18 April 2024
Games Technology

Star Ocean 2 Will get The Definitive Remake Each Basic PS1 RPG Deserves

We’ve seen Sq. Enix port a whole lot of beloved RPGs from the unique PlayStation to fashionable platforms in recent times. Some have been positive. A couple of have been disappointing. None of them appeared fairly worthy of the supply materials they have been working with…till Star Ocean The Second Story R. The Last Fantasy maker’s newest blast from the previous isn’t simply the most effective model of an all-time traditional: it units the brand new commonplace for PS1 RPG remakes transferring ahead.

Out November 2 on PS5, PS4, PC, and Nintendo Swap, Star Ocean The Second Story R is Japanese action-RPG studio Gemdrops’ renovation of Tri-Ace’s 1998 mash-up of sci-fi area exploration and medieval fantasy tropes and upgrades the visuals, provides voice appearing, and introduces a bunch of latest quality-of-life enhancements and fascinating gameplay tweaks. It’s helped me fall in love with one among my favourite video games yet again, and proves a retro remake can elevate the unique whereas nonetheless retaining the fashion and sensibility that made it so particular within the first place.

Purchase Star Ocean The Second Story R: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

Gif: Sq. Enix / Kotaku

You play as both Claude, a starship captain’s son who will get stranded on a medieval planet referred to as Expel, or Rena, an elf-like orphan with magical powers who joins him to analyze a mysterious asteroid referred to as the sorcery globe whose affect unleashed monsters throughout the land. You journey the world over and finally to a futuristic sister-planet as you decide and select between numerous characters—a three-eyed bounty hunter, a swordsman haunted by demon dragons—so as to add to your get together. The story’s not at all times very memorable, but it surely does hold going till it will get to some actually bizarre and fascinating locations.

There are over 100 distinct endings predicated on who you recruit and your relationship statuses with them, whereas commonplace dungeon crawling and button-mashing fight are fleshed out with a bevy of secondary talent methods that allow you to do every part from crafting weapons to taking part in in an orchestra. I’m 10 hours into the sport on Swap to this point and every part is as I keep in mind it, simply a lot prettier, extra streamlined, and extra partaking than both the unique sport or its 2009 PSP remaster. I’m having a blast rifling by way of my outdated Prima Star Ocean 2 technique information, which in some methods nonetheless feels necessary given the sheer quantity of off-the-beaten-path aspect content material and baroque talent timber.

A PS1 traditional reimagined

Star Ocean: The Second Story’s sprite pixel artwork returns with an HD touchup for characters, NPCs, and enemies, however environments and backgrounds have been overhauled with an exquisite new 2.5HD look within the vein of Octopath Traveler. They don’t at all times retain the colourful colours and compositions of the unique pre-rendered scenes. Nonetheless, the brand new look usually made me really feel like I used to be exploring the sport for the very first time once more. Removed from wanting jarring, the 2D pixel artwork towards 3D backgrounds seems like the most effective of each worlds.

The standard of the brand new English voice appearing varies from character to character, but it surely helps brighten up The Second Story’s notoriously belabored and verbose script (you’ll be able to swap it to Japanese or flip the amount off at any time from the settings menu). The wonderful soundtrack has additionally been newly organized by unique composer Motoi Sakuraba so as to add actual string devices and stay band performances. I nonetheless desire the tinny, echo-y tracks designed for the PS1, although I think anybody coming to the sport for the primary time will recognize the hotter, deeper sound of The Second Story R general.

An NPC in a small village says his body is full of power.

Screenshot: Sq. Enix / Kotaku

The remake additionally shines throughout fight. That’s nice since that’s the place you spend roughly half your time. Random encounters now seem as small floating clouds on the map that you could shock assault or bypass altogether. The actual-time fights nonetheless play out like chaotic scrambles, however some key modifications add new layers of depth. Enemies could be staggered when you hit them sufficient occasions in a row, or parried when you completely time a brand new dodge maneuver. The window is small and fickle, but it surely helps break up the monotony of spamming common assaults or particular skills. You may even name a collectible solid of characters from different video games within the collection to behave as short-term summons who will help you in battle. And any time you die in fight, you may have the choice to retry the battle slightly than getting booted again to your final save.

Each defeated enemy additionally drops orbs that you could gather to realize short-term modifiers like a 25 p.c injury enhance. They’re worn out solely while you die or fail a parry, incentivizing you to be a little bit extra meticulous throughout brawls. My favourite characteristic by far, although, is the power to chain collectively a number of fights if enemies within the overworld get shut sufficient. Doing that makes the fights sequential, multiplying the cash and expertise factors you get on the finish. It makes grinding a little bit extra fascinating and far much less of a slog.

Gif: Sq. Enix / Kotaku

Second Story is an extended sport full of massive dungeons, tons of dialogue, and an amazing quantity of aspect content material. Fortuitously, whereas the traditional RPG stays a bloated slowburn by up to date requirements, the remake streamlines proceedings in some necessary methods. Each dialogue scene could be skipped, run at two occasions velocity, or paged by way of robotically. A mini-map provides you a great lay of the land, and even consists of mission markers to cease you from wandering round confused within the face of obtuse storytelling. Plus beneficiant autosaving helps minimize down on misplaced progress.

In any other case, it’s the identical beefy mix of get together constructing, merchandise crafting, fighter customization, and aspect tales that wowed followers of the style many years in the past. There are six principal video games within the Star Ocean collection, and none of them has ever matched The Second Story’s beguiling mixture of appeal, magnificence, and overwhelming PS1-era overworld RPG sprawl. The remake showcases these excessive factors completely, and meaningfully improves within the areas that have been extra dated. The evocative, meandering story nonetheless can’t compete with period rivals like Last Fantasy VII, Xenogears, or Suikoden II. However the general package deal stays irresistible to me, and has by no means been higher. I solely hope among the different unique PlayStation RPGs caught prior to now can get the same glow-up they a lot deserve.

Purchase Star Ocean The Second Story R: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop