STAR OCEAN: Second Evolution - PSP - Preview
Square-Enix has been visiting its Star Ocean franchise recently, releasing the series on the PSP in lead up to the upcoming Xbox 360 entry Star Ocean: The Last Hope. Last month saw the release of the first remake, Star Ocean: The First Departure, while January will see the second PSP entry of the series, Star Ocean: Second Evolution.
A remake of Star Ocean: Second Story on the original PlayStation, Second Evolution is mostly the same as the PS One version, save for some new enhancements like voice work, anime cutscenes, and reworked graphics that take advantage of the PSP’s gorgeous screen.
Second Evolution begins by having you select between two different characters, Claude and Rena, as Claude gets separated from his world and ends up getting roped into being the savior of Rena’s. The game gives you a nice way to look at the full perspective of the story by allowing you to be either one character to see their interpretation of the events that unfold.
The majority of the gameplay is fairly similar to other RPGs that launched on the original PlayStation, meaning that you’ll spend a lot of time going from town to town, talking to villagers and running quests into dungeons and so on. The whole experience is pretty old-school, which is understandable considering that the game is a remake of a game from several console generations ago.
The game’s combat system is a fast-paced affair that has you utilizing the X and shoulder buttons to attack and perform your special arts attacks. The combat moves very fast and fluidly, which does well for the flow of the game.
Graphically, the game looks just like the PSP original, with the same 2D sprites set against detailed static backgrounds. The look has been updated to take advantage of the PSP’s widescreen capabilities, with higher resolutions and sharper textures.
The game features the same score as the original, but now also boasts a ton of voice acting. While the dialogue is a bit stilted, it’s still nice to have it in the game.
So far, Star Ocean: Second Evolution is shaping up to be a solid remake of a beloved classic, and should be just the primer that fans of the series will want to check out before the launch the brand new Xbox 360 title. Look for it to release January 20.