Star Ocean: The Second Story shipped

[06.08.99] » Enix's sequel to one of the most popular Japanese RPGs of all time has now shipped to retailers.

   Seemingly coming out of the blue for many RPG enthusiasts, Sony Computer Entertainment America announced today that Enix's Star Ocean: The Second Story, a sequel to one of the most popular Japanese Super Famicom RPGs of all time, has shipped and is expected to arrive in stores either Wednesday or Thursday. The game is a direct sequel to the original Star Ocean, taking place nearly 20 years after the original, with a few character crossovers.

   We gave the game a quick run-through at E3, and while our complete review is forthcoming, Star Ocean 2 is definitely an RPG worthy of excitement. The game boasts an extremely innovative polygonal battle system with multiple combat style choices -- one can choose between a traditional turn-based RPG style, a free-moving real-time system, or a combination of the two. Multi-character combo moves are also incorporated within battles. A "Skill System" allows players to gain various real-world skills and abilities throughout the game, such as artistry, thievery, and -- most importantly -- cooking, a skill long requested by American and Japanese gamers alike. Graphics are extremely impressive, with vibrant, colorful pre-rendered backgrounds, anime-inspired sprites and characters, and a variety of CG sequences. Additionally, based on side-quests known as "Private Actions," "Emotional Points" (points directly related to character interaction) are gained, leading to over 80 possible variations in the ending.

   "STAR OCEAN The Second Story is a true gamer's game, offering a challenging and immersive gaming experience that will draw in all types of players," enthused Ami Blaire, Sony's director of product marketing. "We are truly thrilled to have a company with the incredible heritage and experience that Enix brings producing games for the PlayStation game console -- this exceptional title strengthens PlayStation's position as the leading platform for RPG enthusiasts."

   A promotional movie and six new screen shots from Star Ocean 2 are also available, as well as a comprehensive preview.

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