At first, I didn’t really hate them, I actually enjoyed them very much. Especially mobile games that have those “gacha” mechanics, where you gather characters based on a chance. I used to play them with friends, comparing our luck. “Hey I got this 5 star character,” ; and then they got jealous “OMG I want him/her!! Should I roll the current banner too?”.
At first I waste lots of my life, hours every day, with games like Phantom of Kill (ファンキル ), Fate Grand Order (FGO), and lots of other games that I tried and got into, like Tagatame no Alchemist (タガタメ ), Granblue Fantasy (グラブル / GBF) and even more smaller ones. I truly enjoyed the experience, having fun playing together, comparing super rare units, and all. However, after the closure of a certain games I love, I enjoyed so much I even invested/buy micro transactions for it, got closed (or what they called “service closure”– サービス終了 ).
The game is Star Ocean Anamnesis (スターオーシャンアナムネシス).
You see, I was a huuuuuuge fan of the Star Ocean series. I got introduced by my sister, when she brought me PS1 discs her friend gave her, which she then gave to me (I thought it was only borrowed, she got angry when I tried to return it back to her, saying “So you don’t want these games? Even though my friend gave them away!?” or something like that). The game was Star Ocean 2, a game I played and re-played a lot of times. Like, I played it more than 10 times in my whole life, to notice it shortcomings, or rather, stuff that I wish they could fix. Then I got into Star Ocean 3 too, when PCSX2 got good enough and I got a powerful enough PC/laptop to run it. I never truly finished the game, but I played it the farthest when I got past the 4D dimension. Or did I finish it once? I think I did, I vaguely remembered about the bonus dungeon. Whatever.
I love those two games, two of my favourite games of all time, besides Suikoden II, Final Fantasy IX, Chocobo’s Dungeon 2, and other games I somehow forgot that I love them dearly. I tried Star Ocean 1 but couldn’t get into it, maybe I’ll try again when I got fired, or resign from my current job. I also bought Star Ocean 4 on Steam, when Star Ocean Anamnesis still live. “I want to support Tri-Ace, I hope they make more great games!”, I thought.
Star Ocean Anamnesis live service, gacha mobile game started at the end of 2016, if I didn’t remember incorrectly. It was a very high-end, very device specific game at first. It particularly needed a newer iOS device, or much newer Android device that support a certain OpenGL ES version.
My phone was unfortunately not good enough to be able to play. I used an Evercoss a66a “Elevate Y” model, a cheap Indonesian branded, yet still a outsourced Chinese made phone, with low quality 720p IPS screen, low quality 8MP interpolated to 13MP back camera-and 2 MP interpolated to 5MP front camera that looks much worse than the MP count suggests, and with very not powerful, yes, very weak quad-core 28nm ARM Cortex A9 1.3GHz Mediatek MT6582 and just 1GB of LPDDR… I don’t know, they never specified whether it’s LPDDR2, LPDDR3, or LPDDR4. It’s around 2014-2015 when I bought it second hand, so it should be LPDDR3. If I look at the specs of MTK6582, it is either LPDDR2-533 or LPDDR3-533, which is… very slow and old by today’s standards.
My phone was not good enough for it to be played. However, whatever happens, I HAVE to be able to play the game. I then tried my best to look for alternatives. Using android emulators on windows? Nope, none worked (though I heard it later works after a new version of Nox or something in 2018? 2019? 2020? came). I tried to dual-boot (or was it triple-boot with Linux and Windows?) my laptop with Remix OS. It wasn’t easy, but it did get installed. And when I tried to run Star Ocean Anamnesis? IT WORKED! YAY!…I was truly excited and happy.
The experience wasn’t perfect. Star Ocean Anamnesis is a vertically played game, so I need to put my laptop vertically. My laptop (Lenovo M490s, i3-3227u and GT710M) doesn’t have a touchscreen either, so I used a mouse to play it. Of course, it was awkward and uncomfortable, but I didn’t particularly mind. I mean, I can play it yo!
My laptop screen was 768p, and it had stuck pixel too, but the image of Star Ocean Anamnesis with detailed 3D graphics really looks extremely nice. I thought it was at least PS3, almost PS4 level of graphics. Well they did take Star Ocean 5 (PS3, PS4) 3d models to be reused in Anamnesis. So I continued playing like that, for months, maybe until around July-August 2017. I passed the Nikkensei exchange program to Osaka University, fully paid by the Japanese government. So, I asked my parents to fund me that, also to let me buy a new phone, something that’s good enough to last long and be used in Japan too. They gave me 3 million rupiah (at the time maybe equivalent to 200-225 USD), so I bought a Xiaomi Mi Max 2!
Xiaomi Mi Max 2 is an Android 7 device with 16:9, 6.4 inch 1080p IPS, and Snapdragon 625 SoC. It was not particularly powerful, but at the time, it had a very good bang-for-the-buck, and a very nice screen. Hell, even compared to the one I’m currently using mainly, Samsung A52s 5G with its 6.5 inch screen, I liked the size of Mi Max 2’s screen MUCH MORE. It’s just much bigger and nicer to use when reading webtoons, comics, mangas, novels, etc. I still use it today even if it has broken pyschial buttons and non-original battery, the screen is just the best (and so sad they discountinued Mi Max series, nowadays phones has bigger inch numbers, but the aspect ration is either 18:9, 20:9, or somewhere around that. I want them not only to get LONGER, but THICKER too PLEASE! They’re very narrow.). Anyway, I’m sure you get how I love the screen. (Anyway, I used Lenovo M490s with Remix OS at first, moved to Mi Max 2, then to iPad 6th Gen I bought in Japan)
I played a lot, much more of Star Ocean Anamnesis since I got that phone. I rolled so much of my favourite characters, Celine, Leon, Welch, Vulcan/Varka S-19, and I even tried to roll Lezard Valeth from Valkyrie Profile and Zephyr from End of Eternity/Resonance of Fate but failed. I did get Lenneth, both versions of Linbell/Leanne and Vashyron too.) Oh yeah, did I say that the game has online, real-time, multiplayer battle? It works extremely well even if it was labeled a beta (I think it stayed beta for the whole game? or did it phase out of beta? I don’t know, it just works well even since the beginning so I never noticed).
I think I spent 15-25 thousand yen for Anamnesis. And was it… 4 thousand yen? for SO4 on Steam? I totally forgot.
Anyway. I truly enjoyed the game. There were also STAR OCEAN PROGRAM live stream almost every bigger updates, where the producers Kai Takaaki (甲斐聖現) and Kobayashi Shuuichi (小林秀一 ; which involved in some scandal around the game and never appeard there again), Welch Voice actress Tomoe Hanba (半場友恵), and a cosplayer Koyomin (Koyomi Makino, 牧野 こよみ also stylised as “Coyomi”;; I knew she was/is manager or something of a cafe named APARE アペル… not sure now though. As of 2021-2022 she works as manager or something in AXiS Management https://axis-mgt.mystrikingly.com/ — She later moved to SiNoAlice cosplayer in their official stream, and went somewhere else again, while the later STAR OCEAN PROGRAM replaced her with), a gravure idol Yuno Mizusawa/yunocy (水沢柚乃).
I remembered how excited I was being introduced with new characters from the series I love and know. My favourite in the Anamnesis game was Celine, she wasn’t particularly powerful, nor useful, but I still love her with her exclusive skill Starlight, which hits extremely HARD to all enemies, but only that one hit per cast. Still, she was much more powerful compared to Star Ocean 2, as Star Ocean 2 is very badly optimized for spellcasters. I mean, they cap damage to 9999, and later in game, most melee attacker can dish out 5000-9999 damage per hit, and they usually do lots of it every few seconds, so it’s pretty non-sensical to use spellcaster which dish out smaller damage in 3-5 seconds, or 9999 damage with the bigger spells that TOOK way longer at more than 10 seconds (Celine’s Explode and Meteor Swarm everyone? Also was Leon’s Extinction that long too?). The only better spell that hits more than just one 9999 damage is Leon’s unique Gremlin Lair. It somehow hit much more than just one, which all other heraldry/symbology spells do. Though I never manage to make it hit that hard (each hit; probably around 2000? forgot.).
I truly, truly enjoyed Star Ocean Anamnesis. Well, at least most of the time. Somehow, around 2020? The game started to be a little bit boring because there’s not much to do except the repeatedly recycled, similar, or mostly the same boss battles. I mean, every event in the game is always battles and battles. And I’m sure the players got bored too. But what they did was to add more power-up and customisations to the character. I’ll explain slowly.
The base game only has 限界突破 Limit break, which uses copies or LB crystals as materials (you get these when you get copies of the one you maxed out, there are 3 different ones, the one you get from R 3 stars characters, SR 4 stars characters, and SSR 5 stars characters). It was tedious, but very easy to gather.
Then because they do this “newer character, stronger, better, you need to roll this to easily beat the boss which has this particular weakness the new characters have skills in!”, power creep is a very serious issue. The 5 star SSRs at the beginning of the game are MUCH MUCH weaker than, say, newly released 5 star SSRs a year later. They are barely usable.
Because of the power creep issue, they introduced this “Awakening” (覚醒) mechanism along with space exploration thing, which basically allowing older characters to have their skills and talents improved. Of course, with it there was new materials and items to farm added, which space exploration will get you exactly those. It was abnormally difficult to gather these items, so I hated this part.
Then the equipment improvement came. I never really get into this, because it’s so meticulous and too much work to do. Then you can extract skills from equipment and attach it to other equipment you like, of course, using special items which you can only obtain by doing special missions or to buy them with real money. Then there are these super idol units with much stronger skills, talents, etc. THEN they added a pure cosmetic customization with 99% of it only available using real money to purchase, and after that they allow you to level up characters to Lv120 (which normally since beginning, 5 star SSRs can only go to Lv70). There was also an unlimited dungeon Sphere211 where you compete against people to reach the highest floor.
So many unnecessary improvements, yet not something fundamentally good enough to improve the core game and make it fun and not boring. Because all they did are just to make the power creep issue even more prevalent. If they could only add some gameplay, except the regular stories/single player campaign and those neverending boss battles and item farming… Maybe some private actions like in the main game, or something else that can make the core battle game less repetitive, I don’t know. Actually at one point, I really wanted a PvP or Guild PvP battles, instead of just the regular PvE multiplayer battle. But basically, it became extremely BORING and TIRING to just follow the game anymore.
So somewhere around 2020 maybe? Or 2021? I think it’s 2020, I stopped playing the game. Maybe just played the single player campagin, because it was truly interesting and quite fun to read. Occassionally I return playing the events when there’s fun stuff, or new character with unique quirks, like a werewolf character, or new classes, or new skills, etc.
But then fast forward to April 2021, they announced service closure gradually until, complete service shut down on 24 June 2021 ;; 14:00 JST. It honestly broke my heart. Even if it got boring later, I still love the game extremely so. But that time I started working full-time so I didn’t have much leeway to play it. So I never had any chance to do it until the end. When I took a break and played the game, as they say available “offline mode” to see, look at the characters you have, and play the story mode. But it… it deleted all my data except my user code. I could not see any characters at all, everything greyed out. I think it was wiped out because I never updated the last update before closure, and when I updated to the offline mode, they stopped the server which my data resides in, and it never got saved in the device. I cried, but decided to move on and promised myself never to pay for online only games. Or invest on it too much, emotionally too.
And then this morning, I somehow dreamed that I played the game using Varka/Vulcan S-19 again. And I felt so much pain and sadness when I woke up, because I totally understand that the game is dead and no longer be playable ever again. I feel like shit!
So I woke up and before doing anything else, decided to write my sadness and some of my memories, nice memories with the game. I’m so sad….
Anyway, I’ll be waiting for RPCS3 to work super well with Star Ocean 5, because I wanted to try it in the future. Also, I hope Star Ocean 6 development goes well and didn’t become another Star Ocean 5 which was a commercial failure, and most people consider a disappointment. I heard a few months after the release, like two or so months? Some places sold the game for just 500 yen (around 4-5 USD maybe;; I remember I saw a box copy labeled with ¥500 on twitter, I tried to find it but couldn’t, tell me below if you found it, I want to add it to this post), much lower than the release price. I read lots of people on twitter that think “The Star Ocean series is totally dead now…”
As I said, there’s a new Star Ocean 6 called Star Ocean: The Divine Force. Though it seemed to head into the “real-time action battle” direction again, just like Star Ocean 5, Infinite Undiscovery, Devil May Cry, or… whatever that is. I still have some hope in Tri-Ace, yes, but….
But… Square Enix, day by day seemed to turn worse and worse. Like the failure of Marvel universe games, and the sale of western games including the developers they had, that made games like Tomb Raider reboot games which all sold more than 5 millions copies each, in totall 38 million copies. And news outlets said that Square Enix sold that to invest in NFT and crypto? I don’t know how that is a logical and sound decision. It almost like the upper echelon of the company is mentally broken, or ruined by greed. The NFT and crypto values kept falling lately, so I could only see it as a rash and stupid decision currently. I don’t know if it’ll went right back up and even more, let’s just see.
I just have so little faith in Square Enix nowadays. Their games were great when they were Square and Enix, separate from each other. The good thing with Square Enix maybe was the earlier ones, and for the later one is the decision to remaster Final Fantasy IX (and they didn’t even upscale the background assets, as they’ve lost original assets. Moguri Mod is a GOD SEND!) . That’s it in my opinion.
I think Square Enix will just rush and press the budget as little as possible for Tri-Ace, which I think happened with Star Ocean 5. That was probably why they reused the assets from Star Ocean 5 into Star Ocean Anamnesis, maybe to gain some profit from the loss from Star Ocean 5, rather than just top and waste all the 3d modelling efforts, which I believe is super expensive, maybe hundreds of dollars a pop, or maybe even thousands. Luckily Anamnesis had some success to last from 2016-2021; which is more than 4 years (Dec 2016 – June 2021), (probably) better than the seemingly much more popular Dragalia Lost (September 2018 ~ around July 2022 according to some sources).
I’ll never invest too much emotion, energy, time and (any) money to a mobile game, or game as a service. I don’t want to feel the pain and sadness again. (Though I still play Destiny Child rarely, Destiny Child Defense War quite often). My personality is quite bad just as you can observe. I have trust issues. Extremely so. If someone or something hurts or pains me, I will have trouble to ever trust that someone/thing again. Even if they’ve become nicer again, I’ll still be super wary about them. I don’t know whether this is because of my childhood upbringing, teenager life, or what.
For example, my mother once cooked some vegetables into coconut-milky soup. When I scooped it, I found a huge maggot, cooked inside of it! I was terrified, and didn’t eat for the whole day, and for few months I always ordered delivery foods and refused to eat anything my mother cooked. I only tried to eat it because my mother is so, so, forceful. She abritrarily makes something, and forces everyone to eat, even if whatever she made isn’t suited to my or my father’s taste. Then she would blame me or my father for not eating something she has made.
The problem is that, my mother always OVERSTOCKED raw foods and vegetables, sometimes leaving them to rot. When it’s partially rotten, she would cut the rotten part and cook what she deemed “good enough”, and made the whole thing taste weird and disgusting. Once, she cooked lots of fried egg, using fresh egg INCLUDING one egg that’s going rancid, THAT she deemed “good enough”. When I ate it, it taste weird, disgusting, and I almost threw up. She didn’t even eat eggs, she’s a self-proclaimed vegan that cooks non-vegan food too.
Sometimes when she made some soup or something, she would kept reheating it for days or until A WEEK, sometimes even leaving it to rot past one week, never threw it away or cleaned it until the whole house smells, and the pan full of little maggots. I so terrified and disgusted, but if I tried to throw them away or clean them, I think she would say “Why are you throwing that away, it’s still good” or “I wanted to use it as a compost” or whatever, even though so far SHE NEVER DID IT. She always says “I want to use xxx for yyy” but never does it. This is why I am trying my best to work, to gather money, to buy MY OWN DREAM HOUSE! Some place far from my mother, which has nasty food habits, also toxic and manipulative, narcissistic personality.
Both of my parents and my siblings always said, “You’re the youngest, so you must always be at home and take care of us/father and mother.”…. I just say yes, but in my heart, I thought “How would I learn to be independent then? I’ll get used to being helped by my parents, paying tax, paying services, when something breaks etc, and when they pass away, I’d be a total useless dunce then?”…especially after I got back from a full year of living alone in Japan. I had tasted freedom, and I couldn’t live without it anymore. I couldn’t stand not being free to do whatever I wanted.
I think this went on much longer than needed, and to unrelated topics as well, so I’ll stop here. I’ve now fully awake, and need to do other stuff.
Have a nice day, everyone. I hope you all are always healthy, happy, and blessed with money.
Now even though I got a really nice phone, A52s with a relatively powerful Snapdragon 778G and 8GB of LPDDR4X, I could never play that game again. So sad. It truly is sad. Haah.
Maybe I’m the type to get attached very easily to stuff, and when they’re no longer accessible, the mental pain attacks. If somehow, the most unprobable thing happened and I have a lover, then they decided to break up with me, will I be fine then? Will this kind of thought cause me to even go further from that possibility? No one could tell. Or can you?