And as a different experience compared to the source material, I’d call Star Ocean EX a success. It takes something dear to me and many others and retells it in a way that expands upon its character and world. Even with its downgrades in terms of action and capturing the systems of the game, it manages to add a lot to a cast that already had me by the heartstrings. I know I said that it's about the journey and not the destination, but it really is unfortunate that it was never finished in its intended form because I would have loved to see how everything else played out in this fashion with beautifully represented character designs, lively music, and appropriate voice acting. I admittedly came in not expecting anything particularly special, and I have to imagine it wouldn’t be anything special for people not familiar with the game, but as someone who has been yearning for a replay of Star Ocean 2 but hasn’t quite had the time to squeeze it in, this really helped satisfy that hunger for the time being.
Gate of Doom
I know I’m playing armchair game designer here, but I really feel like Gate of Doom would become something great with just a handful of changes. Increase the default movement speed, rebalance some enemy damage output (or just give players full health when respawning), make magic usable in boss fights, and make the power-up items permanent and you’d have a much more reasonable game that actually feels like a proper blend of action and RPG elements. As it is now, Gate of Doom wears the skin of a D&D campaign and does so very well, but when you actually get your hands on it, it just feels like a less polished and poorly balanced take on contemporaries like Gauntlet, Cadash, and The King of Dragons that were all doing the same thing more effectively, to say nothing of the excellence that the Capcom D&D games would achieve just a few years later.