October 21, 2008
The Star Ocean series began in 1996 with a Super Famicon release in Japan. Americans got to experience the sequel, Star Ocean: The Second Story, on PlayStation in 1999, but really this has been a back seat RPG series for Americans on focused on the other RPG series from Square Enix.
With a title now on the PlayStation Portable in Star Ocean: First Departure, we get to see a alternative battle-based adventure with some very good animation, voice acting, and cutscenes.
The game takes you to the planet Roak, where a group of friends — Roddick Farrence, Millie Chliette, and Dorne Murtough –are in the small town of Kratus. Bandits descend on the town, and you have to fight them off. Pretty simple stuff so far, but after the first few hours of gameplay, you get to board a space ship. The fun really starts there.
This is a very basic RPG with a few twists. As your character levels up, you get to spend skill points as you please to raise your strengths. Instead of getting lost in a half-hour battle every few minutes, the fights take place in real time and go by really quickly.
Old school Golden Sun and Shining Force fans will defintiely appreciate the look and feel of First Departure. With the popularity of the DS and the PSP, we get to relive the old school-looking RPG games, but don’t underestimate how good the graphics and sound are on this game.
After all, it is a Square RPG.