A gentle HD update for an old classic.
This very first game in the Star Ocean series – a series which eventually grew to include eight titles of varying quality – has been through a handful of iterations over the years. Originally released exclusively in Japan on Super Famicom back in 1996 it was then extensively remade using the Star Ocean 2 engine for PSP in 2007, adding brand new prerendered backdrops, voice acting, 3D battlefields, a world map and beautiful CGI cutscenes courtesy of Production I.G. This updated and enhanced version of the game now finds its way onto PS4 and Nintendo Switch in the form of Star Ocean: First Departure R and what we’ve got here is essentially the same game released on PSP with high definition visuals, some newly drawn character avatars and a handful of combat tweaks to make things a little more challenging.
This is still a pretty fun little RPG to play. It runs about twenty hours so doesn’t outstay its welcome and many of its systems – real time battles on 3D battlefields and extremely deep crafting – are still quite impressive to this day. However, it’s also very much a product of its time, nowhere near as complex or gripping as the second game in the series, and it tends to waste a lot of time with endless backtracking and random enemy encounters that make the whole thing a little bit of a chore to grind your way through.
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