Monday, May 11, 2009

Star Ocean vs. Star Trek

On Sunday night I saw the new Star Trek movie. It has its rough spots, particularly in the first half of the movie, but it all comes together quite nicely in the end. I left the theater feeling a little underwhelmed, but satisfied. I don't think it deserves the lavish critic praise its received (95% rating from are you kidding me?), but I can at least give the movie a mild recommendation.

I also managed to finish off Star Ocean this weekend, and my feelings regarding the game are actually remarkably similar. I made no secret of my disdain for the narrative portion of the game in my last post, but the second half of the game (the last two discs combined took me approximately 24 hours to complete, barely longer than the entirety of the first disc) actually incorporates some much-needed character development, plot expansion, and some much-needed puzzle elements into the mix. Rather than feeling embarrased that I was sitting through 30 minute sessions of vapid dialogue from inane, uninspired characters, I was genuinely impressed with the writing and the overall plot structure. The gameplay, too, generally improved as I gradually reached the game's climax - the characters eventually faced off with a nihilistic nemesis bent on destroying the universe in the name utilitarianism (are you paying attention, Trekkies?)! Overall, like Star Trek, I can't help but think the game has been excessively praised by too many people, but overall, I think that the gaming community has done a far better job assessing the merits and shortfalls of Star Ocean than most movie critics have done in their critique of Star Trek.

On one hand, I'm slightly surprised that my feelings regarding both Star Ocean and Star Trek are so similar; on the other hand, considering that Star Ocean Producer Yoshinori Yamagishi has said many times that the series is heavily influenced by the original Star Trek, maybe I shouldn't be so surprised that my sentiments regarding the former are so remarkably similar to my sentiments for the latter.

And so, a mild recommendation for both Star Trek and Star Ocean. Suffice it to say, both are good, but definitely not great.

Any thoughts?

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