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- Some of the character recruitment methods. The original and its PSP remake were the worst about this — for two egregious examples, getting Pericci/Perisie. In order to unlock her, you must clear the Pirate Hideout within a certain timeframe that is never specified, then, afterwards, you have to pick up a random item whose location is only shown by a single blink-and-you'll-miss-it sparkle and is unobtainable if you leave the area, then, after reuniting with Millie and Ronyx, you have to go all the way back to the very first town of the game and activate a hidden private event.
- In fact, acquiring certain characters to be added to your party itself really affects the outcome of character recruitment throughout the game. Keeping Ashlay means a few certain characters will not join because some events won't occur and keeping Joshua guarantees the recruitment of Mavelle. So obviously, you don't know that getting some characters bars recruitment to the others. Guide, Dang it!
- Another character called T'Nique was and is still a secret character in Star Ocean, but compared to unlocking most "secret characters" in some games, this is actually rather easy...if you have a guide that is. You have to manipulate which events will happen so that you will have six characters or less by the time you are on a quest for the emblems. Then you have to return to the town with the arena for no obvious reason and then fight in there until you are challenged by T'Nique.
- One of the most shining examples goes to Erys. Granted, she is a Secret Character after all, so it makes sense that she's hidden. However, what you have to do is recruit three specific characters. Obviously Ioshua and Mavelle - which make sense anyways, since if you recruit Ioshua you'll have Mavelle anyways, and they are connected to one another if you know what's going on. However, you are also required to have Ashlay in your party - a character with no connections to them whatsoever. Then when you go into the Ancient Ruins, where you normally boot Mavelle, Mavelle instead goes back into Erys's body and Erys joins. The killer is Ashlay - because in addition to having no visible connection to these two characters, is easily missable. But to be fair, if you poke around the town you find him in, he gives you a hint that he's playable.
- The other secret character, Welch meanwhile requires you to go out of your way with seven characters or less and them she'll join you. However, what do you do? Go out of your way and there she is. You don't have to jump through any hoops to find her other than simply going way out of your way...but to be fair, a curious player who inspects every little nook and cranny of the world for hidden places can uncover this. Whether or not they're doing this when they have seven characters or less is a different story.
Star Ocean: The Second Story
- One can affect the Relationship Values of characters via battling or items in order to get a number of variations on the generic ending the box art famously advertises multiple endings. Although there are some hints that you can change these values (characters can write books that change either their Friendship or Relationship levels, characters with a high Art skill will paint a picture of the character they have the highest value with, the Fortune Teller in Fun City will hint at the lead's relationship score), these values are never explicitly listed and are not known to the player until the end of the long game.
- The pickpocketing system is the only way to get some of the more rare and useful items and equipment throughout the game. This system is compounded by the fact that you only get one chance per individual (or per encounter in each town if it's a party member) to steal an item - otherwise, you'll have to resort to Save Scumming.
- The only way to get the Mischief (an item that produces Random Drops like the Forged Medal, which instantly makes one character level up) is to steal it from Philia on the only occasion you visit Flik, just before it's destroyed. And the only way to do that in the first place is to go out of your way to Herlie, ignore Rena's complaints to get back in line with the story and spend a whopping 40,000 pol (which you probably don't have at that point) to get the Bandit's Gloves, which allow you to steal at all.
- There are also multiple items that can be stolen from characters when they change locations - for instance, Dias has several items that can be stolen as he changes spots at the Lacour frontlines, and Dr. Mirage has several powerful weapons like the Force Sword that can only be stolen just after a conversation but before leaving Armlock. Few (if any) guides mention this information because the window is so small to get them.
- The Battle Suits. Three copies of this powerful armor can all be obtained on the first disc (and have the highest defense stat in the game, alongside the Valiant Mail). However, the conditions for obtaining these suits are incredibly difficult to figure out without a guide. To start with, you must recruit Opera Vectra and finish her sidequest (see below). Even with both Opera and Ernest, the only way to find the suits is by initiating Private Actions and pickpocketing Ernest in Mars Village and Linga (two places which the player has no reason to visit at that point in the storyline). The third and final copy can only be pickpocketed when Claude is transported to his father's ship during the assault on Eluria Tower. There's only one chance to get it, and failing to do so means you won't find any more until the Bonus Dungeon (by which point you will find better alternatives).
- Unlocking the end-game dungeon, the Cave of Trials, can be a maddening experience. The only way to discover it is to reach the very last save point of the game (outside the final boss' room), then turn right around, exit the dungeon and head back to L'Aqua. From there, you have to speak to an important NPC, who will send your party back to a game area that was destroyed. Who is this important NPC? A generic old man standing in a crowd of people in the back of the Fun City Coliseum. And once you get there, you have to know that it's on an island that was previously inaccessible without flight. This is the only way to get some of the most powerful endgame equipment (including the Holy Sword Farwell/Levantine Sword for Claude, Chisato's ultimate weapon, the strongest Killer Moves for Leon and Ashton and the powerful Seraphic Garb armors, which are a necessity to beat the souped-up version of the final boss). It's kind of funny that the designers would spend so much effort on a very impressive end-game dungeon, equipment and bosses, while leaving the means to reach it so vague and obscure. (The remake at least changes the image for the save file after using the last save point, but it still doesn't make it obvious that the change means anything.)
- The Santa's Boots (which are only accessible by talking to the NPC) are themselves an example of this. At a cursory glance, Expel hasn't changed at all... except for the "Lovers' House" in Arlia Village, where the couple has now inexplicably given birth to a child. Pickpocketing that NPC nets you the "Santa's Boots", but that isn't the infuriating part. The only way to know what it does is to equip them and sleep at an inn, which sometimes nets you an item ranging from useless to the aforementioned rare Farwell Sword/Seraphic Garb. There's no way to get these items besides grinding - unlike other items like the Treasure Chest, the items dropped by the Santa Boots are given in a set sequence. Hope you enjoy running back and forth continually sleeping just to find them.
- The Hidden Information Sidequest. i.e. "the real intentions of the final boss". This is not the information told to the party by Narl at the start of the disk. You have to read all of the file's in North City's database, and the only way to do so is to talk to several NPC's in a certain order, over a certain period of time. You are given clues here and there throughout the process once it's started, but there's little to give you the impression that there's any information to go out and find to begin with. If you don't go through with the entire process you never find out the real reason the big bad is doing anything that's he's doing hell, if you don't poke around enough you won't even know that the reasons originally given are lies in the first place!
- Opera Vectra's sidequest is very enigmatic and prone to mistakes, meaning that you will miss out on a powerful character and the chance to obtain the aforementioned Battle Suits early. Obtaining her requires the player to see several specific scenes, some of which can only be done in Private Action mode. Missed the Private Action involving her character in Cross? Neither she nor her boyfriend, Ernest, can be recruited, and the sidequest is inaccessible as soon as you leave for Hilton. Forgot to visit the King in Cross after meeting her at the Hilton Bar? No recruitment for you! And then there's the scene with her crashed spaceship in Arlia Forest, which isn't a condition for her recruitment, but is for Ernest's. It's easily missed because you have no reason to go back after leaving the village at the beginning of the game.
- Let's be honest - nobody discovered the second Link Stock in the Cave of Trials without a guide. How do you get it? Stand in between two statues and press X. The kicker - there's no item on the ground.
- Opera and Precis' most powerful Killer Moves (three each) can only be learned by doing the Machinery Skill with those characters, and even then, there's no assurance that you'll be able to get them within a reasonable timeframe. Additionally, most guides either have incorrect information (or none at all) regarding this, despite several of them pointing to Opera's Healing Star KM (which is obtained in this way) as being the best to use during the fight with the Iselia Queen and the Bonus Boss.
Star Ocean: Till The End of Time
- The list of 300 "Battle Trophies" that the player must acquire by completing certain tasks in battle. If some of them are instinctive and/or will be earned sooner or later anyway (doing a certain number of battles, for example), others will require you to beat the final boss with a party of level 1 characters, or to stay in battle for 2 whole hours.
- The best weapons in the game (without using the nonsensical crafting system, itself another example of this) and access to the bonus dungeon (that only unlocks after beating the game once) can only be found by going into a house you never need to enter otherwise, and giving two people directions to the previous town. This happens very early on in the game, and once missed they are lost permanently. Then, you have to do it twice more, and if you give them the wrong directions, guess what? No weapons for you.
- Speaking of the Crafting System, it's a huge example of this since the game only gives you the basics of how it works. It doesn't tell you that each item only crafts if the project cost is at a certain ranges. Said project costs is randomized each time so you have to go in and out of crafting to get the right price and hope to god you have enough skill to get the item before you run out of money. Several of the master craftsman are well hidden and can be missed.
- Due to either programming oversight or lazy writing, several hints about where to go unintentionally became this. NPC's would often give the worst directions possible when telling you where to go next. One female NPC tells the player to go "past the pointy rock", when ever rock is pointy due to the low polygon count!
Star Ocean: The Last Hope
- The game is loaded with sidequests and extras, including many things that are possible to be lost forever, short of starting a New Game+. Missing even one can screw you up when trying to complete a particular quest. A number of others aren't technically missable, but can be near impossible to figure out without a guide. Additionally, the game provides no record of items you've created, or quests that you've completed, only ones that you haven't yet finished. The PlayStation 3 version, The Last Hope International, is notorious for being one of the most difficult PlayStation 3 titles ever to achieve a Platinum Trophy for, with a rating of 5704 Difficult Points "Extreme" on the site PSN Trophy Leaders and a completion rate of only 434 out of 20,324 players (2.1%).