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Star Ocean: The Second Story

by Enix
PlayStation
Everyone
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews) 80 / 100

Price: $149.95
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Product Details

  • ASIN: B00000K39I
  • Media: Video Game
  • Release Date: 1999
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,665 in Video Games (See Top 100 in Video Games)

Product Description

Review

Star Ocean: The Second Story is the 32-bit follow-up to Enix's original Super Famicom title, Star Ocean, a game that was released in the dying days of the system and did not receive the success it was due. A departure from the first game, Second Story, like most RPGs, offers you a fresh set of characters to play as. At the start of the game you select one of two characters: Crawd or Rena, and where the story begins depends on whom you choose. Your choice only affects the direction of the storyline, since the two of you ultimately meet up anyway and progress together through the game. As the story advances, you'll meet up with other key characters, whom you can also add to your party. Marking Enix's first major RPG undertaking in the next-generation wars, Star Ocean: Second Story is a decidedly conservative attempt to refine rather than reinvent, and it shows.

Second Story is 16-bit in nature but 32-bit in execution and is a conservative step forward in RPG gaming, coming across like a combination of Grandia and Saga Frontier. The backgrounds in the game are prerendered, like Saga Frontier, while the characters are sprite-based. Unlike in Saga Frontier, the citizens of Star Ocean blend well with their environments. Little touches like seeing your reflection on smooth surfaces like water, or seeing your characters darken whenever they walk through a shady area are very cool. Other details, like birds flying across the screen, are also very realistic and must be seen to be fully appreciated. Although tri-Ace is the developer responsible for the creation of Star Ocean: SS, it should be noted that the company was assisted in this project by Japanese CG house Links. Links may not sound familiar, but its works speak for itself. The company was responsible for much of the CG rendering in Final Fantasy VII and for creating the CG intros in all three Shining Force III games. Links' assistance is evident in Star Ocean's gorgeous opening movie, as well in the prerendered backgrounds which are easily on a par with FFVII and Parasite Eve. Although the game plays like an old-school RPG, it certainly doesn't look like one.

Battle scenes, on the other hand, switch to a fully polygonal backdrop, like Grandia, while the sprite-based characters duke it out in real time, which leads us to the next interesting feature of Star Ocean, and that's the battle engine. Depending on your familiarity with the Star Ocean battle system, you can choose from one of three settings during combat: standard, semi-active or full-active. Standard is for those who are new to the series, since the battles are fairly fast paced, while semi-active and full-active are for gamers who want more control over every aspect of the battles. In any case, as in the original, fights are fast paced and have an almost action-game feel to them.

During battle scenes, you can choose special attacks, which are learned during the course of the game. Once you have multiple characters in your party (which can number up to eight, with four on the battlefield), you can combine specials to create a super-specialty. Other features in the game include item creation, skill learning (after learning an appropriate amount of skills, you can combine them to acquire more-powerful specialties, and more.

Exploration takes you through myriad towns and villages, each of which has its own unique look. The usual suspects appear in great numbers: merchants, weapons shops, restaurants, inns, etc. Once you've filled your inventory with the necessary supplies, your travels will take you onto an overhead 3D-map, much like the one found in FFVII, where you will have to search for hidden caves and well-hidden harbor towns, among others. Spanning two discs, Star Ocean has plenty to see and do.

Possessing one of the more incredible soundtracks composed for a video game, Star Ocean's US translation is functional, although not as clever as some of Working Design's better work. Star Ocean: Second Story is an engaging RPG that ranks up there with the likes of Xenogears and Suikoden, with the storyline leading you on an incredible journey that's not as flashy as some, but certainly more substantial than others. With at least 50 hours of gaming in each character's scenario, Star Ocean might not be compelling enough to play through twice, but the first time is as engaging as any RPG you're likely to play. Highly recommended in any case. --James Mielke
--Copyright ©1999 GameSpot Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of GameSpot is prohibited. GameSpot and the GameSpot logo are trademarks of GameSpot Inc. -- GameSpot Review

Product Description

Star Ocean: The Second Story is the 32-bit follow-up to Enix's original Super Famicom title, Star Ocean, a game that was released in the dying days of the system and did not receive the success it was due. A departure from the first game, Second Story, like most RPGs, offers you a fresh set of characters to play as. At the start of the game you select one of two characters: Crawd or Rena, and where the story begins depends on whom you choose. Your choice only affects the direction of the storyline, since the two of you ultimately meet up anyway and progress together through the game. As the story advances, you'll meet up with other key characters, whom you can also add to your party. Marking Enix's first major RPG undertaking in the next-generation wars, Star Ocean: Second Story is a decidedly conservative attempt to refine rather than reinvent, and it shows. Second Story is 16-bit in nature but 32-bit in execution and is a conservative step forward in RPG gaming, coming across like a combination of Grandia and Saga Frontier. The backgrounds in the game are prerendered, like Saga Frontier, while the characters are sprite-based. Unlike in Saga Frontier, the citizens of Star Ocean blend well with their environments. Little touches like seeing your reflection on smooth surfaces like water, or seeing your characters darken whenever they walk through a shady area are very cool. Other details, like birds flying across the screen, are also very realistic and must be seen to be fully appreciated. Although tri-Ace is the developer responsible for the creation of Star Ocean: SS, it should be noted that the company was assisted in this project by Japanese CG house Links. Links may not sound familiar, but its works speak for itself. The company was responsible for much of the CG rendering in Final Fantasy VII and for creating the CG intros in all three Shining Force III games.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very different game April 29, 2000
By A Customer
Durability: 5.0 out of 5 stars    Educational: 5.0 out of 5 stars    Fun: 4.0 out of 5 stars   
After the linear-style of Final Fantasy and other similar RPGs (Which I love BTW), I found Star Ocean 2 a wonderfully refreshing experience. There are just so many options - starting from the beginning, you can choose your main character, which other characters you want and take it from there, eventually leading to one out of 86 different endings. It's true that the endings stem mainly from the different combinations of characters that get together in the end...but 86! What other game can boast so much replay value?
The item creation system is very unique - cooking, art, machinery, authoring, customising...it's all within your power. You choose the skills and specialities the characters learn. They write books for the other characters to read, make better weapons, compose music and create delicious (or not so delicious) dishes. They can even combine their skills to make super specialities, which allow you to get better at cooking, publishing, etc, and my favourite - where all the characters sincerely call Barney, a giant white rabbit to cart you around the countryside. Hilarious.
The graphics IMO are pretty good. The 3D backgrounds are lovingly rendered, even including really cool minor details like your reflection on a pond or in a mirror. Nice. The characters themselves are 2D sprites, which looks better than it sounds - no hassles with fuzzy polygons or anything like that. And Links has done a fine job (as usual) on the FMV - great eye candy.
The battle system allows you to take a much more active role in combat situations. In active mode, you basically dash around and try to konk the enemy without them hitting you. Fighting characters have Killer moves, which are special attacks that are assigned to the L1 and R1 buttons.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must-Buy, Must-Have, Must-Play November 22, 1999
By A Customer
Durability: 5.0 out of 5 stars    Educational: 5.0 out of 5 stars    Fun: 5.0 out of 5 stars   
Ever see this equation? Two disks + two characters + over eighty endings = one great game. Yesiree, besides the impressive numbers, Star Ocean has another charm, addictive as it is, awesome as it may be. There aren't many games out nowadays about storyline and character development, yet this one seems to be less and less like a videogame and more and more like an epic novel. Every choice you make, every turn you take, every character you invite into your party, you shape your own destiny and blaze your own trail. These characters, in terms of emotion, are no doubt about it-- Real. You develop meaningful relationships and for a moment, call me crazy, but you are that character. The game isn't without its quirks: Meaningless battles make it hard to find what you're really looking for, and even more are those annoying thought balloons that pop over character's head when they're angry, sad, surprised, or just really deep in thought. But those little flaws don't detract much from otherwise great game.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific fun, great story, great music. May 22, 2000
By A Customer
Durability: 5.0 out of 5 stars    Educational: 5.0 out of 5 stars    Fun: 5.0 out of 5 stars   
This game is wonderful. You can play as one of two people (something I really like in games), skills are actually terrifically *important*, the graphics are good (not great, but good), and the music is outstanding.
One of the best features of the game is the Private Action, where you interact one-on-one with your party members or NPCs, or both. every choice you make affects how your characters feel about each other. This is the best way I've seen of getting the role-playing back into RPGs. Some of them are just plain funny too (Ashton and barrels ... there might be reasons Gyoro and Ururun picked him ...)
The difficulty levels are well-set up too; there's not much of 'I must run around and fight random battles to survive my next dungeon'. The fight system is rather odd, but learnable.
The story and the music are the best things about the game, though. The story is well-thought out, well-written and planned - things happen for reasons, you find out what those reasons are, and you *want* to save these people. And the music ... man, the final boss music *alone* makes me want the CD ...
I finished the game, and went through to play it *again* right away. That's how good it is.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Challenging and entertaining - tremendously good fun November 29, 2000
By A Customer
This is undoubtedly one of the best RPG's I have ever played. Your choices are almost limitless - you choose the main character, which characters to include in your party (some are not compatible with others, and some you can only get playing as a certain character), how to assign your skill points, and what specialties to develop in each character. The skills that the characters can build are varied and useful. A character might learn cooking, metal working, weapon customization, alchemy, photography, music, painting, writing - it's all up to you. And the results of these skills affect the gameplay. For instance, a character good at cooking can create a dish that will restore HP or MP to whoever consumes it, while a character skilled in alchemy can turn a rock into a precious gem that can be used to customize an ordinary weapon into something spectacular.
You also affect the final outcome by which characters you place together in battle and how you choose to have them interact while not in battle. There are so many choices, and so many ways to affect the game, that its possibilities are staggering.
As the game is so multi-faceted, I do recommend the strategy guide. Knowing which characters are compatible with others, what foods are needed to cook specific dishes, which good weapons can be customized into great ones, etc. can help you make good decisions.
I think most RPG fans would find this game to be outstanding in its field.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of the best games ever made top 10 rpg of all time
Published 1 month ago by mike wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Works just fine!
Published 1 month ago by Roger
4.0 out of 5 stars A Classic
Claude Kenni, son of Ronixis Kenni, is exploring a mysterious planet with his father and fellow cadets, where he encounters a device that takes him to an underdeveloped planet,... Read more
Published 2 months ago by J. Gallen
5.0 out of 5 stars Great game
if you like old RPGs, and care more about gameplay and story then graphics...you should play this one.
Battle system was unique for its time. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Dr.J
4.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite things ever
The storyline, characters and music are all incredibly good. I could play this for hours and not get bored.

Only con is: Some stuff is so frickin cryptic!! Read more
Published 8 months ago by MikeB
5.0 out of 5 stars star ocean the second story.
my daughter likes this video game.it a role playing game,highly recommend this for everyone to play to keep you busy.
Published 11 months ago by carolyn l hanley
5.0 out of 5 stars Best game ever!
Star Ocean The Second Story in my humble opinion is nothing short of a masterpiece.
Such underrated game never got the credit it deserves. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Lyle
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst packaging ever!!!!
Got this game from Goodbuy and I received it in pieces, the worst packaging ever, to much trouble to return it so I threw it in the garbage will never buy from them again. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Coqui
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Buy!
Great purchase. It came in a brand new just like detail said. The game ran in my PS2 perfectly.Love the game.
Published 15 months ago by SupremeAlphaM01
5.0 out of 5 stars Provider of Item was truly accurate
The provider of this item was true to his word that the item was in good condition. That says volumes of the man. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Janice Thompson
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