Friday, October 16, 2009

Star Ocean: Second Evolution

Genre: Role Playing Game
General Audience
Platform: Sony Playstation Portable (PSP)
Credits: 2009 Square Enix
Screenshots courtesy of

Star Ocean Second Evolution

Manga and Art Books
Video Games
Music Product Description:
Space Date 366: A young Federation officer finds himself transported to a mystical planet, where he is suddenly anointed as the Hero of Light. He begins a journey to fulfill a prophecy and save a newfound race. Continuing the franchise for Star Ocean fans, this PSP release of the classic RPG delivers the same epic storytelling and dazzling art style. Set 20 years after the events of its predecessor, Star Ocean 2 receives special treatment in its PSP incarnation to further entice gamers to relive the adventure. The title takes the next step with fully animated movies, all-new character designs, extra playable characters, fully voiced dialogue, and more.

A little bit more exciting than it used to be. >>> by skysenshi (02.25.2005)
I must admit, I never got around to finishing Star Ocean: The Second Story on the PSX. I would always stop at Disc 1. Now, this is why I am so loving the PSP. Gaming companies remake/beef up a lot of the games we didn't get around to finish back when we were...oh, younger. This one has smoother, crisper graphics and many of the cut scenes have noticeably changed. The 2D artworks were the biggest aesthetic change of all. I couldn't really say if I liked the change. I think the quality of the 2D versions are at par, except that the newer ones seem more mature and sophisticated than their 1999 counterparts.

The musical scoring doesn't seem to have changed. There's something about the soundtrack that's really distinctive. Like if I heard Valkyrie Profile's background music, I would instantly remember this game. It stuck so hard, I can't even get it off my head -- ten years after the first release.

I also like the fact that they seem to have simplified the game a bit. I remember it having so many features before -- characters can have smithing, cooking, aesthetic skills etc. -- that I didn't know where to allocate my skills points. This time around, distributing skills seem easier. So easy, in fact, that Star Ocean: Second Evolution becomes cheesy halfway through. Not that I'm complaining. I actually wish I could use all 8 of the available party members instead of just using the requisite 4.

I think characters are the defining point of Star Ocean SE, making the game highly replayable. True to the original's flowchart, you can achieve so many endings depending on how you respond to situations, what Private Actions (optional character-driven scenes you can do in towns) you've managed to unlock, how your characters relate to each other in battle and whatnot. There are at least 86-87 endings available.

What I enjoyed most about Star Ocean SE? Definitely the cooking part. I was thoroughly entertained by the many dishes that different ingredient combinations -- ranging from classy to weird -- can come up with. I'd replay this over and over if I didn't have loads of PhD school and office work to do.

COMPLETION TIME: 80 hours on the average
RATINGS: Gameplay 10; Battle 10; Story 10; Visuals 9; Characters 10; Sounds 8; Replay Value 10

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