Star Ocean The Second Story R brings classic RPG action to PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 on November 2. This is a complete remake of the role-playing game Star Ocean the Second Story (SO2), which was released for the original PlayStation in 1998 to critical acclaim. its Dual Protagonist system, 3D combat, deep skill systems, Private Actions, multiple endings and much more.
In this new version, the game’s visuals and gameplay have been further refined, maintaining the excitement and charm of the original release, complete with beloved 2D pixel characters roaming the stunning 3D fields and dungeons. The exciting real-time action combat system is designed to be easy for anyone to learn and is enhanced with new additional features.
I had the opportunity to play the PS5 version of the game before the Tokyo Game Show 2023.
An epic new version of the beloved role-playing game after 25 years
For the hands-on preview, we were able to experience exploration and combat in the Lasgus Mountains and Hoffman Ruins. What interested me most was how the 2D pixel characters and the 3D environment/dungeons merged.
Before playing, I imagined it would be strange to see 2D pixel characters wandering around in a high-resolution 3D environment, rendered with the latest graphics technology. However, I was surprised that it felt much more natural than I expected. Character lighting changes depending on the situation and environment, such as the difference between the brightest and darkest areas, so that the characters don’t look out of place.
For those who played the original PS version of SO2 or the PSP version of Star Ocean Second Evolution, the familiar pixel characters may bring back memories and nostalgia. We only got to experience the Lasgus Mountains and Hoffman Ruins this time around, but we’re excited to explore the bustling cities and lush green fields in the full version of the game.
The new smash and grab action features exciting and eye-catching combat.
The basic controls for combat were: Circle button for normal attack; X button to go back; Triangle button to open the battle menu; Square button to change orders; L1/R1 side buttons to activate techniques; L2 trigger + left analog stick to switch targets; R2 trigger + left analog stick to switch control characters; and the d-pad for the new Assault Action feature.
In this game, battles begin when players encounter enemies in the overworld or dungeons. The controls are quite simple: the player launches a series of normal attacks by pressing the circle button and activates special moves or symbols by pressing the L1 and R1 buttons. Allies you are not currently controlling will automatically move based on your strategy.
Most of these elements are familiar to those who have played the original SO2. Still, Star Ocean The Second Story R has evolved to feature more strategic and dynamic battles with a variety of new additions.
If you step back at the right time with the X button when the enemy attacks, a flashy lightning effect will occur. You will then automatically evade the attack and move behind the enemy and have the opportunity to land a hit. If you succeed, your MP will be restored, making it easier to use your skills. When it is the enemy’s turn to attack, there are warning signs, such as his body beginning to glow red. If you don’t lose them, this maneuver is relatively easy to perform.
Additionally, enemies now have a shield value, and when this gauge is broken by an attack, enemies stop in their tracks. While enemies are temporarily incapacitated, the amount of damage dealt increases, giving you the opportunity to attack immediately and deal massive damage. Each character possesses several abilities, and Claude, the main protagonist of the demo, uses the Head Splitter ability, which is effective at breaking enemy shields. Throughout the game, the main tactic will be to use the character’s abilities to activate the Break function. When the leader of an enemy group breaks, other enemies will chain break. It’s exciting to see the word “Break” appear on the screen one after another, combined with eye-catching effects.
Another key element of combat is the new Assault Action feature. Although only four battle members can participate in a battle, Assault Action also draws in other allies to attack. In the lower left corner of the screen, an assault gauge corresponds to non-active characters, which increases as time passes. When the gauge fills, pressing the corresponding directional key activates the assault action. This will be useful in a variety of situations, such as when you’re hitting an enemy whose shield has been broken, or when you’re in a pinch when your character has been incapacitated and you need help. The assault gauge fills up faster than you might expect, so you’ll want to take advantage of it as much as possible.
The already delicious combat of the original SO2 is improved with new mechanics and strategic components in this new version. However, if you’re not careful, one of your characters could be attacked and killed instantly. It’s always a good idea to pay attention to the health of your party members, distance from enemies, and standing position. Explosive combat and simple controls are important elements that define this game.
The effects and animations of the different skills have also been renewed, making them even more spectacular. The clever new effects are sure to liven up the battles even more. It’s also good to know that Symbology skill animations, such as Shadow Flare, can now be skipped with the Options button.
I can’t wait to go on an adventure in the ocean of stars and take my time to enjoy the impressive, exciting and fast-paced battles accessible to players of all levels. Star Ocean The Second Story R arrives on PS5 and PS4 on November 2.