I bet that headline got your attention, didn't it? A new Star Ocean game would be very welcome right about now.
Unfortunately, as is the growing trend, the recently-announced-in-Japan new Star Ocean game isn't really a new Star Ocean game at all. It is, instead, a mobile card-battle game from leading shovelware publisher GREE.
In case you've never had the misfortune to encounter one of GREE's awful titles before, here's how they generally work: you alternate between pressing a "do quest" button over and over again, collecting new (admittedly usually beautifully illustrated, if frequently boob-heavy) "cards" along the way until your energy runs out or you level up (which restores your energy), then you flip into the PvP part of the game where you participate in completely automated battles against other players where whoever has cards with the biggest numbers on them wins.
Once your energy for "questing" and battling other players has expired, you either wait until one or the other restores -- generally a matter of hours rather than minutes -- or pay to restore them immediately. Oh, and also, you can pay to get better "randomly" selected cards, which will pretty much guarantee you victory in battle against other players -- the very definition of pay-to-win.
More recently, GREE has, to its credit, experimented with adding a tiny bit more depth to some of its games -- such as, you know, actually making a choice as to which way your character goes -- but for the most part, they're still shallow, cynical cash-grabs more than games that are actually any fun to play whatsoever. And yet, despite their obvious inadequacies, for some reason these titles prove extremely popular -- particularly in their native Japan -- so they keep coming.
There's no indication of a Western release for Star Ocean: Material Trader as yet. If it does happen to come over, do yourself a favor and don't support this kind of shovelware just because it has the name of a favorite franchise on it; let's hope we instead get the opportunity to support a proper new Star Ocean game for consoles -- or at the very least some remastered versions of earlier entries in the series -- rather than money-grabbing dross for mobile platforms.
Of course, I could be wrong about all this and it ends up being the most fabulous Star Ocean game ever created. But I wouldn't hold your breath.
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