Star Ocean: Second Evolution (Sony PSP)

One of the best things about Square Enix is the fact that they can go back into their vaults and pull a stellar – but dated in terms of graphics – title and then completely renovate it to the point that even players intimately familiar with the original will have tremendous amounts of fun with the newly-minted release. Star Ocean: Second Evolution is another example of that, as it is a retooling/re-graphiced version of the 1998 (1999 for the North American market) title Star Ocean: The Second Story. The first thing that players familiar with the original title will see is that there are additional cut-scenes, characters, and tremendous amounts of new (or re-voiced) dialogue to immerse oneself in.

The game itself takes places a generation after the original Star Ocean title left off; the story itself is divided between the more medieval-themed planet of Excel and a more advancedspace (think Star Trek) type of setting. As is the case with most Square Enix titles, Star Ocean: Second Evolution attempts to change up the normal RPG (role playing game) experience in its own special way. This is done through the player choosing three options – Auto, Semi-Auto, and Manual. Each gives a degree of game play to the player, either allowing the player to choose all of the different attacks and targeting or giving the PSP’s computer more of a workout. The different skill sets that are available in the title seem to provide little benefit at the lower levels (such as Cooking), but unite at later stages of the game into something that is tremendously useful. These skill-sets are not limited to one individual, either: Super skills are created when members of the party level up in a specific set of skills.

Star Ocean: Second Evolution is a second chance for individuals to go forth and experience a game that they may not have been able to play the first time it was released. The additional features and leg-work done by Square Enix in transferring the game from the Playstation to the PSP ensure that players familiar with the original title will be able to have an equal amount of fun. If you like RPGs, make it a point to pick up Star Ocean: Second Evolution.

Rating: 9.0/10

Star Ocean: Second Evolution (Sony PSP) / 2009 Square Enix / http://www.square-enix.com

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