You know what? Intros suck. I’m skipping it.
The audio and visuals of this game are its biggest downfall. While the music is good, the character voices are just, well…not. Now I know this is PSX we’re talking about, and I know they really can’t have wonderful voice acting on it, but the fact is they didn’t need to include it at all. But they did. And it’s bad. The visuals are also pretty good at some points, like with the background graphics and such, but the characters somehow seem worse looking than some SNES graphics…it’s very strange. Perhaps it’s the contrast between the background graphics and the character ones that make it seem bad, but it actually really doesn’t matter. The fact is, it doesn’t look all that pretty (decent, but not pretty).
The replay value of this game might seem like it should be shockingly high if you were to learn that there are 80 different endings to this game. That’s right, 80. Of course, I have never gotten them all, so I can’t confirm this (but if the back of the game case says it, it must be true). It is my strong suspicion that there are really only one or two truly different endings in this game, and all the other “different” endings are just simple variations of these endings. You don’t have to take my word for it, but I CAN say that this game isn’t quite good enough to have you playing 80 times to find out. Of course, it is DEFINITELY good enough to play a few times, as there are two different main characters with different perspectives on the story, and thus different dialogue to be read both times. There are also more characters than can fit into a party, so you’ll have to play multiple times if you want to get them all.
The controls are easy to learn; nothing really new here. The battles are in real-time, so you might have to be more on your toes than with other games, but you only have to control one of your four active party members, so it’s not hard to deal with. Of course, don’t take “nothing new” to mean average; I have played many games with much more awkward controls. You should take it to mean that you won’t have a hard time playing this game, even if you are a beginner.
Now, down to the real meat and potatoes: the FUN! Wooohooo. What this game may lack in other categories, it makes up for in pure fun. You play the role of one of two characters: either Claude, an ensign aboard his father’s ship, which patrols the galaxy, or Rena, a young girl who lives on the planet that Claude gets stranded on in the beginning of the game. Each character has different insights as to what’s going on, so you’ll need to play the game through at least twice if you want to find out what each of them thinks about their journey together…and their true feelings for each other throughout the game.
If you are not into long games, you probably should stay away from this one, since it’s really the most fun when being played multiple times. Of course, if you are unlike me and don’t consider learning interesting new things about the plot of the story to be fun, then screw you. That’s right, screw you. Don’t play this game; it’s no skin off my teeth. Also, if you don’t like RPGs as much as I do, then you might as well take off a point or two from the fun category. Although it DOES have more action elements than many more traditional RPGs, it still has the random encounters and other elements that many people don’t like.
All around, even if you aren’t a huge fan of RPGs, Star Ocean: The Second Story is such a good one that you might find you enjoy it anyway. (Oh yeah, RPG fans should hunt for this game like there’s no tomorrow. The end.)