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Star Ocean: The Second Story (PlayStation) artwork

Star Ocean: The Second Story (PlayStation) review


"You only control one of your characters at a time, although you can switch when you want to. Different attacks are assigned to different buttons, and you can press triangle (I think it is) to enter a menu where you can choose to use and item, or pick the tactics that you want your party members to use."



Introduction:

Enix is a pretty big name in videogames--especially when it comes to RPG's. Like the dragon warrior games for Snes... And Star Ocean 2 is completely up to par. I had heard great things about this game, and when I finally bought it, my expectations were VERY high, and Star Ocean 2 ALMOST lived up to them. But don't get me wrong, its still a great game! And I'll tell you why.

Pros:

+ First of all, the graphics are pretty nice in this game. With some good looking pre-rendered backgrounds, and some sprite characters. Mixed in with some quality FMV, things look good. Nothing really new when it comes to graphics, but still quite good. Some cool battle effects, but again, nothing really new or breathtaking--just quality stuff. I'd say the graphics are a plus.

+ Secondly, the sound is also very good in this game. Probably as good as any music you'll find it most Square games, or any other good RPG. Good battle music, that isn't too annoying. The only real problem I see with sound here is the HORRIBLY annoying and painfully laughable voice-acting found in battles. Like your main character going ''Unexpectadly Weak!'', or ''I don't think we can do this'', it's really stupid. That's the only real problem I found with the sound--everything else is great.

+ The gameplay in this is really unique. You can create your own weapons and items from materials. And there's the skill system... It's a really cool system where your characters learn skills. From cooking to...you name it! The skills affect the way your characters act, and their actions--they come in handy sometimes. There's also the ultra-non linear exploration system. There are a lot of characters, and you basically choose which ones who you want to join you. You can choose what order you go places, and depending on what characters you choose, the game happens differently. I think there are around 80 different endings. The gameplay is definitely innovative.

+ The storyline in this game is really cool. It's quite complex, and involves something called the ''sorcery orb''? What exactly is the sorcery orb? What does your main character have to do with it? I really like the storyline.

+ The ability to choose 2 characters. This game has two playable lead characters, and while you'll use both of these characters no matter which one you choose, it affects the events of the game.

Cons:

- I really didn't like the battle system. It's in realtime, so you can run around. You only control one of your characters at a time, although you can switch when you want to. Different attacks are assigned to different buttons, and you can press triangle (I think it is) to enter a menu where you can choose to use and item, or pick the tactics that you want your party members to use. It isn't turn based, and you basically just select which enemy you want to attack, and push the attack button you want to use, and the character you're controlling at that time just runs over and executes it. The battle system, to me, was just overly confusing, and wasn't very easy to use.

- This game is pretty slow at the beginning, so lots of people might actually get bored with it, and stop playing it. I did this for a while, then eventually started playing again. It's always not clear as to telling you exactly what to do. Which isn't always a bad thing...

Conclusion:

Star Ocean 2 has lots of pros, and not many cons. But it still has its flaws, and one of the flaws is the battle system. If the battle system weren't so faulty, and easier to use, I'd give this game a 9, but since battle systems are a very big part of RPG's--to me anyway--I'll give it considerably lower--though the graphics, sound, and extremely innovative gameplay do score points with me. If you like RPG's, or just good games in general, I suggest you get this game. It didn't live completely up to my expectations, but is a good game nonetheless.

Rating: 7.0/10

ender's avatar
Staff review by James Gordon (Date unavailable)

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