The Most Intuitively Fun Gameplay of Any Mobile RPG – Star Ocean Anamnesis Review

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Star Ocean Anamnesis is hands down the most fun and intuitive gameplay of any mobile RPG out there – Star Ocean Anamnesis Review

Mobile gaming is a unique medium. On the one hand, we have these extremely powerful devices that can run some impressive games. In the other, mobile gaming doesn’t quite match up to a proper handheld system and never really get close despite their best efforts. I mean some games try to incorporate PC level complexity and boast huge open worlds and MMORPG style gameplay. But those games are trash. This giant 11 football field sized world that has 0 things to do in it. Why would a game have such a large environment, have 0 NPC’s to interact with, 0 hidden locations, 0 incentive to explore it? These games usually feature an auto-play feature that makes playing the game completely pointless. My point is, a lot of mobile games will bring all the flash of a PC or Console game to mobile, but not bring the part that matters most, the gameplay. Usually it’s complex gocha and RNG systems with the bare minimum definition of gameplay. I mean I’m down to spend up to $200 on a game, but that better come with all the DLC and a awesome statue too. If I’m not going to spend $5 on an Overwatch skin, why would I spend $30+ on a mobile game. Lukcily Square Enix brought Star Ocean Anamnesis to mobile to take a step in the right direction.

Star Ocean Anamnesis takes place two years after events of Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness. Players take control as the captain of the Pangalactic Federation Starship GFSS-3214F as they are ambushed by space pirates and end up on a strange planet outside the Federation’s borders. On this planet, you and your crew encounter a mysterious woman, Evelysse, who uses a powerful form of Symbolic magic that allows her to summon warriors from throughout time. After she joins your crew, which is essentially the game’s introductory tutorial, you set on a path to find your way back to Earth.

I’m personally not too familiar with the Star Ocean franchise, but I really liked the way they incorporated Evelysse to be able to use characters throughout the franchise. The best part about it, is that even though there is a lot of lore preceding Anamesis, it doesn’t feel necessary to enjoy the game’s story. Honestly though, unless the mobile game is narrative based, the story is usually unimportant. While Star Ocean Anamnesis is interesting, and well localized, it also isn’t a driving factor of the game.

Unlike its story, Star Ocean Anamnesis’ core gameplay is amazing. It is simple, engaging, and intuitive. Something about playing the game, just feels right. It is perfectly in tune with the touch screen of any device (tablet/phone) and is just a lot of fun to play. The game uses swipe and tap controls to navigate the character and control their actions. It’s a far more advanced and intuitive version of Injustice/Marvel’s Contest of Champions. It feels so much better than games that try to use digital d-pads/sticks to feel like a console controller. The onscreen console-like controls makes sense in theory, but never really works in application. The only other recent game I can think of with similar controls is Dragon Ball Legends. Star Ocean Anamnesis feels more natural and less mechanical, which gives the game a much more fluid feeling.

On top of gameplay, Star Ocean Anamnesis, has really impressive graphics. Unlike other mobile games that try and tout “console” worthy graphics, but really only during cutscenes, Anamnesis remains consistent in its animation and cutscenes. It does use animation style sprites for the dialog and story screens, but the gameplay is all fully rendered 3D graphics. Also, the character designs are very intricate. Plenty of fan service for all fans there. Audio-wise, I played the game with sound for a bit, but it didn’t do anything to impress me. So playing the game with the sound off or on has no real big impact either way. The RPG system is pretty much the same you would find in any other mobile RPG, which is to say designed to get you to pay. However, I will say the level cap doesn’t hit as hard as it does in other mobile RPG’s and the engagement level of the gameplay actually makes you feel like skill is involved in leveling up instead of auto-playing and finishing your dailies until you can afford to make purchases and upgrades.

Star Ocean Anamnesis has given me a lot of hope for mobile free-to-play gaming. I have been very pessimistic since most games seem to be carbon copies of each other and there’s just IP slapped over it to use people’s fandom to get them to spend. But Star Ocean Anamnesis seems to be breaking the mold and taking a step forward into a place where mobile gaming is more than elaborately designed gambling programs. Though Star Ocean Anamnesis uses a similar RPG system, and does have RNG/Gocha systems, it at least uses them to supplement the game. It doesn’t make that the main part of the game which is what most other companies do. It is a refreshing change of pace, some truly fun and engaging gameplay, and a ray of hope that game companies actually want to make good games. My Star Ocean Anamnesis review gets an 8/10.

Star Ocean AnamnesisInitial Release Date: December 7, 2016
NA Release Date: July 10, 2018
Developer: tri-Ace
Artist: Akira Yasuda
Series: Star Ocean
Genre: Action role-playing game
Platforms: Android, iOS

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