Star Ocean 2, one fo the greatest JRPG's of all time, is coming to consoles as a 2.5HD remake.
1998’s Star Ocean 2, a stunning beautiful JRPG for its time, is getting a remake, along with a new art style and release date for modern gaming platforms. The announcement was among the biggest news on Nintendo’s Direct showcase, which is a bit odd considering that the original game was released exclusively on the original PlayStation console.
According to Kotaku, the Star Ocean 2 remake, officially titled Star Ocean: The Second Story R, is being remade for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Nintendo Switch consoles. The game is receiving a complete graphical overhaul and a narrative that’s a scene-for-scene representation of the original narrative; however, the graphical overhaul is now a 2.5D representation that delivers pixel art sprites against 3D environments, which offers a pretty unique-looking graphical approach. Honestly, the blend of old and new is quite nicely done.
The voice acting seems new, which is reasonable, considering that 25 years have passed since the original Star Ocean 2’s release. Sure, the developers could’ve reused the old voice acting from the original PlayStation, but the sound quality from the original console isn’t on par with today’s standards. Graphics may be intentional, something akin to a signature or a statement, but the poor audio quality wouldn’t accompany the thousands of lines of conversations nicely, so we’re glad that the voice acting is being redone.
Of course, there are some novelties added to the game; for example, Square Enix added a new “Breaking” battle mechanic, which allows players to stagger enemies and deal extra damage with every subsequent attack for the duration of the stagger effects. Other improvements to the combat system make the whole experience more dynamic by allowing players to chain attacks, stun enemies, assist attacks from allies that aren’t part of the current party, etc. All of this is posed to make the game more appealing to modern audiences without spoiling the experience for veterans.
Star Ocean 2 remake is the revival of one of the best games in an uneven and often overlooks sci-fi RGS gaming series. It’s one of many remakes from the fifth and sixth generations of gaming that only proves what we’ve been saying all this time: the sixth generation was an absolute Golden Age of Gaming, and everything after that is a mistake. Admittedly, the Star Ocean 2 released a whole gaming generation prior, and despite the lack of ultra-high-fidelity graphics, the game breathes quality with well-balanced RPG plots, frenetic real-time combat, and granular crafting systems.
The Star Ocean series is known for its dual protagonists and branching character paths that allow gamers to decide who to recruit and who to let go, as the relationships between protagonists and side characters change and deepen through side quests and optional interactions. Thanks to this, Star Ocean 2 boasted several different endings (more than two); some were really similar due to minor differences in player choice, but some choices bore heavy consequences, leading to massively different outcomes.
The Star Ocean 2 remake is scheduled to release on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC via Steam on November 2, 2023.