Star Ocean 2: The Second Story
Reviewed: 07/09/2005


Although the first Star Ocean never came stateside, Star Ocean: The Second Story has to be one of my favorite games from the days of the PS1. For its day, this game was wondrous to the point that it was mind-blowing. Not only that, this game had so many different angles from which you could play that it’s is probably one of the most underrated games on its console.

The story in SO:2 is one like you don’t often see today. You can start off by picking from the two main characters, Rena or Claude. This original choice in the game leads to many others in the game which end up leading into pver 80 different endings, making this the game with the best playback value to pass through my hands. There were also many, what the game called, “private actions” that changed how the story unfolded, all of which differed depending on which character you chose as your main. All of this from a game with 25-80 some hours of gameplay leads to loads of fun filled weekends and the like.

Screen Shot
Pretty nice for its time

Fighting in this game is something that was a pleasant surprise; it differed from the usual system of three to five characters standing in a line waiting their turn. In SO:2, you and your party of four have free run of a battle board where you can run about and do as you wish. This was a wonderful change where you can go and save the healer if under attack or run away from the upcoming counter attack, whatever it was all fair game. The A.I. in battle never failed either, where it is usually expected for the healer to stand in one place and try to heal, it would run and look for help. But if there ever was a problem, it was always easy to switch in between characters for a change, even though it was always hard to stop using Diaz and his Chaos Sword ability.

One of the best made concepts in this game was the item creation. You could pick from a handful of skills to level, almost like a job class, to create items to help you through the game, like cooking or blacksmithing. This added an additional layer to the game, for getting the best weapons usually meant crafting them in some way or needing to make an item to open up a door or chest.

The graphics of SO:2 were worth a few “ooh’s” and “ahh’s” for the time. The old styled characters were a wonderful sight with how bright they were. This was quite a change from just finishing up Final Fantasy 7 which was quite dark. The rest of the game’s background wasn’t so great though. Throughout, they would repeat; a cave is a cave and a forest is a forest. They weren’t even that great to look at.

Screen Shot
A whole lot of action during the fights

When it came down to the sounds in the game, there were ups and downs. The background music of the game was great, rivaling any game of the time. Then there were the character voices. Now they were pretty decent, but at the end of battle every member would say something where it just all blended together into gibberish. Luckily, if you wanted to hear what they have been saying, the creators made a place for you to hear every single phrase stated in battle separately.

When looking back on games of the past, Star Ocean 2 was definitely one that was a reason for skipping school or taking a sick day from work. With its mix of playful characters and deep story, SO:2 was one of the best PS1 RPGs.

-Hank Farley

Score Breakdown
Very Good
Out of 10
See our Review Criteria
Gameplay Great
Story Very Good
Graphics Very Good
Sound/Music Average
Replay Value Great
The Verdict: 7