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Developer:
Enix
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform: PSX
Release Date: Jun 9, 1999

by John Barnett




For those of you who have read a lot of my posts in the forum, you've seen me go on and on about Star Ocean and Star Ocean 2. So, I've decided to finally release my review for SO2. Everyone has their favorite game, and Star Ocean 2 would have to be mine.


I would normally start out with the negative points, but honestly I have found no major flaws. The game offers a delightful mix of a tragedienne plot along with witty, satirical humor given by the characters who, at times, seem to be there for nothing but comic relief. If I was forced to state some sort of flaw in the game, I would have to say it would be the challenge of some of the bosses. I think Enix decided that their first game was a bit too easy on the gamer so they gave the bosses cheap attacks and moves that should not be possible. I spent a good 30 hours just leveling up for the final 3 bosses.... most of that time was trying to steal those damn bunny shoes from the man dressed in a rabbit costume. God I hated that.


Now for what I have promised you, the list of positive aspects. First off would be the graphics, a wonderful blend of pre-rendered, chibi-style models set within a 3D background for each battle. Not only did this make the characters stand out more, but it also allowed for one of the most inventive, free roaming combat systems ever. With the battles being on a 3D plane, the characters can move in all directions, including into the background, only to attack from the side or from behind. This added not only strategy to be formed, but also a set of skills to be learned and mastered before you could continue on.


Like some other games before it (Star Ocean and Tales of Phantasia), it allowed a sort of forging for items, while these were predetermined items, there were some that you could only get through this method and allowed a more unique party and game each time you replayed.


The cinematics scenes were breathtaking (from an anime fans point of view). They were directly influenced by the anime style (as were the concept art if you wish to check out the site for the game) and the effects were nothing short of spectacular.


I would have to say the single feature that most caught my attention would have to be the emotional points. Started in the original Star Ocean game, it has been honed and perfected in the sequel (I am told it's better in the next in the series.). Certain characters pair up via computer AI and establish some sort of emotional bond. This can be increased or decreased depending upon the actions and decisions of the characters by the player themselves. This effected not only on the gameplay but the ending as well (offering more than 80 different endings!). One of my favorites is the Rena, Claud and Celine love triangle, where I purposefully made it so that Claud had high ep (emotion points) with both.


This is easily one of the best games of the original Playstation. I worked hard to find my copy of this game and, trust me, it was no easy task. In the end, I had to have one of my friends in Michigan send it to me because she never played it anymore. So good luck to all of you who decide to try it out. You might be able to find it somewhere on ebay (but I'm not sure what kind of price tag it carries). For those of you lucky people who happen to find it or already have it, you have a great game in your hands that will have replay value for months if not years to come.


Final Grade: 96%




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