Star Ocean: the Second Story R (Switch)

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Jonasbrother
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Joined: July 5th, 2023, 5:05 pm

Star Ocean: the Second Story R (Switch)

Postby Jonasbrother » February 3rd, 2024, 4:08 am

My grade: B-

This game brought me so much pain to review. Star Ocean: the Second Story R hits the ground running and firing on all cylinders, but stumbles its way clumsily to the finish line.

Star Ocean: The Second Story R is the second of the Star Ocean series but you need no knowledge of the prior entries to play this - partially because the game does a good job of keeping its own self contained plot, and partially because the games plot is so nonsensical you’ll quickly lose track of just what the heck is going on if you aren’t taking notes. Its story reminds me of modern animated films in that if you really scrutinized and picked apart critically what happened beginning to end, I’m positive you could find some holes in the plot SOMEWHERE. What saves the experience from this fact is the game’s excellent artwork, voice acting, characters and dialogue. The whole purpose of the story takes a backseat to the interactions between various characters you meet along the way.

Starting your journey, you can pick the golden boy Claude Kenny, a space captain promoted through nepotism, or Rena, a girl with little connections to technology or earth. Claude gets trapped in Rena’s world and separated from his human crew, and essentially the game becomes a love story between Rena and Claude. Combat sequences are encounter based and combine beat ‘em up style gameplay with RPG elements. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea but it is unique and I personally found it to be compelling. Battle sequences tend to be intense and chaotic with a lot going on at once.

Star Ocean: the second story R features optional skills and jobs for your heroes to learn, but you won’t really start getting the ball rolling with them until well into the game. I’m not illiterate when it comes to RPGs and I found certain features difficult to understand even with the built in explanations given within the game’s guide. I can’t cite any specific examples, but basically, the game isn’t always consistent with the language it uses to describe certain features, which is confusing. (Maybe the translators weren’t on the same page— how did that get past QA?)

If I was basing this review off the first half of the game, I’d probably give it an A+. Its first act is excellent - the music is wonderful, and you feel totally dragged into this world with Claude and Rena. Then slowly, the magic it built dies. I can’t explain it, but the story just meanders on and loses focus, manufacturing ways to extend itself. After 30 hours the combat sequences will stop feeling original and start getting repetitive. You’ll dread how much time you spend navigating menus to make sure you’re delegating experience points efficiently.

This game is so stuck up its own behind it’s not even funny. It feels no need to explain itself, and its features and combat system are so complex, you’ll often lose track of what’s going on. Then, after limping through the last ten hours of the game well after It was still fun and novel, I found out something completely frustrating. I wasn’t vigilant enough to leave every stone unturned, and because didn’t talk to a random NPC in a random town halfway through the game, I discovered I couldn’t unlock the true final boss and had to settle for a basic ending. Without a guide, how was I supposed to know that??!! There’s no ability to go back, nothing?! My goodness. That is horrendous and inexcusable!! I have no respect for this concept whatsoever.

The experience concludes after the player defeats the Ten wise men who want to destroy the universe (who are all over the top and may as well be power rangers) and we finish the story finding out that Rena is pregnant with Claude’s baby. WHAT??? We never even got to see them kiss or hold hands THE ENTIRE GAME but now there’s a baby? Who the heck wrote this??? I feel like the story designers skipped some steps there. I guess romance truly is dead. There are supposedly something like 90 different endings based on in-game decisions but I found one play through to be quite enough for me.

A great example of a game that does too much for its own good, I can only recommend Star Ocean: The Second Story R to the most dedicated JRPG and Square Enix Fans. Even on its easy difficulty, you will lose and get stuck often without much patience. Bloated to the brim with unnecessary features and a story and combat system you’ll need a PHD to fully ascertain, Star Ocean: The Second Story R weakens what might’ve been a home-run experience by adding in so many levels of complexity that figuring out an optimal approach for the game becomes obfuscated.
Last edited by Jonasbrother on February 7th, 2024, 1:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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VideoGameCritic
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Re: Star Ocean: the Second Story R (Switch)

Postby VideoGameCritic » February 3rd, 2024, 10:02 am

Thanks for taking the time to write this extensive review! I like all the personal touches, which separate something like this from a generic/ChatGPT review.

Did you play the original game? What platform was that one for? The "Star Ocean" name seems familiar...

Jonasbrother
Posts: 41
Joined: July 5th, 2023, 5:05 pm

Re: Star Ocean: the Second Story R (Switch)

Postby Jonasbrother » February 3rd, 2024, 2:36 pm

VideoGameCritic wrote:Thanks for taking the time to write this extensive review! I like all the personal touches, which separate something like this from a generic/ChatGPT review.

Did you play the original game? What platform was that one for? The "Star Ocean" name seems familiar...


I have not played the original game as it was a playstation 1 exclusive and we were a Nintendo house growing up. My mom would never let me have the console that had GTA on it. I only got to play PlayStation in secret at friends houses.

MaverickMoPete
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Joined: December 3rd, 2023, 6:18 pm

Re: Star Ocean: the Second Story R (Switch)

Postby MaverickMoPete » February 3rd, 2024, 10:00 pm

Star Ocean is an Enix (later Square Enix) RPG Franchise with a number of games to it.

In order:

Star Ocean (1996, SNES, Japan Only)
Star Ocean: The Second Story (1998, PS1)
Star Ocean: Blue Sphere (2001, GBC, Japan Only)
Star Ocean: Till The End Of Time (2003, PS2)
Star Ocean: First Departure (2007, PSP Remake of Star Ocean)
Star Ocean: Second Evolution (2008, PSP Remake of Star Ocean: The Second Story)
Star Ocean: The Last Hope (2009, Xbox 360/PS3)
Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness (2016, PS3/PS4)
Star Ocean: Divine Force (2022, PS4/PS5/XB1/XBXS/PC)

There's a few more, but they're spinoffs/remakes.

Jonasbrother
Posts: 41
Joined: July 5th, 2023, 5:05 pm

Re: Star Ocean: the Second Story R (Switch)

Postby Jonasbrother » February 3rd, 2024, 11:42 pm

MaverickMoPete wrote:Star Ocean is an Enix (later Square Enix) RPG Franchise with a number of games to it.

In order:

Star Ocean (1996, SNES, Japan Only)
Star Ocean: The Second Story (1998, PS1)
Star Ocean: Blue Sphere (2001, GBC, Japan Only)
Star Ocean: Till The End Of Time (2003, PS2)
Star Ocean: First Departure (2007, PSP Remake of Star Ocean)
Star Ocean: Second Evolution (2008, PSP Remake of Star Ocean: The Second Story)
Star Ocean: The Last Hope (2009, Xbox 360/PS3)
Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness (2016, PS3/PS4)
Star Ocean: Divine Force (2022, PS4/PS5/XB1/XBXS/PC)

There's a few more, but they're spinoffs/remakes.


I can understand why these games often didn’t leave Japan. Final Fantasy isn’t everyone’s type of game and this series is like final fantasy on steroids from what I’ve seen of it so far.


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