Star Ocean: Blue Sphere
|Star Ocean: Blue Sphere|
|Release date(s)||JP June 28, 2001 (GBC)
JP June 8, 2009 (Mobile)
Star Ocean: Blue Sphere (スターオーシャン ブルースフィア Sutā Ōshan Burū Sufia?) is a 2001 Game Boy Color action role-playing video game that is the direct sequel to Star Ocean: The Second Story. It is the only game in the Star Ocean series that has never been released outside of Japan. The text is colloquial with an emphasis on "sci-fi" jargon. A mobile phone remake of the game was released in Japan on June 8, 2009.
Taking place 2 years after Star Ocean: The Second Story and the defeat of the 10 Wise Men, all the characters have since moved on with their lives. Claude has taken Rena, Leon, and Precis to live on Earth with him. While constantly being sent on missions into space, Claude's relationship with Rena doesn't change much at all. Ashton, Celine, Dias, Noel, Chisato, and Bowman still live on Planet Expel. Ernest and Opera are treasure hunting when their ship crash lands on Planet Edifice. Opera manages to send out an S.O.S. to Precis, who then rounds up the entire gang (sans Claude and Rena, who are on a Federation mission) in her self-built ship and heads to the planet. They are also mysteriously pulled down through the planet's atmosphere and crash-land. They decide to explore their surroundings and search for their missing comrades, hoping that Claude and Rena will rescue them, but they too crash-land on Edifice later on in the game.
Blue Sphere attempts to adapt traditional Star Ocean gameplay to the Game Boy Color. For the first time, random battles are removed and enemy characters can be seen on the field. When engaged in combat, the screen changes to a side scrolling view and retains real time combat. The characters can only move left and right, and the majority of fighting is influenced through combos. Battle techniques and magic can be assigned to button combinations, making the battle system more similar to Star Ocean's cousin series, Tales. The game retains its predecessor's gameplay features such as private actions, where individual characters have side sequences, weapon and item creation, and branching plot lines. Players  The game introduces a new system called Field Actions can be performed on the field map, allowing players to interact with their environments such as swimming across bodies of water or breaking through barriers to find new or hidden paths. Enemies will now be composed of multiple parts, each of which will bear individual statistics and attack characteristics. This incorporates further strategy by giving certain monsters specific weaknesses.
During development, the game was intended to include multiplayer combat, as well as be available for both the original Game Boy and the Game Boy Color.
Although the game was initially tentatively planned to be released in North America as well as in Japan, by June 2001, immediately prior to the game's release, Enix had decided not to port the game. This was partially due to the size of the game and therefore the difficulty in fitting the translated version onto a cartridge, but primarily due to Enix's change in strategy to focus on the newly released Game Boy Advance rather than the Game Boy Color; the company did not want to release any more GBC games and was unwilling to devote the resources to port the game from the GBC to the Advance.
Much like the other games in the series, Star Ocean: Blue Sphere also has a manga based on it that was drawn by Aoi Mizuki and serialized in Monthly Shonen Gangan. Oddly enough, Noel Chandler and Chisato Madison, two of the twelve main characters from Star Ocean 2, have been omitted from the storyline, since the Star Ocean: The Second Story manga was cancelled prematurely before either character could appear in the storyline.
Composer Motoi Sakuraba released a two-CD soundtrack for this game. The first disc was an arrangement album of selected tracks, while the second was the complete in-game score. The album was released on August 22, 2001 by Scitron Discs.
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