Star Ocean The Second Story R – Review
Follow Genre: JRPG
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: PS4, PS5, Switch, PC
Tested on: PC

Star Ocean The Second Story R – Review

Site Score
Good: Fun combat with great character building, HD-2D looking at its best
Bad: slower story progression
User Score
(1 votes)
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VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

After the success of the Live a Live remake it only seemed natural that Square Enix would keep on bringing classics back with the HD-2D art style, especially some more obscure ones. Star Ocean is one of those JRPG series that has lived in the shadow of bigger names like Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest for decades, making it the perfect candidate for this treatment. Now, fans of the series and newcomers alike can experience the second entry, which is considered the best in the series, with Star Ocean The Second Story R.


Star Ocean The Second Story R tells the story of two heroes, Claude and Rena. Claude is a young space soldier who ends up lost on an underdeveloped planet that seems to be stuck in the medieval age. Here he encounters Rena, a local girl with some mysterious healing powers. After introducing the locals to his advanced technology, they quickly see Claude as the hero who will save them from the Sorcery Globe, a comet that caused the land to be filled with monsters. While he doesn’t accept the title of hero, Claude and Rena set out on a journey to find this comet, since they hope it will help him get back home and find a clue to the source of Rena’s unique powers.

Let’s get the biggest question you have with these massive franchises out of the way: no you don’t need to be familiar with the series to enjoy Star Ocean The Second Story R. While most of the games in the Star Ocean series series take place in the same universe, all of them tell their own unique story that can be experienced on it’s own. Fans of the series will get some more out of references, and heroes from other entries appear as summons, but none of this is crucial to the plot.

While the narrative of Star Ocean The Second Story R is a good one that has its interesting moments and twists, it doesn’t feel like the central focus of the game. You visit a ton of locations, fix the local problems, and get a small tip to continue your quest. This makes for a slow burner that definitely delivers a competent narrative, but can feel pretty fragmented. These moments, however, are the ones where the game shines. These are the sections that focus on the characters and their relationships. During your playthrough, there are over a dozen party members who can join you, each with their own unique personality and story. Most of them offer a collection of side quests that delve deep into who they are and how they fit into this world. Getting to know these characters and seeing how they interact is one of the biggest strengths of the game. You are further offered small optional interactions between these characters in every location you visit. This makes Star Ocean The Second Story R much more about the journey than the destination, and the friends we made along the way.

And if you can’t get enough of the story even after the credits roll, Star Ocean The Second Story R offers a great way to get even more out of the experience. Since the game features two main characters, you choose between Claude and Rena at the start of the adventure to experience their side of the story. While there is no difference when they are together, there are some story sections that split them up and offer two sides of the events, adding a ton of replay value.


As we mentioned before, Star Ocean The Second Story R features the now iconic HD-2D graphics that Square Enix has been using for the past few years. Pixelated characters are presented with fluid movements against a 3D background, creating a great contrast that combines the old with the new. This fits the game perfectly and brings the classic look of the original to the new generation. It’s also clear that they stepped up their game, delivering the most vibrant backgrounds and effects that we have seen in this art style. The game also pays respect to the original. The Second Story R offers small options, like changing the character sprites to the original ones from previous versions. It’s small details like this that show that the developers put in a lot of work.


If there is one thing that Square Enix always puts a ton of care into, it’s the sound design of their games. It’s no wonder there are tons of CDs and concerts featuring the soundtracks of beloved SE series. That same amount of care has been given to the sound design of Star Ocean The Second Story R. Each track sounds epic and perfectly fits the atmosphere of the location you visit. This remake features a completely rearranged soundtrack but also offers the option to switch to the original at any given moment.

The same can be said for the voice acting. Almost the entire experience is voiced, and all actors, especially the more prominent characters, deliver a good performance. There is also an option to choose between English and Japanese voices, but this can’t be done on the fly like with the soundtrack.


Star Ocean The Second Story R is an action JRPG that puts a lot of focus on character building. The game has a formula seen in most classic JRPGs: visiting a location, fighting a ton of monsters, and moving on to the next one to continue your quest.

People who have played another game from the Star Ocean series will be pretty familiar with the combat in this game. You take a party of four into battle and take control of your leader. The basic combat consists of an attack button and a dodge button that can place you behind the enemy if you time it right. To further enhance your arsenal, there are two special attacks that can be used, giving you access to more damage-dealing abilities or ways to break your enemy’s defenses. While you’re fighting for your life, your party members are controlled by the computer to assist you in your battles. There are a ton of ways to customize their AI to fit your playstyle, for example by limiting their magic usage or letting them focus on the same enemy. If their abilities seem more fun than yours, you can always take control of them on the fly. All of this comes together in a fast-paced combat system that feels fun and it also rewards optimizing character building.

The character building is where Star Ocean The Second Story R delivers a very engaging and expansive experience. Defeating enemies nets you experience points that allow you to level up and boost your stats. But aside from these experience points, you’ll also earn two other resources: battle points and skill points. Batlle points can be used to power up special moves or give certain stats a boost to get advantages such as dealing more damage or making it easier to dodge attacks. With this, you can build characters how you want and choose where their focus lies. Skill points, on the other hand, have a bigger impact outside the battles and grant your characters abilities like fishing and crafting. Choosing what each party member will focus on to get the most out of their abilities is a joy and makes all of them stand out in their own way. making these resources readily available was a good idea by the developers since you’ll constantly be interacting with these systems.

Fighting enemies and gearing up your characters is also a lot of fun, especially in the expansive world of The Second Story R. Aside from the main story there are a ton of side quests, mostly focusing on party members and their stories. This offers up a ton of optional dungeons and treasures, making it a rewarding experience that you want to sink your teeth in. Aside from the side content is a relations system between the party members that flesh out their relationships. During the game, there are dozens of optional interactions throughout the world, and luckily they are well presented on the map so you won’t have to miss a thing. This expanded map is one of the quality-of-life updates the remake offers, along with a fast travel option that will save you a bunch of time. Other changes are pretty small since most of the updates are with the presentation of the game.


Star Ocean The Second Story R is a must-play for JRPG fans, especially those looking for a nostalgic experience. The narrative is a slow but steady journey, but the amazing characters and interactions make up for it big time. Splitting up the story moments with fun combat and great character development keeps you constantly engaged, especially with the stellar presentation. Remaking classical games with the HD-2D style was one of the best ideas Square Enix has had in a decade, so we hope the upcoming Dragon Quest Three remake will get the same amount of care.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Star Ocean The Second Story R - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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