The Affection Rating (感情値, Kanjō-chi?, lit. Emotional Value) system, shortened to AR, is a recurring feature in the Star Ocean series, which dictates the relationship values between the characters. The ratings can be raised or lowered depending on the player's actions and Private Actions viewed.
In some cases, if a character has a significant AR with another character, he or she will become angered when the character they have high AR for falls in battle. The system also determines which of several endings the player gets. There is no way to check AR values in-game, however, since there is no "right" or "wrong" story path according to the developers.
Affection Ratings are linear and fairly easy to build up. Fighting bosses as a party increases each active member's AR by 1 point.
Some Specialties affect AR values. Pickpocketing people in towns outside of PA mode can randomly cause one party member to lose 1 point toward another random party member. Likewise, when in PA mode, if the player fails to pickpocket a party member, they may lose 1 point toward Roddick. Contraband has a 50% chance to cause one party member to lose 1 point toward another random party member. Publication allows each character to publish a book which, when read by a party member, will set the AR value for the author to 8.
If any of the "optional" party members (Cyuss, Ashlay, Ioshua, Mavelle, Erys, T'nique, Pericci, Phia, Welch) have a high AR toward Roddick, they will say something to Roddick before returning through the Time Gate at the end. If Cyuss has a high enough AR, he will challenge Roddick to a last duel, and winning or losing changes nothing except the dialog. Ilia + Roddick get an ending, if they have 9+ AR toward each other and the AR between Ronyx, Ilia, and Millie has decreased. If all party members (Ilia, Ronyx, Millie, and the optional characters recruited) have 9+ AR toward Roddick, a special epilogue can be seen after the credits; Roddick does not need 9+ AR toward them, though.
Affection Ratings are slighly more complex, comprising of both Friendship Points (友情値?) and Romance Points (愛情値?), and there are around eighty endings—including Welch's in the remake. Once again, Pickpocketing and Contraband lower AR between party members, but only a select few boss fights raise AR towards members in the active party, including the final boss. Publishing/Publication now produces two books for each character instead of one: each one sets the reader's FP or RP towards the author to 8.
Certain story events may raise AR between party members. For example, when Leon temporarily joins the party, all same-gender characters gain FP toward each other while RP is accumulated between all different-gender characters.
Characters need 10+ AR toward another character and vice versa to get a paired ending. For same gender paired endings, FP is considered only; for different-gender paired endings, only RP is considered. Any ties are broken based on a "priority" list that goes as follows from "greatest" to "least" priority: Claude, Rena, Celine, Bowman, Dias, Precis, Ashton, Leon, Opera, Ernest, Noel, Chisato, and Welch.
The initial AR values (listed as « Friendship Points / Romance Points ») are the following:
|Claude||--||6 / 7||5 / 5||5 / 4||5 / 5||5 / 5||6 / 4||5 / 4||6 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5|
|Rena||7 / 6||--||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 4||5 / 5||7 / 6||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5|
|Celine||5 / 5||5 / 5||--||5 / 4||4 / 3||5 / 5||4 / 3||5 / 4||5 / 5||5 / 7||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5|
|Ashton||4 / 4||5 / 4||4 / 4||--||5 / 7||5 / 5||5 / 4||5 / 5||--||--||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5|
|Precis||7 / 6||7 / 6||6 / 5||5 / 5||--||--||5 / 5||6 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||6 / 5||5 / 5||7 / 5|
|Bowman||5 / 5||6 / 5||6 / 5||5 / 5||--||--||5 / 5||5 / 5||6 / 5||5 / 5||6 / 5||6 / 5||5 / 5|
|Dias||5 / 5||7 / 5||4 / 4||4 / 4||4 / 4||4 / 4||--||--||4 / 4||4 / 4||4 / 4||4 / 4||5 / 5|
|Leon||6 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 4||6 / 5||5 / 5||--||--||5 / 4||4 / 4||6 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5|
|Opera||6 / 5||4 / 4||5 / 4||--||5 / 4||5 / 4||5 / 4||5 / 5||--||7 / 8||5 / 4||5 / 5||5 / 5|
|Ernest||6 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 6||--||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 7||--||6 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5|
|Noel||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||6 / 6||5 / 5||6 / 5||--||5 / 5||5 / 5|
|Chisato||6 / 6||5 / 5||5 / 5||6 / 5||6 / 5||5 / 5||4 / 4||5 / 5||6 / 5||6 / 5||5 / 5||--||5 / 5|
|Welch||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||--|
Certain storyline choices and all Private Actions raise or lower everyone's AR values, including characters the player has not obtained yet. The only paired endings involve Fayt, which requires that he have 20+ AR toward any character while the character in question requires 50+ AR toward Fayt. If Fayt does not meet the requirements to get a paired ending, he gets a solo ending.
The initial AR values are the following:
Pickpocketing has a 20-30% chance of reducing a random party member's Affection Ratings toward Edge, but, unlike First Departure and Second Evolution, there is no way to avoid this.
Each character has an ending of their own, and there is only one "paired" ending, in which Edge ends up with Reimi. However, they can be viewed only if each character has sufficient affection points toward Edge. There is a hidden ending for Crowe, which requires viewing Reimi's, Meracle's, and Sarah's endings and to have participated in four specific PAs. Another secret ending, the one involving Faize, requires the player to see eight specific PAs.
Affection is gained by viewing Private Actions for each character throughout the world.
There are seven endings. Only one of five endings will play for the character who has the highest affection for Fidel. An additional ending plays if Relia has sufficient affection for Fidel and a variation of that ending plays if Miki is the one with the highest affection for Fidel.
Affection Ratings were adapted into the Friendship (友好度, Yūkōdo?) system implemented in the second episode, -Twin Eclipse-. Through it, the captain can earn the affection of all non-collaboration 4-5☆ base characters. There are four affection levels: 'Normal' (普通?) → 'Interested' (興味?) → 'Friends' (友達?) → 'Like' (好き?). Affection is shared across all variants of a unit. For example, if the players earns Winter Evelysse's affection, it will count for all variants of Evelysse, and as such, the bonuses will be shared across all her variants owned by the player.
Affection level can be slightly increased by using a given unit as a party member in battles, and the amount increased is proportional to the stamina consumed for the mission—the higher the cost, the greater the affection gain. The points obtained this way are equally distributed among the party. However, if there are two variants of the same character, they are treated as one. Furthermore, Interactive Mode (会話モード, Kaiwa Mōdo?) allows the player to increase affinity by tapping on a set character on the Bridge screen. There is a daily limit to the number of times that Friendship level rises with taps, which is shared among all characters. (Taps on characters with maxed affection have no effect and do not consume daily tries either.) Interactive Mode also allows the player to Gift (おくりもの?) special affinity-raising items to a character. They can be obtained via events.
Increasing affinity with units will grant them new dialogue options in Interactive Mode, a higher chance at proccing a Rush Combo Assist, and to give various reward items. At Interested, they give S. Limit Breaker x5; at Friends, they reward Jewel x1, which can be sold for FOL; at Like, one may receive L. Limit Breaker x1, or AP Starseed x1 and Jewel x5.
Added benefits to reaching the 'Like' affection level are:
- Characters will have a pink friendship indicator displayed on their icons or their character frame on their details screen.
- Their maximum AP increases by 1.
- The character may give a present at login.
- The number of item drops from timed event missions increases by 1. It happens only once per day for each character, with a maximum of three times even when the player switches units. It requires the 'Like' character to be set as the leader.
- The player can recover stamina from the GET button on the home screen, which only shows up when there is at least one character with maxed affection. It can be clicked once every day and it gives stamina according to how many 'Like' characters one has.