Star Ocean: Second Evolution is the Playstation Portable remake of Star Ocean: The Second Story Star Ocean, developed by tri-Ace and published by Square Enix. It is the sixth Star Ocean game released. The first details of the game were revealed at the "Star Ocean Special Stage" during the Square Enix Party 2007, alongside those of Star Ocean: First Departure. Yoshinori Yamagishi, producer of the series, stated that he wanted the remakes to feel as though they're completely new games.
As of November 30, 2008, the game has sold 141,218 copies in Japan.
Second Evolution was produced using an improved version of Star Ocean: The Second Story's engine, with improved audio and graphics. The same engine was used for the Star Ocean: First Departure, produced at the same time as this game. Production I.G provided new artwork and animated cutscenes for the game. There are new voice actors and massive amounts of new, fully voiced dialogue.
Plot-wise, a new character, and consequentially, new private actions and endings were added to this game. In terms of gameplay, the game has been virtually unchanged.
Accessory Kit Set
Hori, the Japanese game peripheral manufacturer, have unveiled a Second Evolution-branded PSP accessory set to be released alongside the game on April 2, 2008. The kit includes the following: a limited, gray PSP case with the Star Ocean logo (not a new PSP entirely), matching headphones, a cell phone strap, and finally, 2 UMD cases to hold both First Departure and Second Evolution games. The kit's release seems to coincide with First Departure Eternal Edition package.
Differences between Second Story and Second Evolution
As the game is an enhanced port, there are many differences between the two versions:
- Most locations, items, Talents, Skills, Special Arts (called Killer Moves in the PSX version) and even some characters have been renamed (most notably the Ten Wise Men);
- New voice acting, animated cutscenes and character portraits (as well new art style). All major story events now have voice acting.
- The player now holds the Circle button to walk (rather than to run as it was in Second Story).
- New recruitable character: Welch Vineyard.
- New Private Actions and Endings.
- Unlocking Galaxy and Universe modes now require defeating a specific number of enemies in a single playthrough rather than unlocking voices in the Voice Collection.
- Pratically all Combat Skills have been refined, some being removed (such as Cancel, which is now automatically implemented).
- Gale is now called Godspeed, and along with the increase of movement speed, randomly teleports the character towards the enemy.
- Flip is now called Backstab, and instead of making the character only attack from behind, the character will randomly teleport behind the enemy.
- New Skill: Sidestep, that randomly makes the character evade an incoming attack.
- New Skill: Concentration, that randomly prevents spell cancelation when the character receives damage.
- New Skill: Recast, that reduces recovery time between spells.
- New Skill: Trance, that randomly increases damage dealt from spells.
- The skills Strong Blow, Float, Provocation and Cancel have been removed.
- The combat system has been slightly refined, now allowing all melee fighters to perform a 3-hit combo as their normal attack.
- Additionally, short range anti-air attack no longer makes the character jump.
- Players can press the Square button during some actions to cancel them (such as when the character is running towards an enemy).
- The combat HUD has been toned down to be more light visually and fit better the PSP screen.
- All characters have a cast bar below their MP, which is used for mages to see their recovery time between spells (but also affects non-mages that use casting items such as "The Scream").
- The item timer is now located on the left side of the screen, at the bottom.
- The Super Specialty "Bunny Call" no longer allows the player to "climb" on towns and some terrains. The player now will enter a town upon approaching while in Bunny Form, and can even activate private actions.
- All items in the inventory screen are now depicted as 2D icons.
- Item Creation can be sped up by holding down the X button.
- Many bugs and glitches have been fixed (most notably the infamous random Cave of Trials screen freeze).
- Ring of Lightspeed (called Slayer Ring in Second Story) now works on Dias Flac.
Star Ocean: Second Evolution's protagonists are Claude C. Kenny, son of Ronyx J. Kenny, and Rena Lanford, a young girl living on the planet Expel. Claude, having recently been commissioned as an ensign in the Pangalactic Federation, is given his first mission under the supervision of his father. This first mission is to survey the planet Milokeenia, where a mysterious energy field appears. Once they arrive, they find an alien ruin, filled with mostly broken machinery. Finding a mysterious device in the center of it, Claude begins to examine it close-up, despite orders to keep away from it. Upon getting close to it, the machine activates, teleporting him to Expel.
At approximately the same time, Rena is resting in a forest just outside her village, Arlia. While there, she is assaulted by a monster. Suddenly, Claude teleports into the area, and, seeing Rena being attacked, rushes in to save her, wielding an advanced energy weapon (the Phase Gun that his father gave to him). Upon seeing how she is rescued, Rena decides that Claude is the Hero of Light, spoken of in legends on Expel: he has arrived to an Expel in great danger, he wields a "Sword of Light" and is dressed in "alien raiments." She takes him back to her village, Arlia, for corroboration.
Soon afterwards, the town elder explains to Claude what exactly is going on: Three months ago, a meteorite crashed into Expel. Almost immediately afterwards, monsters began appearing, and natural disasters occurred with increasing frequency and intensity. Believing that these events were related, the people of Expel called the meteorite the "Sorcery Globe". Hoping that the Sorcery Globe may be the key to finding his way home, Claude agrees to investigate it. Rena, still believing that Claude is the Hero of Light, joins up with Claude in the investigation.
One of the things about the game that was hyped were its multiple endings. The exact number is often said to be 87, though it's really 86 with two having minor differences. There is one ending for each character alone and one for each possible pair of characters. If two characters could be recruited together, they can have an ending together. For example, an ending involving Bowman and Precis does not exist as you cannot have both recruited. There are also secret endings involving characters outside of the party. This adds a certain element of replay value to the game; to see all the character endings, it would be necessary to play through the game nine times or more and would require a vast amount of time and effort since the game is quite long not to mention taking the time to get the characters paired up correctly.
Star Ocean: Second Evolution is also the name to a manga being serialized in Dengeki Maoh. The art is by Yoshida Morohe and is based on the game's story, following Rena's point of view, unlike the The Second Story manga.