The nostalgia surrounding this gem of Japanese RPGs has been revitalized with an extraordinary remake, Star Ocean: The Second Story R. This careful and meticulous reinterpretation of the Tri-Ace and Square Enix classic, brought to platforms like PS5, Switch, PS4, and PC, masterfully merges the essence of the original with modern refinements and improvements.
This remake is a renewed legacy that refreshes the visual and auditory experience of the original classic, in addition to introducing strategic changes in the gameplay mechanics. The decision to adopt the HD-2D technique for this re-release is not just a mere aesthetic gesture; it’s a tribute to the greatness of a game that marked a significant step in the evolution of JRPGs.
Star Ocean: The Second Story R unfolds a fascinating plot that remains true to the original, which begins with Claude C. Kenny’s arrival on an unknown planet after being accidentally teleported while exploring. This world, Expel, is home to Rena Lanford, who lives in a village with technology inferior to what Claude is accustomed to. The story is triggered by the fall of a meteorite, uncontrolled natural events, and monsters that intensify their appearance. Claude, mistaken for a hero from local legends, is immersed in an epic narrative that unites his destiny with Rena’s.
The option to choose between Claude and Rena at the beginning, although their paths soon intertwine, provides a narrative freshness that combines elements of science fiction with references to Japanese mythology, being one of the unforgettable aspects that defined the game’s greatness. Each offers a unique perspective, expanding the plot and offering multiple endings that invite players to explore every facet of the story.
The real-time combat system is one of the highlights of the game. It offers a dynamic that moves away from static commands, a feature that attracts those looking for a more active experience. Players can switch between characters and execute unique skills, expanding possible strategies during battles.
The item creation system and specialties, along with guild missions, expand the gameplay. It offers a variety of paths to improve the skills and effectiveness of the characters, encouraging exploration and experimentation within the game.
These gameplay mechanics, combined with the possibility of varying the level of friendship between characters and the freedom to recruit new companions, enrich the experience. The non-linearity of progress invites players to immerse themselves in a living world full of possibilities.
Visually, the HD-2D used in this remake presents a fascinating amalgam of pixelated characters within a three-dimensional environment, providing a depth and visual richness that captivates players. Despite some differences from other titles using this technique, Star Ocean: The Second Story R achieves a harmony between retro style and visual modernity, immersion in a world that exudes charm and life in every corner.
The soundtrack, retouched by the iconic Motoi Sakuraba, and the addition of English and Japanese voices are a treat for the ears. However, the combat, despite the changes, can feel simple at times. Some typical genre tropes might detract from originality, but they are part of the nostalgic charm that characterizes this masterpiece.
In conclusion, Star Ocean: The Second Story R is a celebration of classic role-playing that keeps its essence intact, while dressing up with modern improvements that make it relevant for contemporary players. For those looking to immerse themselves in the rich tradition of JRPGs, this title is a mandatory stop on their journey. It’s an invitation to rediscover a timeless story in a dream world, where classic and modern intertwine in an experience that captivates and excites.
Star Ocean: The Second Story R deserves its place among the greats, renewing its legacy and offering an unforgettable journey through a universe full of wonders and adventures.
1. Fascinating and Flexible Narrative: The captivating plot offers an enriched experience by allowing the choice between two protagonists, Claude and Rena, which triggers multiple endings and perspectives in the story.
2. Dynamic Combat System: The real-time combat, with unique abilities, interruption strategies, and the ability to summon companions for special attacks, adds tactical depth and versatility to battles.
3. Exploration and Freedom: The non-linearity of progress, the possibility of improving skills through item creation and guild missions, along with the variety in character interaction, provides a broad and free gaming experience.
4. Enhanced Aesthetics: The remake offers a renewed visual aesthetic with the HD-2D technique, maintaining the classic essence but updating the graphics to create a vibrant and detailed world.
1. Simplicity in Combat: Despite its strategic aspects, some players may find the combat system relatively simple compared to other RPGs, which could diminish the challenge for certain audiences.
2. Some Genre Tropes: While offering an attractive narrative, the game does not completely escape some common RPG clichés, which could be predictable for some players.