We finally have a follow up to the less than stellar Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness, although what you may feel about it depends on your tolerance for free-to-play smartphone games. Star Ocean: Anamnesis is the latest entry in the long-standing franchise, retaining a number of elements that fans will be familiar with but with some alterations that would be more familiar to those smartphone RPGs.
The first hour kicks off in traditional Star Ocean fashion where you take on the role of a ship captain under attack by space pirates. After crash landing on an unknown planet, you are met with a mysterious girl who informs you that she is able to use premium currency to summon characters from previous Star Ocean games to aid you in your mission to return to earth. See what it does there?
When you begin the game proper, you are presented with a map consisting of nodes, which comprise of story chapters and battles. As you traverse along, you are given insight as to what the general plot is, which is standard anime science fiction.
The fun truly starts when you get into fights, but do not go expecting the kind of combat and gameplay of its predecessors. Here you essentially assemble a team of said Star Ocean characters, each of whom have their own classes and abilities. You are given the freedom to move around the battlefield to position yourself and evade enemy attacks, but to attack, you simply need to tap on the screen for the appropriate abilities with their respective cooldowns. For the most part, you will be able to automate the fights, but this is limited to the campaign which is a breeze. Events and the multiplayer mode are when you actually have to take control of your character to micromanage, and this is when the game is more of your typical Star Ocean game.
By all accounts, Star Ocean: Anamnesis is your typical free-to-play smartphone RPG an relies almost completely on the nostalgic hook to draw players in, although that is not to say that there is nothing here for newbies either. All characters have been redesigned by different artists to give them a more modern appeal.
Despite being a game that is built around microtransactions, Star Ocean: Anamnesis is fairly generous with how it hands your the gems needed to get new characters and weapons. If you are patient and diligent enough, it is entirely possible to enjoy the game without having to spend a single cent. Spending expedites and improves your experience but in no way are you restricted should you decide to be a scrooge.