Square Enix Star Ocean: First Departure
The original Star Ocean was a groundbreaking debut for newly formed developer Tri-Ace.
- Beautiful graphics, little to no loading times, fantastic voice acting
- Dense AI, story tends to drag, Roddick... walks... so... slow...
The original Star Ocean finally comes to US shores and gamers on this side of the world are in for a fantastic RPG experience.
Price$ 69.95 (AUD)
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.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei P10 smartphone review
- 2 Huawei P10 Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Motorola Moto G5 smartphone review
- 4 Oppo A57 phone: full, in-depth review
- 5 Moto G5 Plus phone: full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Destiny 2: The 5 key things PC gamers need to know
- The Windows 10 Game Bar: What PC gamers need to know
- Microsoft's Phantom Dust remaster brings the cult Xbox classic to PCs, for free
- This year's Steam Summer Sale dates have already leaked
- How to play the Quake Champions open beta this weekend
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Huawei P10 smartphone review
- Huawei P10 Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- Moto G5 smartphone: full, in-depth review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- FTSenior Software Developer (x3)WA
- FTNodeJS and AngularJS DeveloperQLD
- FTSenior .Net DeveloperVIC
- FTData ScientistACT
- TPAEM DeveloperNSW
- FTEnterprise ArchitectVIC
- FTBusiness Improvement ManagerNSW
- CCSenior PMO AnalystNSW
- CCSenior DeveloperNSW
- FTPHP DeveloperNSW
- FTCyber Security Technical WriterNSW
- FTSenior Infrastructure Engineer (Windows & Virtualization)VIC
- CCProcess Improvement Specialist - TelcoVIC
- CCState-wide Business Transition LeadQLD
- FTStorage EngineerSA
- FTTest Engineer | $92 p/hrVIC
- CCSalesforce DeveloperNSW
- FTSecurity ConsultantVIC
- CCPMO CoordinatorNSW
- TPTechnical AnalystVIC
- FTSenior Citrix Engineer / LeadNSW
- FTProject SchedulerQLD
- FTResearch Officer / Data Scientist .Work Location- ACTACT
- FTSystem AnalystNSW