Star Ocean The Second Story R – Review

A nostalgic PS1 game comes to life once more

Star Ocean The Second Story R Review Featured Image
Release Date
November 2, 2023
Square Enix, Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.
PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, PC
Reviewed on
Review copy provided by
Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.

In early 2000, Square Enix released Star Ocean Second Story for the PlayStation 1. Upon its release, numerous good reviews and high recommendations were given to the game as it became one of the most iconic Sony games of that time. Over the next couple of console generations, it received remasters for multiple consoles, and no matter how old it was, the experience of playing has never died down. Recently, Square Enix released a full remake of the game and named it Star Ocean Second Story R. And this game is something that might pique the interest of many JRPG players including those who are new to this type of genre.

Star Ocean The Second Story R is a remake of Star Ocean The Second Story. It centers around a space cadet named Claude C. Kenny who gets stranded on an unknown planet and meets various locals who subsequently become his allies. Upon his arrival, he sees an unexpected danger that has threatened the planet and must stop it before returning back home. Following the original storyline, this game has dedicated itself to maintaining what made the original stand out as well as adding some additional side stories to further deepen the understanding of what the game’s story is all about.

In terms of gameplay, the combat is very simple as players will need to fight various enemies using properly equipped weapons, armor, and skills when needed. Additionally, they need to know what combos of attacks and skills are required in order to build one’s playstyle. Overall, the combat style reminds me of that of the Tales series and one that is best suited for it. The feeling of its combat system might suit well for those who wish to experience the beauty of what games were back then in the early 2000s.

What I really love about this game is not only the story and the combat settings of it but also how big and wide one player can enjoy viewing the map of the game. Using realistic art styles in making the forests, caves, and other areas to explore gives a huge impression of what this game has. The only possible downside I saw from it was that adding 8-bit designed characters feels out of place for some reason and may cause newer players to wonder about the choice in art style.

The graphics of Star Ocean Second Story R are somewhat nostalgic as they use almost PS1 graphics but are rendered in 4k quality. All of the cutscenes have been replaced with better artwork and the presentation of the characters is more vivid than ever. Seeing how much they have improved on the quality also made me notice that the environment gives off a familiar and nostalgic feeling of playing PS1 all over again. Truly, this type of graphic setting suits this remake as I can conjure that this type of setting may be used for their future remakes.

Of course, when it comes to remakes, there are new features added to make the game more challenging. One of the new features that were added is known as Assault Action. This feature allows players to summon characters who aren’t present in your party and let them support your team in taking multiple enemies. These characters are not only limited to those who are present in the Star Ocean The Second Story world but also from the other characters like Laeticia from Star Ocean Divine Force. Usually, when they add guest characters, it signifies that there are hints of unlockables that players will really love to discover and face.

Another feature that is known for many Star Ocean players is Private Actions. This feature is practically new to this game but for other Star Ocean games, it isn’t. Characters who deepen their relationships with other party members can interact upon entering various towns and more. Doing so will help not only expand the stories of each character but give them a chance to further strengthen their skills.

With everything said and done, I believe that this game is something worth getting on any console, especially on the PlayStation 5. My recommendation for those who wish to experience what it is like to play JRPG games during the early 2000s, they should get the demo first and if they are comfortable with it, get the full game as soon as it is released.

Star Ocean The Second Story R Review Featured Image
Star Ocean The Second Story R – Review
Score Definition
When the issues of a game are rolled and stomped by its greatness, then it’s something to invest in if you have some spare.
Nostalgic PS1 graphics in 4K quality
Story is full of life and is further enhanced with new features
combat is decent and easy to understand
Certain graphics of the environments maybe confusing to some first time players