Square Enix has become known for quite a few RPG series over the years. Two of the major ones were originally tri-Ace titles. The one that has enjoyed the most success of those two is Star Ocean. After all, who wouldn’t love a little bit of space travel mixed with magic and the supernatural? While there have been five installments so far, there is one that stands out among the rest. It’s the sole title every person even remotely interested in the series should play: Star Ocean: The Second Story.
Meet Claude and Rena
Star Ocean: The Second Story’s tale was unique in that it told two stories at once. The avatar you chose influenced the path, party members, and possible endings. Yes, I said “chose.” This is a game where you had an option. You could be Claude, a human on a spaceship that crash lands on a planet or Rena, a young woman who lives on that planet and has some special abilities.
In any case, their destinies are intertwined. Claude is hoping to find a way back home when he gets caught up in the political machinations and mysteries on the planet Expel. Rena is hoping to learn more about herself and her family, while also solving her home’s mysteries and keeping it safe.
Star Ocean Evolved
As one of the more notable entries in the series, Star Ocean: The Second Story has received quite a bit of special treatment. Namely, it received a major remaster that did so much, you would almost wonder if it fell somewhere between a remaster and remake. Star Ocean: Second Evolution ended up being huge. Not only did it bring the PS One game forward to new platforms, it adds new connections to new games and other items to enrich the experience. But the, Square Enix took another step to change it even further.
It all started with Star Ocean: Second Evolution. This is the base remaster for the PSP. (It is not on the PlayStation Store, so unfortunately you can’t buy a download of it for the Vita.) It adds so much. New animated segments appear, new Special Arts have been fixed, Skills have been added or readjusted, there have been translation changes and updates, Welch Vineyard can be recruited as a party member, the combat system has three-hit combos and cancellation options, and it even had a new opening and song. More important, there are lots of new private actions and endings, giving you even more chances to get to know people.
But, that wasn’t enough. People loved this installment of Star Ocean. So much so, that it received another port. In Japan, it is also available on the PS3, PS4, and Vita. There, you can grab it as Star Ocean: Second Evolution Download Version. This version has a new theme song, other new songs on the soundtrack, and updated graphics. Also, people who are having trouble beating it could pay ¥500 for add-ons that would do things like keep you from using any MP or doubling your attack power.
Heading into the Ocean of Stars
Star Ocean: The Second Story is one of the best entries in the series. It has storylines that make sense and characters you can connect with, thanks to Private Actions that let you get to know them better. There are things to make and skills to acquire. You have two planets to explore. It has a great story that mixes science fiction and fantasy together in the most pleasant sort of way. While you do have to find a physical PSOne or PSP copy outside of Japan to play it, people not afraid to import could always get a PS3, PS4, or Vita copy for ¥2,268.