June 04, 2000


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Role-Playing Game
Special Features:
2 Playable Characters; 86 Possible Endings; 3 Combat Options; Over 800 Items; Private Actions; Dual Shock & Analog Compatible
Created by:
Published by:
Sony Computer Entertainment America
Bottom Line:

Current Media

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Archived Media


Andy, The Game Hombre
Concept: 7
Graphics: 9
Sound: 8.75
Playability: 7
Entertainment: .5
"Star Ocean is one of those games that falls into the category of great, except that it's just too exasperating to play. Which is a shame because this game shines in many areas. For example, I love the voice-overs during combat - there's nothing better than annoyingly funny sayings screamed out during battle conversations. Then there are the dramatic camera angles, the great surround-sound tunes, and the incredibly quick load times; but all of this greatness is for naught, as there is too much extraneous text causing excruciating pauses in the action. This game is fantastic in theory and could easily have been a classic, if it wasn't for its After School Special story and irritating characters. Great game, but I hate the story."

Paul, The Game Professor
Concept: 9.5
Graphics: 9
Sound: 9
Playability: 8
Entertainment: 9
"Although I didn't even know about a first story, Star Ocean's second story is monumental. This game is huge and is filled with new concepts in battle and character development. The combat reminds me of a mini version of Dragon Force, and there is the option to control the battle or just watch. Building a character is really entertaining because there is just an overwhelming amount of options. The entire skills development and item creation can consume many hours by itself. That's a good change of pace, because the actual adventure moves pretty slow. That's really the only fault of Star Ocean - the text and story are painfully slow. This is a really hardcore RPG and I only recommend it to those up to the challenge."

Reiner, The Raging Gamer
Concept: 6.5
Graphics: 7.75
Sound: 7
Playability: 6.75
Entertainment: 6.75
"Star Ocean's introductory sequence showcases advanced civilizations, wonderful technologies, gigantic space stations, and an underlying Star Trek-esque theme. To be quite frank, it gave me goosebumps. But then the game started, and all of this intriguing science fiction was stripped away as my character slid into an alternate dimension of rehashed fantasy concepts. An hour into the quest, Star Ocean reminded me of Beyond the Beyond. It's slow...really slow. This is the kind of RPG that traps you in towns and forces you to digest hours of text. The combat is also mostly unrewarding; however, if you take the time to get into this RPG, you'll see that it's actually quite deep. With 80+ endings, and a ton of secrets to find, this RPG will keep you playing on."

Star Ocean: The Second Story

This Time, It's Personal!

June 01, 1999

Not since the Dragon Warrior series for NES have we had the pleasure of an Enix produced role-playing game finding release in the United States. Thanks to Sony and Star Ocean The Second Story's unprecedented depth, Enix may soon be telling North America, "don't call it a comeback."

Right out of the starting gate, players get a choice that will affect the story for the entire game - to play Claude, a young buck from another planet, or Rena, an attractive mage in search of her origins. Both will meet one another and decide to stop the malignant Sorcery Globe from screwing up the planet Expel.

As with any other RPG, combat is a big part of this game. Star Ocean lets up to four of your party members engage in a fray. You control the protagonist, while the rest act as you've directed by selecting tactics (use all magic points, stand and guard, etc.) and formation. For yourself, three combat options are available: Standard, Semi-Active, and Full Active. Deciding between these, you can run around a real-time battlefield, using feints and sneak attacks, or have a traditional turn-based affair.

As characters go up levels, they not only acquire hit points, magic points, new combat moves, and spells, but also skill points. Various guilds will teach skills that range from the handy (Strong Blow) to the esoteric (Functionality). Skill points can be used to raise these abilities. When a character attains a certain combination of skill levels, she or he learns a specialty. These can be used to turn junk into items worth having. Alchemy can turn iron to gold, while a cooking specialty turns ordinary meat into a delectable baby rabbit risotto.

As you travel, you'll find more characters willing to join you in your quest. There is no guarantee, however, that all these personalities will get along. All party members have a hidden "emotional level" score that measures their feelings for all others. Not only do emotional levels determine which of the 86 different endings you'll see, but also how well your group performs in combat. For example, if Claude loves Rena and sees her fall in battle, he'll go nuts and immediately attack the monster that killed her, doing double damage.

Emotional levels are built up partly by fighting together, but mostly through Private Actions. Whenever your quest takes you near a village, you may decide to split up and see the town on your own. Depending on which characters are in the group and what you've accomplished so far, meeting party members in town may elicit a plot interlude. The answers you give will cause large fluctuations in participating characters' emotional levels (see page 70 for GI's fabulous Private Action PTP).

With all the options, alternatives, and turns Star Ocean has, it is one of the rare RPGs that is playable more than once. However, this raises the question, is it worth playing in the first place?

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