The Let's Play Archive

Star Ocean: The Second Story

by The White Dragon

Part 8: In Which we Die a Lot

Chapter 7: In Which we Die a Lot

Note to self: the best cure for a cold is a warm beer one night, and a couple shots of brandy the next.

Last time, we fought some monsters in a big old mountain range. Today, we start our update in the exact same place, doing the exact same thing.

--Wait, that's not how it happened.

Yeah, that's more like it.

We gain a few levels and learn Head Splitter, which is a pretty useful attack right up until you use it around 200 times, at which point it becomes utterly useless. Fortunately, we won't be getting there any time soon, considering we don't even have enough MP to cast it once at the moment.

I'm pretty sure I mentioned something about proficiency and Killer Moves before, but basically: you get 1 point of Proficiency every time you use a Killer Move or Spell in battle (no cheating by casting Heal 999 times on the field to have 3 MP instant-cast full healing in battle).

Once your Proficiency with a Killer Move reaches a certain level, the attack changes. Air Slash moves faster and turns gold. Useful! Shooting Stars, an E. Honda-type attack at close range, hits even more times. Extra-useful! Head Splitter changes the attack from "jump on the enemies and destroy them" to "do 500-ft-vertical backflips". What a gyp.

Rena learns Ray, which sounds useful

looks useful,

and is utter crap and you should never use it.

There's a trick to fighting these stingray enemies: you lure their attack by moving diagonal from them, and then counter with your aerial attack. The caveat: Tallgeese's aerial is crap (each character has unique battle movements. Billy's is actually really good because it IS a hitbox whereas Tallgeese's hitbox is just the blade of his sword, but her low max attack and crap equipment always makes her a bad melee choice).

Strangely, though they're a million times harder, they give less EXP than the ninja heads. Oh also we died anyway.

All right fighting these fuckin' stingray faggots again we can do it

oh my god i can never make fun of press again

You'll notice that Tallgeese is paralyzed in this screenshot. This means that he can't move and counts as dead even though he has HP left. OHKO status effects are the leading cause of controller breakage in this game, but fortunately we have a quick solution:

Just run back to Arlia and stay in mom's basement overnight for free.

Oops! As you can probably guess, sleeping in your parents' basement won't fix your paralysis.

The store in Arlia doesn't sell what we need, so I have to go all the way to fucking Mars Village, which I didn't bother taking a screenshot of because we'll be back later.

Fuck you, game.

So anyway, now that we're back in business, let's gain some more levels.



Yeah, the enemies in this area not only Paralyze you, but also PETRIFY you. And it's so easy to just accidentally run into this place at the beginning of the game that it isn't even funny.

FF12 wasn't a test to see how players would respond to being able to accidentally encounter fuck-off monsters early in the game. Enix just does this. The only difference is that you could actually beat them in SO2, and that it was actually rewarding to gain levels back in those days.

Well, can't beat 'em with Billy, so I guess we'll just have to restart.

Those ninja heads don't always come alone. Sometimes, they'll bring alone a witch, which you can't see because she's obscured by Press. I know I talked shit about it earlier, but it's really good this early in the game because it's the only spell that charges quickly enough to beat said witches' spells, hitting them and delightfully canceling their casting.

This is becoming less of a running joke and more of a theme, honestly.

Anyway, we've seen enough of this place for now.

I should probably hit the nearest city.

Besides, I have a few things I want to do:

I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that I was misremembering and actually did the Private Action in Salva in an image batch that occurred later than last update, so guess what?


"What's the sky?"

"Black people?"
"Are you kidding? This is anime."

Incidentally, I don't think that the Star Ocean series actually has any black people in it. I want to say I vaguely recall fighting a black dude in SO3 and he used a whip and a Tec-9 that shot micromissiles and his boss music was some weird stitched-together Gray Album-style gangsta rap, but honestly that sounds so absolutely and ridiculously racist that I must've just imagined it.

... Right?

i wish that was just a hallucination also motoi sakuraba eats dicks and shits them on whatever he composes

Gee, wouldn't it?!

No, don't be silly. There's no such things as other worlds, the stars in the sky are just lost souls of aborted babies or something, you should know that.

"Well color me disappointed. I thought that My Underage Dream Elf Girlfriend would be smarter than that. I guess it was just never meant to be."
"What are you talking about?"

tallgeese that isn't how you get laid dogg

Well, now that that's out of the way, we have some other errands to run. We go back to Mars Village, which I'm still not showing in-town screenshots of.

"Sorry, I know I'm a gigantic asshole for wanting to buy something, but can you come here and sell me shit"

Our shopping list is big. It is not cost-effective.

On the other hand, it pretty much doubles our attack power and makes it impossible for us to not hit the enemies. Plus, it's fire element, so...

... where we were doing like 150 or so damage per hit, we're now doing almost 500 to everything here but the witches, who are resistant to fire damage so still take only around 150.


Okay, that's enough violence for one update. Now,

something completely relaxing.

It was so relaxing, that I didn't even consider that you wouldn't be able to see how that waterfall is moving in a still screenshot.

Anyway, this mountain pass serves two purposes. One, grinding levels.

Two, it takes you to this desert.

You will love this desert like a furry loves Star Fox.

Why? Well, you see those fatass, butt-ugly tick things? Like the mountain pass, they have two really useful things about them.

1) They move so slow that you can run circles around them and kill them without getting hit even once.

2) They have a 33% and a 25% chance of dropping Damascus or Orichalcum, respectively.

These are two late-game crafting materials. You can make some of the best armor in the game (barring postgame stuff) out of them with Blacksmithing, and I think you can use Damascus in Metalwork to make some great accessories. However, we can't use them AT ALL right now.

"So why," you might ask, "are you getting so excited about this, The White Dragon?"

Because you can take them back to town.

And you can sell them. Notice that I'm making almost 20,000 Fol by selling 8 Damascuses and 2 Orichalcums.

With a total 58% drop rate, and considering that the giant tick things come in parties of three, you can feasibly estimate making 40,000 Fol for the Bandit's Gloves in, oh, 16 encounters tops with enemies so slow that you can kill them without actually having gained ANY levels (this is not recommended, because there ARE actually other enemies in that desert who can completely kick your ass, so you'll probably be save-loading a lot even if you're level 20 or so).

Speaking of which, I grind a few more tick dudes and have just enough to afford them.

We walk over to the port town,

get what we need,

and get equipped.

It was right about here that I realized something: when I started the game, I rolled Billy without Dexterity, which is absolutely CRUCIAL to Pickpocketing.

Nobody's actually crunched the numbers behind Pickpocketing, but here's my take on it, based on savestate analysis, regarding why you need Dexterity. There's some tl;dr theoretical video game shit here, so you can probably just hit the spacebar until the next image if you don't care about it.

1) At its very core, the Pickpocketing formula is pretty simple: it's Your Pickpocket Score vs. Target Pickpocket DC.

2) Every NPC has his or her own preprogrammed Pickpocket DC, and it runs higher or lower depending on how good their carried item is.

3) Your Base Pickpocket Score is randomly generated every time you A) load a save or B) attempt a pickpocket.

4) Your Pickpocket level affects your score's ceiling. Let's say Pickpocketing Level 3's ceiling is 50; even if your base score gets rolled as 256, the game just sets it at the 50 cap.

5) Dexterity seems to be effectively a floor; your pickpocket score can't be under, say, 50, but rather than adding 50 to whatever your roll is, it just bumps a <50 roll to 50. Your success rate skyrockets because most pickpocket DCs are super-low anyway, but Dexterity won't make it any easier to get high-DC items.

6) The Magician's Hand item is probably another "floor" item. Equipping it bumps up your floor, let's say, +25 above whatever your base is (whether it's 0 without Dexterity to 25, or 50 with to 75), but by no means makes Pickpocketing the best items, like the Santa Boots, any easier.

It's probably about as easy as that, but I'm also probably thinking in seed 255. For all I know, it could be 0-20, which would be very comforting. Whatever it is, you need A LOT to get the Santa Boots. Hell, you need a lot for a number of items, but we'll get to that when we get to it (incidentally, that will be very soon).

So what did I do? I restarted the game. Opening sequence and all. However, it let me realize a fatal mistake: I forgot to learn this skill first, so I did that first thing this time.

Perseverance, as its description says, lowers the SP required to learn skills. It is an AMAZING SP-saving device. It HALVES (maybe reduces it by 1/3 or 1/4, maybe 1/2 is overestimating) the number of SP required to master Reproduction, which is a lot of SP that could be spent elsewhere. It also makes a BUNCH of skills cost 1 SP for a good number of levels.

In the long run, this doesn't matter terribly much. You'll have more than enough SP to max every skill in the game three times over without Perseverance if you get to Level 255. You don't want that. Just master Perseverance first. I won't bother doing the math for you.

Anyway, next time, we'll continue with the game-breaking, check out a very new, very terrible, and very temporary image resolution because epsxe doesn't know what the fuck, and maybe, just maybe, ACTUALLY START DOING STORY STUFF. All this NEXT EXCITING EPISODE OF LET'S PLAY STAR OCEAN 2!