Reviewed By: Joey

Computer Platform: Sony Playstation
Produced by: Enix
Price Range: $20-40
Learning curve time: 20 mins.
Age level: 6+
ESRB Rating: Everyone

Genre: Roleplaying Game (RPG)
Christian Rating: 4 of 5
   (slightly offensive)
Gameplay: 5 of 5
Violence: 4 of 5
   (barely present)
Adult Content: 5 of 5

Screenshot from 'Star Ocean: The Second Story'. Illustration copyrighted.
"Star Ocean: The Second Story" is a really fun futuristic RPG for the Playstation. It's the sequel to "Star Ocean", a game never released in America, that has little to do with the plot of the Second Story. The game takes place in a future similar to Star Trek. Humans have expanded into space, and have formed the Earth Federation, which seems to help in governing the galaxy, but plays very little part in the game. At the beginning of the game, the player can choose either of two main characters, Claude or Rena. The basic plot is that Claude, whose father is a major commander in the Earth Federation, is teleported to a remote planet, Expel, where he meets Rena. The planet is going through a crisis because of something called the “Sorcery Globe” that hit it, and the main characters go to investigate it. From there, the plot only gets more detailed.

A few unique features to this game are the real-time battle system, giving the battles a feel more like that of a fighting game than an RPG, and the voice clips. Players control one party member (the rest are controlled by computer) and direct that character's every move in battle. This produces extremely fun battles that will leave the player entertained throughout the game. Another unique feature is the voice clips. When in battle, characters say things depending on what is happening. There are somewhere around 1200 voice clips.

“Star Ocean” has little that is offensive in it. First of all, there is almost no profanity. One of the few instances is the main character exclaiming 'damn' when he gets hit in battle occasionally. As far as sexuality, there is none. Violence is minor. In battles, people run around hitting each other with swords and other weapons, but none of this is graphic. The main reasons that this game seems to be so innocent is that it seems directed towards kids.

Screenshot from 'Star Ocean: The Second Story'. Illustration copyrighted. If there were any offensive material, it would be in the area of religion and magic. As in most RPGs, magic is real in this one, and not a force of evil as it is in the real world. It is called “heraldry,” possibly to make it seem less similar to magic, and is fairly unimportant to the game plot. And, as in most RPGs, it is fairly harmless morally, provided the player knows that using real magic is a sin. The other area that could be offensive would be occasional references to God, or a god. This usually comes in reference to the main villains, “the Ten Wise Men of God.” Usually they are merely referred to as “the Ten Wise Men,” but occasionally the game adds “of God” onto the end. I have no reason why they did this because the villains never have anything to do with any divinity. The other area where a god is mentioned is the rare reference to the "god of creation, Tria," which is a bit of a parody since one of the companies involved in creating this game is Tri Ace.

Overall, this game is fairly harmless, as long as the player knows that reality doesn't work like "Star Ocean". The player needs to know that there is one god, the God of the Bible, and that he would never send “bad guys.” He needs to know that magic, in real life, is a sin, and not used like in "Star Ocean". With even a semi-solid Christian foundation, this game is harmless, though very fun.

Year of Release—1999

I thought that this game was very stupendous. I myself have played through this game 9 times. Each time I played through this game I used a completely different team and was amazed each time I played with it. All the characters are highly interactive with each other and in battle, each character has an amazingly wide variety of “special” moves. I recommend this game to anyone that plays RPG's. It is a must have game if you are a hardcore RPG player. Currently I'm playing through this for my 10th time, so you can tell by my comments that this is definitely a game to look into.
   —Aaron, age 16

It was a pretty tight game. I loved the fighting style! It was one of the best I have experienced…it took me 60 hours to beat it the first time cause I took the time to level up in the hidden dungeons to 221 and the game wasn't easy like most rpg games like ff9 and ff8. But other than that I think that a lot of people should experience this game just cause it tests you in your rpg skills… My Ratings: [4/5]
   —Tyler Jordan Myers, age 15

I really liked the game, but couldn't add more to the general review. But I can answer why the ten sages are called 'the ten sages of god'. This is because SPOILER… … they were created as guardian angels for Nede. This IS mentioned in the game, but as a secret. Originally they were there to protect people. However, at one point the creator of the tensome lost his daughter, Philia, who appears in this rpg as an angel (during the fight with gabriel/idelacio, and also in a short scene where she wants the main hero to kill her before HE (Gabriel) finds out. The hero obviously does not kill her), due terrorists. And obviously he went mad. He programmed the sages (yep, they were programmable, like angels of the bible they lack free will…so far) to destroy the world. However, they did not (why is speculation. my guess is that Lucifer convinced them that 'destroying the old order' is like destroying the world in a way too), they tried to take it over, but soon foresaw they would fail. That is why they SEALED THEMSELVES into the eternity sphere. To come back later on. My Ratings: [3/5]
   —Nana Skyshov, age 24

Star Ocean 2 is a great game with much fun and enjoyment to be had. There are 86 endings, 12 playable characters and even two different worlds to play on!
   —Ron Fred

Actually in the Japanese version of this game there were many references to homosexuality and drunkenness. They knew that Americans would be offended and consequentially took them out. That explains all the references to “tea” making you drunk. Since most of the offensive material was removed, I agree that this game is a good one. My Ratings: [4/5]
   —Joshepy Mohoel, age 23

First of all, I'd like to praise the writer of the review. He was able to point out the God of Creation, Tria thing without saying that the game is heavily influenced by pagan ideas. I've seen reviews of this game that said that because of Tria. He even pointed out the parody. Also, he pointed out that the game was harmless if people realize that Star Ocean is not reality. That's a FIRST I've heard in a review from a Christian Web site, and a rule I (in most cases) follow… BATTLE: The battle system is unique and deep. On a rare occasion you can combo spells, though I haven't figured out what that does other than shows the animations at the same time yet, since they're pretty hard to do (for me, at least). You can trap your enemy between two fighters and tear them apart, or stay away from them and cast spells quickly to subdue them (slowly, if they have a lot of HP). Another unique aspect of the battle system are the killer moves. Your fighter characters can use killer moves, ranging from hitting your enemy with a wave of air to splitting into 3 and hurting them in a deadly triangle. Your killer moves also level up. The more you use them, the more damage or the more hits they do. Same with spells, but I don't notice as big of a damage difference there. GRAPHICS: The graphics are sort of a mixed bag. The sprites are well done, and the backgrounds likewise, but the world map leaves A LOT to be desired. Look at your main mode of transportation throughout the second half of the game, and you'll see what I mean. The KMs and spells are very well done also, sometimes polygonal, sometimes using sprites, sometimes a mixture of both. There is one anime sequence in the ending, and though it's short, the animations is very good. The FMV sequences are also very good, but they never seem to feature any living thing other than plants, which is probably due to the fact that Links isn't great with character animations, which is all right. The item pictures look good and rotate nicely, without graphical glitches. Even item creation looks good. STORY: The story's good, but it's not the main reason to play the game (as a matter of fact, I play it because it's fun, and skip through the story now). You can be two characters, Claude or Rena. Claude is a young man in the military, and the son of Roxanis Kenni, a high ranking military official. Rena is a young woman who wants to find out about her mysterious past. Their fates entwine when Claude is transported to Rena's planet, Expel, and finds Rena being attacked by a monster. Being the nice guy that he is, Claude jumps in and saves rena from the ape, and their relationship builds from there. With plenty of unexpected turns and side quests, the story is excellent. Claude and Rena's story lines also have some differences, dealing with the character. You'll learn more about Rena's past, and more about Claude's feelings about the military, his father, etc. DEPTH: I had to add this, because SO2 so needlessly deep. First, there are optional characters, MOST of the characters are optional, as a matter of fact. You could go through the whole game with just claude and rena. You have to go out of your way to get most of the characters, too. The effects of responding to a rumor about a dragon or going into a cave with a stranger might not be clear at first, but take up every task that presents itself to you, and you'll be pleased. Then there's item creation. Oh, the glory of item creation! You can make new, powerful weapons by combining an old weapon and a mineral, you can forge your own jewelry, you can cook, blacksmith, even duplicate (some) items. There are so many ways to use item creation, it's not even funny. There's a secret dungeon, with monsters stronger than the last boss of the game. It took me as long as it did to get to the dungeon to beat it my first time. But it's still fun, despite it's extremely high difficulty. SOUND: The soundtrack is awesome. No questions asked. “Stab the Sword of Justice,” the battle theme, is very good, and one of my favorite MP3s. KA.MI.KA.ZI, Incarnation of the Devil (what am I thinking, putting that here?), Come on Bunny, Mighty Blow (used in Valkerie Profile, another good game by the same creators, and Star Ocean the original, I heard), the list of great songs in this game goes on and on. The sound effects are good. I really don't know how sound effects could be bad… unless there's a sound of breaking china when you walk. The voices during battles are well done and there are a lot of them. The clip they say is influenced by what kind of attack they use, how much they got hurt, their affections towards other characters, stuff like that. There are some random alternate clips for attacks, those are pretty rare. And the voice collection has an actual use in the game- when you get about 60% of the voices, you can access the other two difficulty modes, Galaxy and Universe. REPLAY VALUE: With an awesome battle system that blows everything out of the water, a good, nice, appropriate story ("God's Ten Wise Men" is used only once during the whole game, if my memory serves me right), likable characters, item creation, good graphics, good voice acting, 3 difficulty levels, and over 80 endings, this game will keep you busy for quite a while. I've spent over 200 hours on this game, and I'm playing ANOTHER file. Make sure you have plenty of memory card space when you play this game. You'll need it. My Ratings: [5/5]
   —Little Heero Yuy, age 14

Actually, in the original Japanese version, the Ten Wise Men had different names. They are: Zaphikel, Jophiel, Metatron, Kamael, Raphael, Zadkiel, Haniel, Michael, Lucifer, Gabriel. Due to the seemingly ostentatious nature of the names, I will stress that I *am* serious. There are numerous guides that were written before the American release that have the original names in them. Here is a link to such a FAQ for validity's sake. It's fairly easy to see why the names were changed in this [U.S.A.] country. However, I don't believe the reasoning or meaning behind the names is to demonize Christianity. Also, there are a few indirect references to homosexuality in the game, though nothing that actually condones it. My Ratings: [4/5]
   —PAC, age 18

…the replay value of this game is amazing. As you progress through the game, there are a number of different characters you can pick up every time you play the game. Also, a good deal of the plot depends on what Private Actions you take during the course of the game. I found that added a lot to the gameplay. Also, since the endings are based upon the relationships of the characters in the game, there are over 86 possible endings. On the other hand, however, there are some rather unchristian elements to the game. One of the possible characters, a small blue-haired boy with cat ears named Leon, is essentially a demon-summoner. Walking around with his book (his attack is essentially to just open the book and watch a purple demon thwack somebody over the head with a sword), his magic spells involve summoning any number of demons and gremlins to aide him in battle. Another character, Ashton, is possessed by a dragon. Despite a fairly good review I noticed that the reviewer failed to mention these things about the game. My Ratings: [3/3]
   —Glenn Nagle, age 18

I found Star Ocean quite enjoyable. I liked the characters, their development and the idea of ALL THE ENDINGS! I can't remember the exact number, but there are above 60 endings you can get. Dias Flac is by far the kewlest character, with his killer sword. And one of the most enjoyable things about this game was the different Battle system, kind like a Fighting game, and no stops. It ruled, and I don't remember any language. It was overall a great RPG (Great is about 50 points below what FFVII Is…FVII can't be TOUCHED!). Quite enjoyable, and not addicting like other RPGS (at least not for me). 'nuff said. My Ratings: [5/5]
   —Logan, age 16

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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