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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Episode 15: Star Ocean: The Second Story—Four Score and Seven Hundred Million Years Ago

Episode 15: Star Ocean: The Second Story—Four Score and Seven Hundred Million Years Ago

Platform: Original: PlayStation. Remake: PSP.

Release Date: 
Original: Japan 7/30/1998, NA 5/31/1999, EU 4/12/2000.
PSP: Japan 4/2/2009, NA 1/19/2009, AU 2/12/2009, EU 2/13/2009.

Difficulty: Easy the first play through, adjustable on any new playthroughs.

Pricing: $29.99 on Amazon (PSP)

Terra’s Review
Allen, why do you want to marry someone who looks like she’s twelve?

The Good
  • Good character development for Claude and Rena, with Claude figuring out what he wants to do with his life and Rena searching for the truth about her background and why she’s different from everyone else on Expel. The development for the other party members can be hit or miss—especially for the characters you get later in the game—but some of them, such as Celine, Ashton, and Dias, have side stories of their own.
  • High replay value: You get the option of having Claude or Rena as your player character and there are eleven other characters that you can pick and choose from to make up the rest of your party. While the main storyline doesn’t change, choosing Claude or Rena gives you more insight into their character arcs and different combinations of party members will mean different private actions and scenes in towns.
  • Gameplay mechanics include a solid action based battle system and the crafting abilities that the Star Ocean games are known for.

The Bad
  • Some of the time frames in this game are ridiculous, even for a JRPG. I’m pretty good at suspending my disbelief—I have played Star Ocean: Till the End of Time—but the backstory given for Energy Nede stretches belief to the breaking point. 700 million years? 3.7 billion years? Really? And the Nedian civilization has apparently barely changed in that time period? Those are nonsense numbers.
  • Just like in the remake of Star Ocean: First Depature, spell animations take forever in battle and there’s nothing you can do but sit there and watch.

The Ugly
  • The bonus dungeon. It’s full of some mean, mean creatures.
  • Celine’s floating shower curtain cape thing.

You may have killed me a million times, but at least I can say “Star Flare!” without lisping!

The lowdown:  A solid entry in the Star Ocean series and well worth playing if you’ve enjoyed the other games. The main storyline can stretch belief to the breaking point, but the characters make the game worth playing.

Music Credits

RPG Roundup Theme Song: "Video Game Theme," J. Arthur Keenes Band. Creative Commons Attribution License.
Star Ocean Second Departure Arranged Soundtrack 

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