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Star Ocean: The Second Story

by The White Dragon

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Original Thread: Let's Destory The World in Star Ocean: The Second Story




Yeah, Enix is pretty much the only company that could make a huge fucking disaster like that.

I guess LINKS didn't do a bad job. They didn't do a good job either, but... you know what, we'll get there when we get there. For now, this is some badass 1998 CG.

Gee, with all this technological stuff, you'd think that this game would be more tech-ey than a Star Trek Engineering Bay simulation.

You would also be very, very incorrect.

Still, nothing completely offensive to the sensibilities yet.

Well thanks, game; consider my sensibilities officially offended.

For the record: if you like Motoi Sakuraba, this may not be the LP for you, because I don't, and I will rip on him like hell. In fact, I think he's pretty much the worst thing since raw algorithmic composition.




And we are off to a GREAT START.

STAR OCEAN: THE SECOND STORY, more commonly referred to as Star Ocean 2, is (obviously) the second in a long line of games that started out bad, got really fun, and then just went straight downhill from there and, thanks to Enix's greedy-ass CEOs, is destined to gather no moss.

SO2 is, in spite of its glaring flaws, my favorite game in the bulk of the series that I've played. I haven't played the fourth entry and do not plan to, ever.

I know these are just setup screens, but basically they're a preview for the amazing translation work that shows up in this game.

But since we're taking care of custodial things, and because I did play the first game in the series, let me set up some backstory for you.

STAR OCEAN was about some furry named Ratix who goes on some adventure and does some... well, something. On the other hand, Star Ocean also co-starred Admiral Ronixis J. Kenni who steals a starship, learns black magic, kills a bunch of terrorists, and has sex with his lieutenant, who gives birth to:

This. I imagine that Jack Bauer Ronixis feels the same secret shame about his son as does Hank Hill about his own.

There are two playable characters in this game. While they both follow the same linear storyline, they occasionally have branching paths and dialogues, giving this game quite a lot of replay value, and that's not even counting the two-hundred-something endings this game has on top of the two main viewpoints.

Both characters are useful in their own way, and both terrible in every other (this includes being characters in a video game).

We are going to be playing as Rena. Claude has a few fun Private Actions, such as checking out chicks in the street with a married man, or having a homofabulous time in a bar with another dude, but Rena can recruit a character who is a whole other barrel of laughs in and of himself.

Aloha, aloha kakou. I'm your host, The White Dragon, and this is Let's Play Star Ocean 2, the Cursed LP. Why is it cursed? Because it has a worse record than Paradox threads. But enough about the local history of this game. Let's talk about the game itself.

The battle system is like a simplified, deliciously breakable prototype of the one found in Star Ocean 3: You Are All Animes In An MMO, or whatever its real subtitle was. It is fun as hell; much easier and 100% less infuriating to use than SO3's, and more balanced and wide-open than SO1's (which took place on a single screen, and you could kill everything with the secret character's 1hKO attack. Incidentally, said character was a bespectacled furry whose favorite food was rice balls. No, I'm not kidding).

There are lots of endings, all based on choices you make in the game, how your party members interact in Private Actions, which are entertaining mini-scenes that occur when you go into a city, and which characters you use in battle together. I will be abusing that lattermost option to force the endings I want out of this game for this LP.

There are ten recruitable characters, not counting Claude and Rena who are forced into your party, but 1) you can only have six at a time other than Claude and Rena and 2) taking certain characters precludes recruiting others (e.g., you can't get Bowman if you get Precis and vice versa). Apparently, they changed the number of playable characters and added more in the PSP remake. Not too sure about if they upped the party limit or what.

Item Creation was brought back from Star Ocean 1. In this game, they improved on the system both in terms of utility and visuals. In SO1, item creation was basically "oh fuck I'm out items in the middle of a dungeon," but in SO2, it's where you make the things to break the hell out of this game. It's how you make the penultimate weapons. It's how you make massive amounts of money before leaving the first planet. It's how you get to Level 100 (out of 255) before getting a third of the way through the game. I will, of course, be utilizing everything. The best part, though: you can see your item creation ingredients turning into other objects, polygons all stretching and crunching, right before your very eyes! It's one of the highlights of my childhood gaming experiences. Clearly, I was very easily amused (I still am).

The pre-rendered backgrounds are amazing and I will never, ever shut up about them. Opposite of liking Motoi Sakuraba, if you don't like pre-rendered backgrounds, this LP is also probably not for you either.

So, Star Ocean 2. The plot is terrible. The dialogue is hilarious when it shouldn't be. The translation is... well. The voice acting--and oh. boy. is there voice acting--is about as good as you'd expect for a game that came out just as console voice acting was starting to become popular. However, the game knows all this. It is a bad game and I make fun of it all the time, but honestly, I find it entirely endearing because of this. I'mna preach for a second, so bear with me: all too many games these days are so ridiculous but act like they're goddamn Shakespeare or someshit. Working Designs had the right idea, shame about them. Clearly, I'm not a fan of Persona or SMT or FF12 or whatever else kids these days consider "deep" and "philosophical" or whatever. I'm in it to have fun, and if I'm otherwise tickled, then great. But I'm usually not, and games these days try too hard to do just that.

And on that note, Let's Play some Star Ocean 2... but first...

Shigesato Itoi encouraged people who played the Earthbound/Mother-series games to name their characters to make it a personal experience. So, let's make it a personal experience: do any goons want to save the fuckin' universe? Here are 12 characters with link-pictures. SO2 is a Japanese game, so they are anime-heavy. Don't say I didn't warn you. I will be using eight. If you know who joins on certain characters' paths, please don't say who. Do join in or, if you don't want to, do suggest a name, but your character may or may not be in the final party. You may or may not ever even appear. But hey, that's how it goes sometimes, right? Sooooooo:

Tallgeese, some hero with a laser gun sword.
Billy, some heroine with healing magic.
ZeeToo, some ho with attack magic.
Valvados is Valvados.
VietTam, some chick with three eyes.
Senrath is a dude with a huge third eye (on his face).
Penguin is a fucking furry.
Knox is, like most goons, fat, stumpy, and has a samurai sword collection.
Larry is a doctor. Think "Chase" rather than "House."
Panic!... where to even start.
Nemo has like three lines of text in the ENTIRE GAME, but breaks it so wide open that you will never die as long as he is in your party.
OPTIMUS, the super-secret character, is so glitched that you can beat unbeatable bosses with her. No, I'm not just saying that.

And so it begins, I guess.

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