Maybe not much people know about a company named tri-Ace. Only gamer knows it, and specifically only certain kind of gamer knows about that. Formed in 1995, tri-Ace became a well-known Japanese video game development company. Since its debut until now, tri-Ace has developed a lot RPG which was known for its interactive and amazing battle system.
Star Ocean series and Valkyrie Profile series are two of the famous tri-Ace creations. The famous composer, Motoi Sakuraba is also part of the company. As a game developer specialized in making RPG with great combat, there are more than 20 titles that have been created by the company. And among them all, there are the best of the best. Here are the top 7 tri-Ace masterpieces that you should know.
7. Star Ocean: The Last Hope
Star Ocean: The Last Hope is the fourth installment of the main Star Ocean series. Released for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, this game features the active battle system that Star Ocean series known for, but this time more team-oriented than the prior games. The game starred Edge and Reimi as the main protagonists, along with their friends trying to save humankind from the brink of destruction.
As usual, the main attraction is the battle system where we can switch between the four party members that are used in battle. The international version of the game has been published by Square Enix with the title Star Ocean: The Last Hope International, and released for PlayStation 3 exclusive. This game successfully represents the interesting sci-fi RPG which is popular in recent years.
6. Infinite Undiscovery
Infinite Undiscovery is an action-RPG developed by tri-Ace and published by Square Enix exclusive for Xbox 360. The story is about the main protagonist named Capell who begins a journey to sever the chains that are holding the moon. In the process, the team will be supported the group called Liberation Forces.
The main attraction of this game is the real-time decision gameplay that will affect the outcome of the story. As usual, the player will control the main character while the other three are controlled by AI. The party will fights with the team of four, and sometimes in larger groups formed from 18 possible characters. The battle system is similar to what has been used in Final Fantasy XIII.
5. Resonance of Fate
Resonance of Fate is another RPG developed by tri-Ace and published by Sega for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Released in 2010, this game delivers fast-pace strategic combat involving different firearms and combination moves of the three playable character. Resonance of Fate is set in a steampunk environment where the main character is trying to fight the ruling Cardinal causing crisis.
Like most of tri-Ace’s creations, the selling point in this game is the battle system. It unifies turn-based and real-time combat in a good way. Even the equipment system and leveling system is somewhat complex that it might turn off some excitement like when you play standard RPG. Just like Infinite Undiscovery, this game has brought the turn-based battle into a higher level of innovation.
4. Star Ocean: Till the End of Time
Star Ocean: Till the End of Time is the third installment of the Star Ocean main series. Developed by tri-Ace and published by Square Enix, this game was released in 2003 for PlayStation 2 system. Regarding the series’ timeline, this game takes place four hundred years after Star Ocean: The Second Story. This game introduces Fayt Leingod, a college student whom later bears the burden to save the world.
Star Ocean: Till the End of Time could be one of the tri-Ace series that has the best battle system; extending the limits of standard turn-based and action battle system. The combat system is much more similar to the system used in Rogue Galaxy, where it almost nullifies the system other than active battle system completely. Most of the system in-game is remarkably deep, but still fun to be played.
3. Radiata Stories
Radiata Stories is an action-RPG created by tri-Ace and published by Square Enix in 2005, exclusively for PlayStation 2. Radiata Stories has a good gameplay and plot,but its popularity might not exceed those like Final Fantasy series or Kingdom Hearts series at the same generation. Radiata Stories delivers a comedic and exciting adventure of Jack Russel, the main protagonist who follows his father’s footsteps.
Being placed in the top three, this game has the reason for that position. Some people consider it an anomaly in tri-Ace creations with the overwhelming dynamic world and open layout. Although this game has simpler combat system than other tri-Ace products, Radiata Stories comes out with over hundred recruitable NPC, all with their own daily activities divided by day and night system.
2. Star Ocean: The Second Story
Star Ocean: The Second Story is the second installment of the Star Ocean series made for PlayStation in 1998. Although it has been re-ported in some platform, this amazing game started its debut in the simple console such as PlayStation. This game gives the player a choice to play in Claude Kenni or Rena Lanford’s scenario (the two main protagonists) with all its consequences to the story in-game.
This game gives different sensation in playing RPG where you choose which character’s scenario you will play on; resulting in different possibility of recruitable characters. Star Ocean: The Second Story has the real-time combat system that tri-Ace is famous for, and making it as a pioneer of the modern RPG’s real-time battle system. This game is one of tri-Ace’s most critical and commercial successes.
(This game also has another title: “Star Ocean: Second Evolution” for the PSP remake).
1. Valkyrie Profile
The top of the list goes to Valkyrie Profile, which is also the first of the Valkyrie Profile series that released in 1999 for PlayStation. The story involves a war between gods, Aesir and Vanir. To win the war called Ragnarok, Lenneth Valkyrie must recruit fallen human warriors to help in the fight against Vanir. A prequel and second prequel were produced later after the success of Valkyrie Profile.
As usual, the combat system of tri-Ace’s product is the main selling point. This Norse mythology-based game is able to deliver a complex and unique system, with the traditional turn-based battle. While some thinks that the traditional battle system is its weakness, most of the players who have tried this game are agreed to consider this game as the best of the best in gameplay, plot, and characters.
(An enhanced-port of this game was released in PSP as Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth).
The top three of the list apparently are occupied by the classic console games in PlayStation and PlayStation 2. It means that the limitation of classic console can’t limit the excellent systems that the game provides. If I have to choose, I will choose Valkyrie Profile as my favorite. Although the later generations surpassed the graphics quality, it is still irreplaceable in term of gameplay and plot.
What about you, which one is your favorite tri-Ace masterpieces? Do you have another suggestion? Please share your thoughts below.