Star Ocean The Second Story R is set to release November 2 for Windows PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Nintendo Switch. Today, it gets a free demo that you can download and carry over any progress to the retail version.
A remake of the second game in the Star Ocean series that originally released on the PlayStation, this version features all new visuals that blend 2D sprites and 3D environments.
The game will include flavor text to give players a more realistic sense of journeying with a party, and that text can also be viewed in the party menu. In the fields, symbols will appear that represent enemy encounters. Maneuvering around them can help you avoid battles or chaining them together can be useful for training. Unique spots are sprinkled throughout the map and can help you discover items and experience points. Powerful enemies called “raid enemies” can also appear – and while they’re very difficult they will drop powerful items.
Fishing has been added to the game at various waterfronts. Fish you catch can be recorded in a fish encyclopedia and can be exchanged for rare items. Battles now have a ‘Just Counter’ system, where performing a backstep at the right time can help you maneuver behind an enemy to attack like in later entries. Just know you’re not invulnerable when doing this. A new feature is a shield value appearing above enemies, wherein depleting the gauge will cause all attacks to become critical hits. Leader enemies will appear from time to time with powerful debuffs on your party. If you manage to break the leader, all enemies linked to that leader will also break which can turn the tide of battle.
Attacking enemies in the break state builds the bonus gauge, and at higher levels powerful buffs will be bestowed to stats or affect the rates at which items or money drop. If the player character enters the break state, the gauge will reset to 0. The effects the bonus gauge offers will change based on the formation you select in the party menu.
Assault actions are a new feature where a character not in the current party can activate a skill with a button press. Setting different types of characters to assault actions can be helpful for additional burst damage or healing – and some characters may only appear in this mode. (Laeticia from Star Ocean The Divine Force is spotted in the trailer below.)
Item creation has also been significantly adjusted to be more accommodating to players. Item creation can bestow various “factors” or traits to the items you craft. Developing character skills will improve the output of item creation and thereby increasing the different types of items you can create. In towns, switching to a “Private Action” mode will allow you to uncover sidequests and optional scenes. Note that undertaking these scenes will increase your friendship level with a character and will significantly impact the game’s ending.
The game’s guide map has also been updated to provide easier to read navigation, and the addition of fast travel points will make moving around the world more comfortable. Interestingly, the game will also allow you to toggle which voice actor you would like to hear, as there are different voice casts for the Japanese version of Star Ocean 2: either The Second Story or Second Evolution. They can even be changed on a character-by-character basis.
Check out the full gameplay overview trailer below.