Star Ocean The Second Story R brings the highly acclaimed classic PlayStation RPG to the modern day for newer platforms such as the PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PC. This complete remake of the original 1998 release features a unique 2.5D aesthetic that breathes new life into the game while also adding new elements.
While we were at the Tokyo Game Show 2023, we got a chance to play a demo of Star Ocean The Second Story R ahead of its launch and experience 2 segments of the RPG.
Star Ocean Aesthetics Reimagined
The first part of the demo takes you to explore the canyons of the Lasgus Mountains, where you will have to navigate and eventually reach the peak to face off against a giant demonic bird-dragon monster.
Immediately upon venturing into the remake, the graphics stand out fantastically. We would imagine many players would be thrown off slightly when seeing 2D sprites roaming around in a detailed 3D environment, however, developer Gemdrops did a great job at ensuring the game looks as natural as possible.
It is one of those games that look way better in person, as compared to watching recorded gameplay footage such as all the trailers. Naturally, many fans would compare Star Ocean The Second Story R with other pixel sprite games in 2.5D aesthetics such as the works of Team Asano, namely the Octopath Traveler series.
However, the 3D environments in which the Star Ocean characters walk around set the game apart from its competitors. One noticeable visual element developer Gemdrops has given the game is the shader system where light and shadow on characters change based on the environment.
Character portraits also look more detailed this time around, especially as it animates, not to mention the different interactions among the cast with well-performed voice acting.
As we progressed further, we were treated to the second half of the demo which took place in the later parts of the game. Here, the game holds no hands and begins introducing much stronger enemies in waves.
In terms of combat, The Second Story R plays very similar to the PlayStation original, however, one noticeable change is the inclusion of the Break System where you are able to stagger enemies in order to inflict more damage and set up combo chains.
Another notable combat feature is something called “Assault Action”, where you can summon an ally from outside your current party to provide support, which proves to be very helpful in tough encounters, especially given its short cooldown.
In a Starry Ocean
The demo ended on a positive note and Star Ocean The Second Story R is looking to be a great RPG that brings the 1998 classic to the modern age.
Developer Gemdrops has made many adjustments to the visuals, gameplay designs, and various features, even something as simple as having enemies roaming the world rather than being a random encounter, ensures that both older fans and newcomers get to experience the game in a new light.
Prior to the Tokyo Game Show 2023, we got a chance to interview the game’s director and Gemdrops CEO Yuichiro Kitao about the many details of Star Ocean The Second Story R, which you can read here.
Star Ocean The Second Story R is slated to be released on 2 November 2023 for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, and PlayStation 4, while the Windows PC version via Steam will launch on the 3rd of November, 2023.