a multitude of items. A variety of trades are offered, including Cooking, Alchemy, Engineering, and Smithery. However, Item Creation must now be performed at Workshops scattered throughout towns and dungeons, where in previous games, Item Creation could be accessed anywhere. Once a player invents an item, they can file for a patent, and get money from the profits made off selling those items in various shops. The player is also able to recruit inventors to aid them in creating various items.
The Director's Cut version added a VS. Mode to battle against a second player or against the computer. Up to two human players could compete, either against each other or against another character controlled by the computer. Another addition was the use of "Battle Trophies" which may be acquired by completing various challenges in combat. For example, a player can receive a battle trophy for winning a boss battle in under 30 seconds, or for defeating a boss without receiving damage. Earning battle trophies unlocks bonus options such as harder game difficulty levels, alternate costumes, and a sound test.
Star Ocean: Till the End of Time features an in-game encyclopedia. Whenever a new word appears in a color different from the standard text, a detailed entry is added to the encyclopedia. It offers definitions and backgrounds for the different races, people, places, and other general terms. The encyclopedia also includes many of the scientific concepts that are introduced in the game, though the majority are only science fiction.
- "A Manifestation of Sorion's Arrow... Perion ascendant... This is merely the beginning of the twilight of the gods. A prologue to inevitable renewal."
- Fayt Leingod
- Sophia Esteed
- Peppita Rossetti
- Cliff Fittir
- Nel Zelpher
- Roger S. Huxley
- Albel Nox
- Maria Traydor
- Mirage Koas (Made playable in Director's Cut)
- Adray Lasbard (Director's Cut)
Fayt Leingod is the main character of Star Ocean: Till the End of Time. He is a seemingly normal college student from Earth. His father, Robert Leingod, is a famous authority on symbological genetics, a highly controversial scientific field, and does much of his work on the orbital colony of Moonbase. Fayt is somewhat lazy when it comes to his college work and takes every opportunity during his vacation to Hyda IV, a famous resort planet, to ignore that work. He does this mostly by playing games, specifically, combat simulation holographic games. Sophia Esteed is a childhood friend of Fayt's who accompanies him to Hyda IV. Sophia was born on the orbital colony Moonbase and moved to Earth later. Because she is such close friends with Fayt and his parents, as well as her parents and Fayt's parents working together, she is considered a member of the family and refers to Fayt's parents as "Uncle Robert" and "Aunty Ryoko".
Shortly into the events of the game, Fayt is introduced to Cliff Fittir and Mirage Koas, who are from the high-gravity planet Klaus III. They are members of the anti-Federation organization Quark, which is labeled a terrorist group by the Federation government. Both Cliff and Mirage have a special interest in Fayt which Fayt does not understand.
On the planet of Elicoor II, a backward planet with a technological level similar to that of 17th century Earth, the kingdoms of Airyglyph and Aquios feud. Nel Zelpher is an agent of Aquios who specializes in infiltration and intelligence gathering and is a user of "Runology," which is suspiciously similar to Symbology studied in the Federation. Meanwhile, Albel Nox is the commander of the Black Brigade, one of the three military divisions of the Kingdom of Airyglyph, and is known as "Albel the Wicked," whom you fight early on in the game.
Later into the game, Maria Traydor is introduced, an enigmatic young woman being hunted by the Federation.
Minor characters include Peppita Rossetti, a young Velbaysian dancer from a group known as the Rosseti Troupe; Roger S. Huxley, a young Menodix from the Lost City of Surferio, which lies in the Sanmite Republic on Elicoor II; and Adray Lasbard, the father of Clair Lasbard and member of the Crimson Blade of the Aquarian Kingdom on Elicoor II.
Adray Lasbard and Mirage Koas were added into the Director's Cut version of Star Ocean: Till The End of Time. Mirage was already in the original version as part of the story, but she never joined the party. Adray is a completely original character who was not in the original version of the game at all, and was added primarily to increase the appeal of the game's second release.
Timeline of Events
Star Ocean: Till the End of Time
- Welch Vineyard appears on the planet Elicoor II, from another point in the timeline, and becomes an inventor in the town of Peterney..
- Sophia Esteed, Fayt Leingod, and his parents, Robert and Ryoko Leingod are vacationing on the planet Hyda IV. While exploring the planet's resor it is attacked by the Vendeeni.
- Sophia, Fayt, and his parents try to escape to an emergency shelter but Robert and Ryoko are captured.
- Sophia and Fayt continue to the shelter and meet Peppita Rossetti along the way.
- The party leaves the shelter for the Federation Transport Ship, Helre.
- The Helre is attacked and destroyed by the Vendeeni. The three escape in escape pods but Sophia is captured in the process.
- Fayt lands on Vanguard III and stumbles upon the town of Whipple. He is taken in by two residents, Niklas and Meena.
- Fayt volunteers to fix Meena's broken music box as payment. He travels to his escape pod to use the replicator only to find that it has been pillaged.
- Fayt returns and finds Niklas has been abducted by Norton, a man who has been extorting the town.
- Fayt travels to the Ruins of Coffir, Norton's hideout, to save Niklas. He learns Norton is an offwolder and fugitive.
- Cliff Fittir shows up to help Fayt defeat Norton. Cliff tells Fayt he is a member of the Anti-Federation movement, Quark, and he is to take Fayt to meet his leader.
- Fayt travels with Cliff back to his ship, the Eagle, and meets his pilot, Mirage Koas.
- The Eagle is attacked and crash lands on the planet Elicoor II, in the city of Airyglyph.
- Fayt and Cliff give themselves up to the Airyglyphians. Mirage stays on board to sneak out at a later time.
- Fayt and Cliff are rescued from ail by a woman named Nel Zelpher, from an enemy nation of Aquios. Nel knows of their advanced technology and believes they are from the Kingdom of Greeton, who possess superior technology to both Aquios and Airyglyph. She tells the two that she saved them so they could help develop a weapon for Aquaria.
- The three escape through the catacombs of Airyglyph. They board a wagon with two agents of Nel's, Tynave and Farleen. The wagon crashes, however, and Tynave and Farleen are captured. The remaining three escape to the mining town of Kirlsa.
- Instead of taking the main road to the Aquarian town of Arias, the party sneaks through the Kirlsa mines and takes a mountain path to Arias.
- Cliff and Fayt meet Clair Lasbard. They agree to build a weapon, thinking it will end the war faster.
- In the middle of the night, Nel sneaks away to rescue Tynave and Farleen from the Kirlsa Training Facility.
- Fayt and Cliff follow Nel and end up rescuing her, Tynave, and Farleen. The three then defeat Shelby, second in command of the Black Brigade.
- The three travel to Arias where Tynave and Farleen remain. Cliff, Fayt, and Nel move on to the town of Peterney.
- There, they join the craftsman's guild and learn how to create items under the tutelage of an inventor named Welch Vineyard.
- Fayt meets a woman named Ameena Leffeld who looks identical to Sophia. Fayt then learns Ameena traveled to the dangerous Duggus Forest to pick flowers, which is now the hideout of the vicious Moonshadow Clan.
- The group travels to the Duggus Forest and rescues Ameena. Along the way, they save and recruit Roger S. Huxley.
- With Ameena safe, the party moves on to Aquaria.
- Cliff, Fayt, Nel, and Roger meet lead researcher Elena Frahm and her assistant Dion Landers at Aquaria's runological weapons department. They determine the weapon would be more effective if the wire was made of copper, but the only copper mine is under Airyglyph control. The group then decide to infiltrate the mine to acquire some.
- The group travels to the Bequerel mine and takes some copper. They defeat Demitrio of the Airyglyph Dragon Brigade and drive away Albel Nox of the Black Brigade.
- The group then travel back to Aquaria. There, they learn that Airyglyph is beginning to attack. All available weapons are moved to the front line at Arias.
- The party defeats Duke Vox, leader of the Dragon Brigade. The victory is short-lived, though, as a Vendeeni ship appears.
- The attack causes Fayt to activate hidden symbology, causing him to sprout wings and shoot a powerful beam of destructive light at the Vendeeni ship. Upon hitting the ship, it is obliterated into nothingness.
- During the battle Dion is injured and taken back to Aquaria.
- The group returns to Aquaria. Ameena meets Dion and unfortunately, they both perish, Dion from his injuries and Ameena from her sickness.
- Maria Traydor, the leader of Quark arrives. She explains to the group that Fayt destroyed the ship with his Symbology of Destruction, the result of Robert Leingod's symbological-genetic research. The power is unpredictable, however. She also explains that she holds a similar power, Symbology of Alteration.
- The party learns the Vendeeni have returned and infiltrated the sacred Shrine of Kaddan to steal the Orb of Apris. Fayt, Cliff, Nel, Roger, and Maria enter the shrine and stop them.
- The King of Airyglyph wants to talk of peace. The party agrees to escort the quen to the Ruins of Mossel for negotiations.
- The group is ambushed by Airyglyph radicals along the way. They are defeated and the group reaches the meeting site.
- It's explained to both nations the Vandeeni are only interested in Fayt and Maria. Their escape ship, the Diplo, cannot approach, however, due to the presence of another group of Vandeeni Battleships. They decide to provide a distraction by using the newly completed Thunder Arrow, the runological weapon Fayt and Cliff retreaved copper for. Its range is limited, however, so it will need to be fired from the air. The Airyglyphian dragons are not strong enough to carry such a load so the king of Airyglyph asks you to retrieve Albel from the dungeons to try and make a contract with the Great Dragon, Crosell.
- The party retrieves Albel and travel to the Mountains of Barr, then the Urssa Lava Caves. The path to Crosell's lair is blocked but fortunately the group meets an engineer named Vanilla who will offer to make them a Ring of Disintegration to destroy the barrier. A glowstone will be needed, however.
- The group travels to the Airyglyph Aqueducts, acquires a glowstone, and returns to Vanilla.
- The party receives the ring and defeats Crosell, who swears his loyalty.
- Everyone returns to Aquaria, where the Thunder Arrow is mounted on Crosell. They begin their attack on the Vandeeni. Suddenly, a mysterious beam of energy destroys two of the Vandeeni battleships. This is later revealed to be the Executioners. Regardless, the group moves to the Diplo and leave the planet. They are intercepted by Commodore Wittcomb in the Federation Battleship Aquaelie.
- Biwig then arrives in the Vandeeni ship, Dasvanu, carrying Robert Leingod and Sophia. They agree to meet at the Kirlsa Training Facility on Elicoor II to trade them for Fayt.
- Bizwig betrays the party and comes with soldiers and a transport jammer.
- Before Robert can tell Fayt and Maria why he performed forbidden research on them, he is killed by a Vandeeni Disrupter Rifle. The Aquaelie destroys the Dasvanu and the party defeats Biwig.
- The party transfers to the Aquaelie. They learn of a new enemy, the Executioners, who have nearly destroyed the Alidan empire and devastated the Federation. Fayt and Maria ask to go to Moonbase in the Sol System to visit Dr. Leingod's lab to see if they can learn more about their power and possibly how to control it. Commander Wittcomb agrees to honor this request.
- The party meets back up with Peppita on the Moonbase. There, they find Dr. Leingod's lab and find that their new enemies are gods who are out to destroy all of humanity for intruding on symbology, which they created. Robert, having learned this years ago on the planet Styx, decided to experiment on Fayt, Maria, and Sophia to create a counter. The end result is Fayt's power of Destruction, Maria's power of Alteration, and Sophia's power of Connection.
- Commander Wittcomb agrees to transport them to Styx to use their powers to enter the realm of the Executioners and destroy them.
- The party takes the transport Calnus down to Styx when the Aquaelie is attacked by Executioners. The Aquaelie is destroyed.
- The group makes their way to the Timegate where Sophia's power activates, allowing them to traverse to the realm of the gods, known as, 4D space.
- They exit in the middle of the suburban city and meet a child named Flad Garrand.
- Flad explains that they and the entire world of Star Ocean are nothing more than a simulator game called the "Eternal Sphere." The world they are in is known as the Eternal Sphere and is run by the massive Sphere Coporation. The Milky Way has been slated for deletion, as it is ridden by bugs. The Executioners are simply programs designed to delete the buggy areas.
- In order to try and stop this deletion the party travels to the Sphere Corporation.
- They are greeted by Azazer. He tries to defeat the party but fails.
- The party meets Blair Lansfeld, an employee of Sphere, who is opposed to the deletion. She gives the group an Uninstaller in order to delete the Executioners. It must be activated within the Eternal Sphere, however.
- The party is attacked by Belzeber and Berial, henchmen of the president of Sphere, Luther Lansfeld. They are defeated and the party returns to the Eternal Sphere.
- They activate the uninstaller and the Executioners are deleted. However, even more powerful beings known as Convictors appear. Blair suggests to meet Luther and negotiate with him. In order to enter his realm, however, an object is required. The party learns that it is the Orb of Apris.
- The Diplo arrives and picks up the crew. They return to Elicoor II, which is now covered with Convictors.
- Mirage rejoins the party and they retrieve the orb. Blair contacts them and tells them the entrace to Luther's realm is at the Mosel Ruins.
- Adray, Clair's father, who they previously met, joins the party. They then travel to the Mosel ruins and pass through Firewall that Luther has erected. They fight to the top of Luther's Spiral Tower. Luther refuses to cancel the deletion process.
- The party attacks and defeats Luther.
- Despite their best efforts, Luther defeats the Eternal Sphere. He is unable, however, to delete the individual character data. Thus, since everyone in the universe retains their perception of the Eternal Sphere, nothing has changed. Nothing has been deleted.
- Mirage travels back to Klaus IV to visit her "ill" father.
- Adray remains in Aquaria to conduct military training for the Shield Legion. Meanwhile, he's looking for a guy to marry Clair off to.
- Peppita returns to the Rosetti Troupe and is allowed to star in her own act.
- Roger returns to Surferio and continues to go on "manly adventures" with his friends.
- Albel and an investigation team is charged with exploring a dungeon underneath castle Airyglyph. Albel meets the King of the Dead, Romero, who has killed the investigation team. Romero threatens to kill Albel. Their fate is unknown.
- Nel returns to Aquaria and is given a task to investigate corrupt merchants in Peterney, by the Queen. Nel decides to undertake the mission herself, but is instead ordered to entrust it to one of her subordinates and to take time off. Nel reluctantly agrees. upon leaving, Nel passes Elena Frahm, who hints that she is in fact, a 4D being.
- With Quark disbanded, Cliff works as a diplomat. He was last seen traveling to the Genesis system to negotiate the formation of a new Federation.
- Before Maria leaves the Diplo to live out her life, Lieber attempts to finally confess his love to her.
- Sophia is on the transport, Hornet, bound for Roak and Kratus Spaceport #3 to visit Fayt's parents. Onboard, Sophia meets Ruddle and Rumina, who have a chat about the war.
- What happens to Fayt depends on who he has the highest Affection Rating with:
- Solo: Fayt is shown walking in an unknown location, wondering what everyone else is doing, and decides to take it easy and stay out of sight for a while.
- Sophia: Fayt and Sophia travel to Cratous Spaceport #3, where they reunite with Ryoko Leingod and Sophia's parents.
- Cliff: Cliff and Fayt are seen traveling to the Sol System, with both of them wondering about what will happen concerning the Pangalactic Federation.
- Maria: After Quark is disbanded, Fayt asks Maria what she plans to do with her life, with Maria saying that she wants to get married and live peacefully in a place where no one knows who she is. When Fayt says how finding the right person may be hard, Maria mentions two potential prospects: the guy who is right in front of her and the guy who she didn't choose.
- Nel: Fayt visits Nel while she is sparring with Tynave and Farleen. While talking with each other, Tynave accidentally mentions how jealous Nel got when she saw Fayt talking with Clair, after which she and Farleen run off, leaving Fayt and Nel along together.
- Albel: Fayt and Albel are shown traveling together, looking for the next town, having being forced to leave the previous town after Albel got into a fight with the town's leader. While Fayt is telling Albel to look to his own faults before finding faults in others, they are forced to fight a group of thugs sent by the previous town's leader.
- Peppita: Fayt has apparently joined the Rossetti troupe and now resides with the others at Moonbase. He and Peppita have a discussion about certain safety measures, implying how he cares for her and doesn't to want to see her get hurt during her stunts, suggesting antigravity devices hidden in clothing. She rebuffs the idea, telling him that it's part of the show to give the audience suspense, but by practicing every day, they ensure that no one will get hurt. Fayt then asks why they needed to talk "here"; as the camera pans out, showing they are on a platform high above the walking area of Moonbase.
- Roger: Fayt watches as Roger competes against Lucien in a "Real Man Contest"
- Mirage: Fayt and Mirage are shown traveling to Klaus IV. While talking with Fayt, Mirage tells Fayt that she wants him to tell her what he's feeling more often, wanting to also see both his strengths and weaknesses.
- Adray: Fayt is seen visiting Adray and Clair in Arias. After asking Fayt how he is adapting to life on Elicoor II and if anything is going on between him and Nel, Adray asks Fayt is he wants to marry Clair. However, before Fayt can come up with answer, Clair asks to speak to with Adray in the next room, after which she proceeds to attack him for interfering in her private life. While this is going on, Fayt wonders whether or not he should marry Clair.
- Welch Vineyard traverses the timeline, leaving S.D. 772.
The music for this game was composed by Motoi Sakuraba, a long-time collaborator with tri-Ace. The soundtrack was eventually released in four parts:
- Original Soundtrack Volume 1 - A 2-CD set containing mainly the softer and orchestral pieces from the game.
- Original Soundtrack Volume 2 - Another 2-CD set containing the upbeat music, primarily the battle and dungeon themes.
- Arrange Album - A selection of tracks from the game reworked in different styles.
- Voice Mix - Similar to the Arrange Album, but featuring dialogue sampled from the Japanese version of the game along with the music.
The limited edition of Volume 1 also came with a box to hold all four albums.
When the game was revised into the Director's Cut, Sakuraba composed a few new pieces of music and released an album for them.
The song "The Small Bird That Forgot How To Fly" (飛び方を忘れた小さな鳥, Tobikata Wo Wasureta Chiisana Tori) by the JPop singer MISIA was used to accompany the game's ending credits. It was also used very briefly at the beginning of the game, and an instrumental version plays during some cutscenes during the game.
Reception and criticism
Initially, the game received a somewhat negative impression in Japan. Parts of the game were alleged to be buggy, and the game refused to work at all in older SCPH-10000 PlayStation 2s. Enix blamed Sony, as they had coded Star Ocean: Till the End of Time with features from updated libraries that were apparently not backward-compatible. Sony denied all responsibility. Regardless, it impacted the game's sales, and Enix released the Director's Cut in 2004 to assuage grievances about the original by fixing the bugs and adding features. In North America, the game was well received among both critics and players, with Game Rankings, a compilation of critical reviews, giving it an average score of 81%. Star Ocean 3 was the 96th-best seller among console games of the PS2/GameCube/Xbox generation as of July 2006; it had estimated U.S. sales of 630,000 copies, with revenues of $23 million. In Japan, the original sold 533,373 copies as of 2003.
|Star Ocean series|
|Star Ocean: Fantastic Space Odyssey - Star Ocean: The Second Story - Star Ocean: Till the End of Time - Star Ocean: The Last Hope - Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness|
|Star Ocean: Blue Sphere - Star Ocean: Material Trader - Star Ocean Anamnesis|
|Star Ocean: First Departure - Star Ocean: Second Evolution|
|Star Ocean: And Then to the Far Reaches of Time - Star Ocean: The Second Story - Star Ocean: Second Evolution - Star Ocean: Blue Sphere - Star Ocean: Till the End of Time|
|Star Ocean EX|