Star Ocean: The Divine Force Review – Bravely Stalled

Star Ocean: The Divine Force – Does this look like Star Trek? (Photo: Square Enix)

square Enix‘s long-running sci-fi series gets a new entry with an elegant new combat system, but is it good enough to appeal to newcomers?

Square Enix is ​​one of the biggest Japanese publishers in the industry, but it’s very difficult to understand exactly what their plans and motivations are at this point. ubisoftthey haven’t gotten the hint yet Unpopularity of NFT And selling most of their Western IP and developers contradicts their stated desire to appeal more to Western gamers. However, if you thought a game like Star Ocean could take you anywhere, then something else happens.

It’s hard to tell from their typically vague comments on the subject, but Square Enix’s plan is to continue making Japanese-style games, but Abandoned That approach hasn’t been applied to this latest Star Ocean entry, but it’s intentionally old school, and much of its appeal centers around nostalgia for Japanese role players from the PlayStation 2 era.

Star Ocean has been around for longer than that, having appeared on the SNES in 1996, but was not popular outside of its home country. If it is known in the West, it is the fact that it is thought to be inspired by Star Trek. visual conditions. Anyway, that’s what the creators say, despite the fact that it doesn’t look or feel at all like any version of Star Trek.

More than any Star Trek angle, Star Ocean’s biggest claim to fame eschews regular turn-based combat in favor of real-time combat, being one of the first successful action role players to emerge from Japan. about it. It was really ahead of its time in that sense, but of course there’s less turn-based combat now, so it’s not a very distinctive selling point anymore. To be fair, though, combat is the best part of this new game.

The Divine Force is the sixth entry in the series (the last entry was in 2016 honesty and dishonesty), however, nothing should be put off as there is little to do between the sequels. Protagonist Ray agrees to help a local princess in exchange for seeking out the missing crew. She can choose to follow either character or not. This improves replayability as neither character is present in every mission.

As in its tradition, despite its sci-fi angle, Star Ocean can usually find an excuse to indulge in common role-playing tropes involving the use of magic. The plot ends well and is much bigger than it first seems, but before that it’s a jumble of seemingly unrelated encounters and missions, many of which are buried in hindsight. It looks like it is

However, the two leads are very compelling, and the script makes good use of the fact that half of the cast are scientifically illiterate, while the other half live and work in space.

Tales Sales became known for this feature, as Star Ocean failed to leverage its expertise in real-time battles.So fighting in The Divine Force is like Tales of Graces or Tales of XilliaThis means that when combat breaks out, you can move around freely using the combat abilities you’ve assigned to your three primary face buttons.

Instead of Bayonetta-style combos, you can set the order in which you use them in advance and be careful not to get caught when using the action meter bar required to activate them. It’s a system, making combat feel like an action game, but with a focus on tactics and future planning, you don’t need arcade skills to do well.

This approach follows the use of the robot DUMA, which can dash towards an enemy and, with luck, outrun them and gain a special “blindside” attack. DUMA can be used as a shield to reduce the damage taken by the entire party, and it can also be used as a jetpack outside of battle, so there are various uses for each character.

Star Ocean: The Divine Force – Space JRPG (Photo: Square Enix)

The combat system is excellent and could have laid the foundation for a great game, but unfortunately pretty much everything else in The Divine Force is subpar. First of all, it’s one of the most boring open world environments we’ve seen so far, not only visually boring, but with almost complete lack of interesting areas to explore and decent rewards to explore. Missing.

There are occasional semi-appealing scenery, but the visuals are generally poor, with very bad character designs that make everyone look like badly jointed action figures.

Aside from some nice 2D art, pretty much everything else in the game is disgustingly ugly, including menus and unreadable small fonts. The Divine Force is clearly not a big-budget game, but there are very few issues associated with it. Combat is solid, and so is some character work, but everything else is co-ordinated and generic, making it a pain to get through long before the 35+ hour runtime is over.

It’s honestly surprising that Star Ocean has lasted this long, and while it’s an improvement over its predecessor, it’s not enough to keep existing fans engaged, let alone attract new ones. enough.

Star Ocean: Divine Force Review Roundup

in short: It’s an improved version of the last Star Ocean game, but Square Enix’s veteran sci-fi franchise feels more stuck in the past than breaking new ground.

Strong Points: The combat system is good, as is the versatile DUMA robot. The two main characters are very likable and some of the dialogue is fun.

Cons: A bland setting and a terrifying open world that’s not exactly fun to explore. Aimless plot, ugly art design, and some really bad menus. No big new ideas and a sense of wasted potential.

Score: 5/10

Formats: PlayStation 5 (reviewed), Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, and PC
Price: £59.99
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: tri-ace
Release Date: October 27, 2022
Age Category: 12

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