Square Enix Star Ocean: First Departure

The original Star Ocean was a groundbreaking debut for newly formed developer Tri-Ace.

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now 17
Square Enix Star Ocean: First Departure
  • Square Enix Star Ocean: First Departure
  • Square Enix Star Ocean: First Departure
  • Square Enix Star Ocean: First Departure

Pros

  • Beautiful graphics, little to no loading times, fantastic voice acting

Cons

  • Dense AI, story tends to drag, Roddick... walks... so... slow...

Bottom Line

The original Star Ocean finally comes to US shores and gamers on this side of the world are in for a fantastic RPG experience.

Would you buy this?

  • Buy now (Selling at 17 stores)

See all prices

Initially released in 1996 for the Super Famicon, the original Star Ocean was a ground-breaking debut for newly formed developer Tri-Ace. Both critics and fans praised the effort and it became evident that established role-playing franchises such as Final Fantasy and the Tales series suddenly had a new rival to compete with. Unfortunately, US gamers never got a chance to experience Star Ocean, a crime that's being rectified with the release of First Departure on the PSP. It's been twelve years but man was it worth the wait.

On the medieval planet of Roak, a young man named Roddick dreams of excitement that his patrol with the city's defence brigade just can't satisfy. Once the citizens of Roak begin to suffer from a strange and deadly disease, adventure quickly finds Roddick as he sees himself taken to the stars by a pair of technologically advanced humans, and sent on a quest through the timeline of his home world's past in order to save its future. Star Ocean boasts a clever and innovative story that's held up well over the years. Even though the main plot tends to drag a few hours in, the sheer amount of personality found in each hand-drawn character, beautifully pre-rendered city, or the superbly animated cut scenes courtesy of Production I.G. (Ghost in the Shell, Jin-Roh) are more than enough to pick up the slack.

One of the major distinctions between Star Ocean and other conventional RPGs of its time was its unique real-time battle system — a mechanic that has aged rather gracefully for First Departure. Battles are fast paced and fun, allowing you to switch between any of your party members on the fly for plenty of variety, as well as giving the player the ability to assign spells or special attacks to the PSP's shoulder buttons. The biggest complaint I have with the battles is the games less-than-stellar AI. Party members will often dash towards enemies outmatched and unprepared or use costly and unnecessary spells on the simplest of foes. Thankfully the game gives you quite a bit of leverage over what your characters can and can't do in battle with the addition of a Tactics menu, allowing you to order your party to pull back, lay off of the magic, or if the situation calls for it, simply run!

All in all, Star Ocean: First Departure has aged very well, and remains a unique and innovative RPG full of life and personality. For every played-out gaming convention the twelve year old story offers, there's always a new and fresh idea right around the corner to make up for it — from hidden cut scenes accessed through character driven Private Actions to an extremely deep Skill/Specialty scheme. For both jaded role playing veterans and newcomers alike, Star Ocean: First Departure is a journey full of life and character that's absolutely worth embarking on.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Read more on these topics: psp

Be the first to comment.

Post new comment

Users posting comments agree to the PC World comments policy.

Login or register to link comments to your user profile, or you may also post a comment without being logged in.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?