Star Ocean First Departure review

Most gamers in the west would have heard of Star Ocean, yet this re-mastered version on the PSP was only originally released in Japan. This is the chance for role-playing fans to get their hands on a brand new version of the game complete with CGI sequences, full voice acting for most of the characters and a brand new real-time combat system.

The game begins like something straight out of a science fiction movie. An inter-galactic war is raging and the crew of the starship Calnus beam down to the planet of Roak. From the sci-fi intro you’re then in the realm of fantasy as you control a group of kids on the planet Roak who go on a mission to collect herbs from a mountain-top in order to cure people of a plague that’s turning everyone to stone. It’s whilst you’re up there you encounter the Calnus crew and you’re all beamed into the past to try and stop the events that lead to everyone turning to stone in the first place.

In terms of role-playing you’ll know what to expect. You talk to townsfolk, go into houses and take stuff from their chests without them minding, then use items to improve your characters’ stats and make them stronger.

When out of the villages, random encounters spin you into a close-up view of your three characters and now the real-time combat begins. You can hot-swap between any of the three and give the monsters a good bashing. Unfortunately combat isn’t that exciting and as long as you have enough HP you can just wade in and hammer the X button until everything’s been killed.

What I really like about Star Ocean on the PSP is its presentation. The pre-rendered backgrounds look fantastic and the music serves to set the scene well. Even the voice acting is of a high quality which can’t be said about a lot of games that stem originally stem from Japan.

This one will keep you going for hours and hours whilst you’re on your travels. If you like to mix fantasy role-playing with a hint of science fiction then this one’s for you. Star Ocean gets a very good 7 out of 10.

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