Review by Karmely

Reviewed: 09/04/04

An Above Average Game With Above Average Gameplay

So I bought this game the day it came out, with the HUGE strategy guide, taking a big risk considering it was $67 total. I bought it on the fact that it looked pretty and Star Ocean: The Second Story is one of my favorite Playstation games. I wasn't disappointed.

The graphics are okay, the beginning reminded me TONS of Xenosaga, but it automatically struck me as better. There's actual music when you walk around and stuff. The voice acting is decent, with the anime staple of annoying little kid-girl voices. They're few and far between however. Other than that, the graphics are nice, though there aren't very much cinematic CGI (Ala Xenosaga) but the ingame cutscenes are enough.

The story, well let's put it this way: You are Fayt Leingod, you and your friend Sophia Esteed are vacationing on Hyda IV a resort planet with Fayt's parents and other people. After sometime, meeting your annoying girl-kid voiced character, the planet is attacked. You excape, your parents are lost, you get seperated from the other characters shortly later. You end up with a crashed escape pod on an underdeveloped planet, the game then continues from there. It's not as bland as I made it out to be, I promise.

The battles, which are a big part of the game, are fun. This time, as opposed to the last game, the enemy's are on screen and not random, meaning you can avoid them or fight them. The battles are easy to grasp, though confusing at first, they're also plenty hard. Learning curve takes a bit of practice and a tad hard, but once you get the hang of it, it's much easier.

Star Ocean has always had crazy item invention systems, private actions that effect the characters relationships towards each other, changing the ending slightly and other things. This time they incorporate the Battle Trophy system into the game, what this is, is you get different rewards for getting these Battle Trophies. Some of the requirements for the trophies are "Fight 100 Battles", "Get To Level 10", "Beat Norton Without Getting Hurt", "Beat Norton In Under One Minute." etc etc. With 300 to get and three difficulty modes, you'll be playing this one through a couple times. With a new Vs. mode, you can fight characters (Although they're already set up, not yours) against your friends. With optional bosses, side-quests, dungeons, and the item creation system, you'll be playing this one for quite a long time.

Strategy Guide Review: The guide is good for the maps, item list, enemy list, PA's, extra dungeons, battle trophy list and side quests. It isn't very good as a WALKTHROUGH, but worth the purchase.

I would give it these scores:

Graphics: 9/10
Story: 8/10
Characters: 8/10
Battles: 9/10
Music/SFX: 9/10
Strategy Guide: 8/10
Extras: 10/10

Overall: 9/10 I, personally, like this game. First game I've been able to actually sit down and play with no breaks for a looong time.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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