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Star Ocean: First Departure

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GF Rating
7.5

659 ratings

Critic & User Reviews

GF Rating
8

Very Good

A New Classic

posted by Rolander (ALBERTVILLE, MN) Jan 19, 2009

Member since Jul 2007

7 out of 7 gamers (100%) found this review helpful

Star Ocean: First Departure may technically be a remake, but the original game (a japan-only SNES release) was so different from this version that it's hard to think of it in such terms. First Departure was modeled after the second game in the series, Star Ocean 2, in nearly every way. Other than a bit of complexity getting from one side of the world to the other, the results are hard to complain about.

The Good:
• Uses the fast-paced and fun battle system from Star Ocean 2.
• Great skill system.
• Classic looking character sprites give the game a nice retro feel, while rendered scenery, new character art and nicely animated opening add plenty of eye candy.
• There are many characters to choose from with a limited number of party slots, meaning you won't be able to get all of the characters in your party the first play-through.

The Bad:
• Navigating between locations is a pain. It's nearly impossible to keep track of the continent, towns and shipping routes you need to traverse without a guide.
• Hot-and-cold voice acting.
• The story is fairly straightforward.
• Difficulty is fairly easy, especially if you use your skill points wisely.
• No "New Game +" mode once you finish the game.

Final Opinion:
If you are willing to peek at a guide to get you back on track once or twice, Star Ocean: First Departure is an addictive PS1-era RPG that is charming, fast paced and not overly challenging. This is easily one of the most polished RPGs available for the PSP and well worth a look!

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GF Rating
9

Excellent

A great classic role-playing game

posted by Katosepe (MISSOULA, MT) Nov 23, 2008

Member since Apr 2006

2 out of 2 gamers (100%) found this review helpful

Star Ocean is truly a step back to RPG roots while still having the feel of innovation. The graphics have a strong old-school feel but the game is huge and extremely unique. With it's fully real-time fighting system and unique skill and crafting system, it is very much unlike any other game on the market.

Gameplay: 9/10
For an RPG, it's unusual to have a fighting system that is actually fun but Star Ocean manages it perfectly. The system is completely real-time, with normal combo attacks being executed with the X button and special attacks being set to the R and L triggers. Outside of battle too, the crafting and skill systems leave much to do as far as customization. Essentially, you gain skills throughout the game that you can level up for each character. These skills are increased with skill points, gained at every experience level up. Skills can do anything from add a power boost to allowing your character to cook food. Also, when enough characters have enough specialities (that is, the ability to make an item or help the party outside of battle), they can perform a team special that uses everyone's abilities together. The one drawback lie in the weak A.I. for both friendly characters and enemies.

Storyline: 8/10
The character storylines are great, allowing great depth into each individual character's backgrounds and future endeavors but the overall storyline is filled with plot holes. It's not bad but just don't look too closely if you want a good experience.

Graphics: 9/10

The sprites and backgrounds look spectacular. The only reason i knocked it down to a 9 is because the world map can look very pixelly even for a SNES gen game.

Sound: 10/10

The voice-overs are amazing and the music is very catchy. Definitely one you will want headphones for so you don't miss a second.

Replay: With tons of different characters to recruit and plenty of Personal Events, you can't experience everything in just one playthrough. Also has a bonus dungeon too

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GF Rating
9

Excellent

Old school for the win

posted by Molechan (HARDIN, MT) Jul 21, 2009

Member since Jun 2008

1 out of 1 gamers (100%) found this review helpful

To start off, this was back when just plain saving the world hadn't been done to death, so the story is your typical "plucky blue haired teenager" adventure but it's presented in a way that doesn't clench the stomach of well seasoned RPG veterans or put off any newcomers jaded by shiny graphics and introspective storylines. On top of that the main cast stands out from most typical epic adventure parties due in part to their unique and oft times hilarious interactions during PAs, or "private actions." To get a full sense of each character's individual motivations and personalities these mini sequences are an absolute must, otherwise the numerous optionally recruitable characters you come across quickly fade into the background except for taking up space in your party roster. This is especially true with characters like fellow blue haired teen T'Nique and the semi-feral Pericci who become recruitable much later and thus have less impact on the overall narrative. With near endless ways to mix this oddball cast each play-through is fully customizable.
As far as gameplay, the system is virtually identical to its protege Star Ocean 2 in nearly every respect. Skills and Item Creation are nearly games in themselves although less easily picked up on if you ignore the tutorials to the point where you're at the end of the game and still using ineffective store bought swords (not that the author knows anything about that), and side quests pop out of every pixellated corner, opening up avenues for the level hungry or gear-obsessed. Battles are fun, fast, and come out at you near constantly while you traverse the world map - which is fine until you are forced to backtrack into lower level areas to forward the story and find yourself fighting level ones for hours.
Star Ocean the first may be a bit on the short side but what they cram in to those select few hours of gameplay will keep you popping this newfangled little number back into your gameQ.

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