Star Ocean: The Second Story R

Star Ocean: The Second Story is the best game in the series, in my not-so-humble opinion, and was, of course, my first entry into the franchise. Back when I was eight or nine years old and sat in front of a tube TV with a wired PS1 controller, the four-disc thick jewel case with the gorgeous JRPG concept art in the insert captivated me like nothing else. You see, The Second Story wasn’t just my first Star Ocean, it was my first roleplaying game! At least, the first one I can recall. Just before I got into Final Fantasy X and Tactics, The Second Story was my first story so to speak.

A remastered gem

Now, 25 years after its original Japanese release date, the game is finally getting a remaster, and it’s huge. While the game did get a re-release in the form of Star Ocean: Second Departure back on the PSP, this new enhanced remaster is making full use of the HD 2D graphics Square Enix has been using for games like Octopath Traveler, Triangle Strategy, and more. I don’t have to tell you how absolutely gorgeous this looks since you can see below with your own eyes!

The Second Story has an enthralling plot. It offers a choice-driven universe for gamers new to the game or the series. Play as Claude or Rena for unique experiences. The game boasts an action-packed, real-time battle system. Talents can be learned to extend gameplay, leading to multiple endings and secret characters. The unique Private Actions system enables special dialogues and interactions.

Where to Play and What You Get

Star Ocean: The Second Story R arrives on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Nintendo Switch on November 2, 2023. Physical versions and a special Collector’s Edition will be available exclusively at the Square Enix Store for $199.99 USD. The Collector’s Edition comes with the game, an original four-disc soundtrack, a pixel art collection box, and a 40-page art book. It’s worth every penny!

The game’s character designer has shared 25th-anniversary artwork of each character, including Claude and Rena. Preordering the game gets you a Pangalactic Federation Longsword, Forest Knuckles, Sunrise Ring, and recovery items.

Gameplay Overhaul

The Second Story R gameplay has been redesigned, especially when it comes to combat. Changes to the tempo, hit feedback, skill effects, range of those skills, as well as the frame data for moves. A new mechanic allows inactive party members to join combat as “assist” characters. All of this was done to make the game feel more like a modern RPG without robbing it of its nostalgia.

The game also caters to various languages. It features Japanese and English text and voiceovers. I’m happy to say that the original game’s voice cast is back in action. Subtitles in French, Italian, German, and Spanish are coming with a launch software update. Motoi Sakuraba, the original composer, rearranged the game’s soundtrack, and there are new character illustrations from Yukihiro Kajimoto.

These changes will make battles tougher though, and mid-game bosses stronger too. New side quests provide improved equipment and items. The original game’s three difficulty levels: Earth, Galaxy, and Universe, are retained, and players can freely switch between them at any time. Whew, that’s everything you’re going to need to know before picking this up on launch day! Are you as excited about this game as I am? Are you emptying your bank account on that sweet, sweet Collector’s Edition? Let me know in the comments!


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