Thursday, November 2, 2023

Demo Play Thursday - Star Ocean: The Second Story R On PS4

For this week's Demo Play Thursday i played the PlayStation 4 version of Star Ocean: The Second Story R.  This DEMO, from developers Gemdrops, is also out on PS5, Switch, and PC.

Star Ocean is a series of games that i've never really played. i think i have a couple of the games, but even then i've maybe only played an hour of each. There's something about them that doesn't seem to grab me, but it's been so long since i last played one it's difficult to remember exactly why. But seeing this remake of the second Star Ocean game, especially with it's unique art style, had a DEMO got me interested as it offered a way to try the game without buying it.

As a DEMO, it's great. before the game starts, it clearly says what this DEMO is, what it's limitations are, and where/when it ends. It's most of the start of the game, which means that it also includes the tutorials for the game. So in this DEMO we get the backstory to what i presume is the first game, Star Ocean: First Departure R, first before it moves onto telling this game's story. in the hour i played we also got a lot of world building and some useful, tho not great, tutorials. the last tutorial i got was how to parry but i couldn't get it to work. the game tells us how to do something without showing us. it feels like a waste of screen space that could've been used to show us rather than just telling us.

The standout feature of this DEMO, and the game itself, are the graphics. it's a mix of pixel art, similar to the style introduced by Octopath Traveller, and 3D environments. it mostly works fine, but on PS4 there are moments where it looks like the characters are floating on the world as there's a lack of shadows by their feet. also, near the end of the video i did find navigating the overworld a little tricky as it was a bit difficult to know what our character could and couldn't walk over. One nice addition, that i didn't go into in this DEMO, is the ability to switch the game soundtracks from the original PS1 version to this new one's soundtrack.

As a DEMO, i felt that it works well. it could've been a bit better here and there as a DEMO, but as a representation of the start of Star Ocean: The Second Story R i feel that i does a good job in highlighting how accessible the game is to new players whilst also slowly introducing us the world without it feeling overwhelming. it's a very accessible DEMO which leads me to suspect that at the very least the start of Star Ocean: The Second Story R is also very accessible and maybe even a decent choice for people new to Star Ocean or new to RPG's in general.