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Star Ocean: Second Evolution (PSP)
|Price:||£44.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Delivery Details|
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- A galaxy-spanning adventure featuring a cast of both fresh and familiar faces brought together by a gripping and immersive storyline!
- Compelling real-time combat enhanced by devastating special attacks and spells!
- The newly incorporated private action system allows players to influence the direction and outcome of the story via interactions with other characters
- Awe-inspiring animated sequences created by world-famous anime studio Production I.G!
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- Platform: Sony PSP
- PEGI Rating: Suitable for 12 years and over. Not for sale to persons under age 12. By placing an order for this product, you declare that you are 12 years of age or over.
- Media: Video Game
- Item Quantity: 1
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Continuing the franchise for Star Ocean fans, Star Ocean: Second Evolution for the PSP is an enhanced remake of Star Ocean: The Second Story, and delivers the same epic storytelling and dazzling art style updated for today. Set 20 years after the events of its predecessor, Second Evolution receives special treatment in its PSP incarnation. Gamers can relive the adventure, with fully animated movies, all-new character designs, extra playable characters, fully voiced dialogues and more.
It is Space Date 366 and a young man finds himself transported by accident to an uncharted world during a survey of an underdeveloped planet. The son of a hero, with much to prove, he finds himself on the path to greatness. Meanwhile, a young girl watches disaster befalling her world and the arrival of a mysterious meteorite. She awaits the arrival of a legendary hero. A child with a good heart and the ability to use powerful magic, she awaits the savior of her world.
20 years after the events on planet Roak in the original Star Ocean, the son of the hero of the Terran Alliance is thrust back into the fray. He is known as the Hero of Light, and although the importance of his epic quest isn't to be denied, he ends up encountering a number of other characters critical to the plot, including his first partner in crime, Rena Lanford.
All New Look and Sound
Old-school fans will indeed recognize the cast of characters, although Claude, Rena, Dias, Precis, Opera, Ashton, and others are getting the benefit of revamped character designs. Animation studio Production I.G. created an all-new look for the characters in this new version of the game. Additionally, during in-game conversations, characters will now change their facial expressions depending upon their mood.
Just as in Star Ocean: First Departure, new high-quality animated cut scenes, now displayed in 16:9 wide-screen, are once again provided by animation studio Production I.G., helping bring the story to life. There are also new voice actors and extensive amounts of new, fully-voiced dialogue, as well as the opening song Start, performed by Scandal.
Exciting New Gameplay
Star Ocean: Second Evolution has been completely rebuilt for the PSP system, with a revised game engine, and an improved real-time battle system that will keep players immersed in the action. As always the private action system adds depth to the story, introducing riveting subplots between characters. In Second Evolution, more private actions have been added allowing characters to interact in new and exciting ways. Other characters degree of feelings for you will affect how they act towards you, how they assist you in battle, and could even alter the end of the game.
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+A Fairly Good Story Overall
+Good Music Score
+Lots of customization
-There's a lot of exposition in some areas where it arguably doesn't need to explain so much; you're mileage with this will vary
-Story paces fairly slowly
-It's an easy game overall
-Battling can and often is reduced to button mashing
-Voice acting lacks emotion
In the fall of 2008, Square-Enix decided to bring the first Star Ocean to US shores for the first time. Now, at the start of 2009, Square-Enix has decided to bring the second Star Ocean to the PSP. It was originally released as Star Ocean: The Second Story ten years ago and became a cult classic on the original Playstation. Now, ten years later, those who did not get a chance to experience Star Ocean: The Second Story have the chance to do so in this enhanced remake.
Star Ocean: The Second Story centers on Claude C. Kenny and Rena Landlord. Claude is a federation officer who, under circumstances, finds himself transported to a world that is less technologically advanced than his where he meets Rena. Rena decides to help Claude find a way home as they investigate the mysteries of her world. While it gets off to a fairly slow start, the story of Second Evolution far exceeds the first game, and has a reasonably well liked cast of characters. The story is ultimately Claude's and Rena's and the game lets you choose between who will be the main character. Depending on who you choose makes a difference in how certain parts of the story are presented.
The story, like many Star Ocean outings can be pretty slow at times. This is mostly due in part to the vast amount of exposition found within the story. You'll come to know and like your characters as a result, but it doesn't separate from the fact that Second Evolution explains quite a bit of things, some of which it doesn't even have to explain. In the long run, this probably won't bother anyone. It is, after all, an RPG. However, there will be moments where it would be nice for the story to pick up the pace.
For the most part you'll be exploring towns and dungeons and talking to denizens as you move across the world. When you're not exploring, you're battling, and Star Ocean is fairly well known for its battle system. If you've played any games in the "Tales of..." series, it is very similar. Rather than being turn based like traditional RPGs, Star Ocean's battles take place in real time. It might take a minute or two to learn, but it's a fairly simple system overall. You can either use basic melee attacks or use special abilities set to the L and R buttons.
Star Ocean: Second Story suffers from some of the same issues as First Departure. While it can be challenging at first, it quickly becomes an easy game. RPG veterans won't find much of a challenge here. The battle system, while fairly inventive, does eventually become a button mashing affair. It can sometimes feel repetitive, thanks in part to the games random encounter rate being fairly high.
Much like First Departure, there's a skill system in tact here as well. Just like the first game as you rise in level you'll also get skill points to "spend" on certain skills for characters. These can unlock talents for characters as well such as item creation. Despite how simple it is, the skills and item customization stuff is actually fairly deep and can yield interesting results. Granted, it can also make what is already a fairly easy game even easier when you create a powerful weapon well ahead of when you should have it. Yet, for what it's worth, it's interesting to play around with and see what you get.
Visually, Star Ocean: Second Evolution doesn't look that different from it's original Playstation counterpart. It uses the same art style, though it looks noticeably smoother on the PSP. The towns are pretty vibrant and detailed. It definitely has an artistic appeal. It doesn't push the PSP to its limits but it's still an overall good looking game. Likewise, it runs pretty smoothly with few dips in frame rate, though there are some moments where load times can feel grating. This is noticeable when the game must pause for a quick second or two between dialog flow.
Musically, Star Ocean: Second Evolution certainly has a more memorable soundtrack than most other Star Ocean titles out there. You might not find yourself rushing out to buy the soundtrack, but nonetheless, there are some good tunes. It is the voice acting where Second Evolution is a mixed bag. As usual, they got the right voices for the job, but often times the delivery from some of the voice actors lack emotion.
It's nice to see Star Ocean: The Second Story age well. For those who've experienced it once, it's nice to be able to experience it again. For those who have not yet had the chance to play Star Ocean: The Second Story, Second Evolution is a perfected version of a fantastic classic.
The game allows you, from the start, to choose between the two heroes and follow on from their side of the story. This adds massive reply value as each character has their own way of progressing the game; for example one character will see a battle whilst the other will actually participate. They also have different styles of combat; Claude is your typical sword wielding close-combat hero, Rena is a healing mage with a few handy offensive spells. So from the moment you boot up the game you already have a reason to play twice, and it doesn't stop there.
Star Ocean: The Second Evolution comes with 13 recruitable characters, one being a PSP exclusive. Only 8 members can be in a party at one time and some require certain criteria to become part of your team. All characters are unique and have their own quirky style they bring to the game. No 2 characters are the same and each one makes each new party fresh and unique, making repeat play throughs to discover new characters all the more enjoyable.
Combat is real time, with random encounters taking place in a separate screen; you have the usual close combat fighters and mages to do the job. Second Evolution uses a twicked version of its old PS1 engine; new additions include an auto-lock-on feature on enemies and the shoulder buttons are used as quick access to spells and special arts to unleash upon your enemies. A point to mention is that thanks to the new features; the game is now slightly easier compared to the original PS1 version. You can button bash for a fair amount of battles; thankfully some of the game's original charm counteract this with most boss battles requiring an actual strategy to beat and the inclusion of 2 difficulty modes (which are unlocked after completing the game once).
The Private Action system is a Star Ocean highlight; from the start when entering a town, press the square button and your team will split. Your main character can talk to the party members individually, triggering events that affect the romance/friendship ratings between your party members, therefore affecting which endings you achieve and who ends up with who. The original PS1 version featured over 80 different endings, and the remake now features over 90. Private Actions are more than just for endings; there are plenty that are will guarantee a laugh, some that expand the main story and give your party new moves or equipment. Overall the PA system is at its best with SO: TSE, it's the heart of the game and keeps you coming back for more. The skill and item creation also makes a comeback, the layout is simple and easy to grasp when time is invested. Your characters can create anything from very powerful weapons to counterfeit cheques, or even increase character stats!
The soundtrack to Star Ocean 2 is often considered Motoi Sakuraba's best work and I very much agree. The tunes are unforgettable, they fit situations/locations perfectly, bring forth emotions when needed. The voice acting on the other hand is a mixed bag; despite having some well-known anime voice actors (e.g. Spike Spencer) the actors do not seem to connect with their characters or the script. Often, the voice actors chosen were perfect for the character but it seemed like some lines are misdirected and lacked emotion.
Star Ocean 2 is one of the best that the Playstation library has to offer and one of the most unique and greatest RPGs of all time. However, what let's this version of this game down is the port quality. Despite this game being considering among Star Ocean fans as the best title in the series; both the Japanese Developers and the English Localization teams were incredibly lazy when dealing with this game. For example; we have new anime cut scenes, character portraits, a new battle screen and world map; however the dungeon/town graphics and the anime sprites have been lifted straight from the original PS1 game. Compared to the all new graphics of the other features, and compared to the fully remade SO: TFD - it looks very blurry, dark and poorly done. Especially since the graphics have been stretch to 16:9 (wide screen).
There are also lots of other little bits and pieces that could've been done to add a nicer experience; such a more anime cut scenes (there were a few moments that really needed it), more character portraits (Ernest is a recruitable character and only gets one) and there's only one new character (who was recruitable in SO: TFD and bears no influence on the story at all unlike TFD that got 2 new characters).
Regarding localization; I'm sad to report that not all of the Private Actions have been fully voiced like they were in TFD. It wouldn't be so bad if the original Japanese version wasn't fully V/O as well, but it was. This is where fans will really wish that the Japanese voices were included, so that we could at least hear the PAs in Japanese if it was not available in English.
I loved the original Star Ocean 2 game on the PS1, however a few downfalls and lack of realization for potential really make this port fall in my eyes slightly. But if you've never played the original game, I do highly recommend this game. There is tons to do, multiple reasons to play again, and although the story takes a while to get going - it's a gem of a game. If you have played the original and are questioning whether to get this - it depends on how much voiced dialogue, anime cut scenes, extras PAs/endings and fixed glitches means to you. If you were disappointed with SO: TFD and reluctant to give this try; keep in mind the TFD was based on a SNES game by a then small company, therefore smaller in content. The Second Evolution is based upon a 2-disc Playstation game from the same company who had grown by then. Yes the combat's the same, but the story, characters, skill system and PAs are much deeper and have a lot more to offer.
Over all the game is just amazing very fun very addicting and not super complicated like a lot of other RPGs the free range battles system is much better then turn based like final fantasy where you sitting there praying your healing spell happens before the monsters turn >.< it makes it feel more real, the romantic element is there yeah but it's not driving force it's just you know there, and the second half of the game skills capabilities and making things really kick off you'd be amazed at the stuff you can make ^^
there's a lot to this game and you don't get it all in one play through there's just so much eve character wise you have to do a couple runs doing different things to get them all but it adds diversity to your adventure it's just nice.
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