Star Ocean: The Second Story R Review - Back to the Future
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Star Ocean: The Second Story R Review - Back to the Future

The Star Ocean franchise has been an underappreciated one within the Japanese RPG genre. Despite being around for more than 25 years, it's never had the breakout success that elevated it to new heights, as something like Persona or Tales have had in more recent years. Many longtime fans consider 1999's Star Ocean: The Second Story to be the best entry, and now Square Enix has remade it for modern consoles. Star Ocean: The Second Story R is a remake that manages to not only have the retro feel of its older PS1 and PSP incarnations, but also make it feel fresh with new battle mechanics, as well as audio and visuals updates. It may not be the big break that’ll finally make the Star Ocean franchise explode in popularity, but it’s a fine Japanese RPG on its own terms.

The Second Story's plot follows an energetic young man named Claude C. Kenny and a caring young girl named Rena Lanford. After disobeying his father's orders and touching a malfunctioning piece of teleportation equipment, Claude accidentally lands on a backwater planet called Expel, runs into Rena, and has to protect her from a monster. These two characters are the core focus of the story, and their respective motivations and situations make for great plot drivers. In an effort to find a way to return home, Claude agrees with the local village to investigate the Sorcery Globe, a mysterious meteor-like object that crashed into Expel, causing the surrounding area to be infested with monsters. As he’s from a technologically advanced society, he thinks that the object could provide clues on how to get off of Expel. Rena, meanwhile, is an orphan and hopes to uncover more of her own past, as she is the only person on Expel to be blessed with natural healing powers.

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