Review: Star Ocean: The Divine Force (PS5) - Space-age JRPG barely taking off

Review: Star Ocean: The Divine Force (PS5) – Space-age JRPG barely taking off

After forty-five hours, a few smiles and a frown or two, we walked away from Star Ocean: The Divine Force with a shrug. It’s a mid-tier Japanese role-playing game that at no point threatens to be promoted to higher-tier status or fall so low that it finds itself sandwiched between Hyperdimension Neptunia and Unlimited Saga. Mediocrity in the middle of the table. The Crystal Palace of JRPGs.

Given the tumultuous history of the Star Ocean series, The Divine Force being just okay is probably a step in the right direction. And while this game won’t make our best of 2022 list unless we make 100 games each this year, some of the improvements made here, and some of the systems put in place mean it’s conceivable that the next Star Ocean game be really good. It might even be awesome.

But we are here and now. The year of our Lord 2022 and we have a job to do. We’ve crammed over forty hours of this game into five days just to get to this point and now that we’re there: yeah, that’s okay. What is there to say? There are no interesting talking points or incisive criticisms that we can make. No jokes. No good jokes, anyway. If it was really bad, at least we could make some sarcastic remarks, but if it is, we can just shrug it off and carry on.

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Star Ocean: The Divine Force lets you choose one of two characters to play as you journey through space and all. There’s Raymond who’s some kind of Han Solo anime with one of the worst haircuts we’ve ever seen in a video game, and then there’s Laeticia, a blue-haired kingdom princess who fights in front row in high heels.

We played as Raymond because we couldn’t take our eyes off his weird golden mullet, but for the hour or two we tried as Laeticia, it’s essentially the same game, just when where the party breaks up from time to time throughout the adventure, you see what it was doing in its place. Also, you wear high heels. So your choice is between looking fabulous and looking like an idiot. And we chose silly for some reason. What were we thinking?

Raymond is the captain of a spaceship. It’s like Star Trek, a bit. There’s even a console-typing android like that in Star Trek, only instead of being designed by Gene Roddenberry this one was designed by Russ Meyer, apparently. If you’re too young for the Russ Meyer reference, he was an author who made camp and dirty movies in the 60s and 70s about scantily clad, very heavy women. We just say the android is a sexbot, okay?

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Anyway, Raymond crashes into a planet before spaceflight and soon meets Laeticia and her squire and they soon realize that they both need help getting somewhere and so s working together will benefit both parties. Raymond wants to find other crash survivors and then get off the lost rock he landed on, and Laeticia tries to prevent a war from breaking out between her kingdom and a rival empire.

Along the way, our two heroes meet and join a cast of mostly tropey characters, like a grumpy old man and the obligatory boring wacky girl, and they discover there’s a sinister connection between their two quests and fate. even of the universe. We all know where this leads, don’t we? Have you ever played a JRPG? And if you haven’t, this shouldn’t be the one you start with. Persona 5 is waiting for you.

The story starts slow but it gets more interesting in the second half. It’s not particularly deep or thought-provoking, but it does at least raise some philosophical and ethical questions about things, like artificial intelligence and the dangers of an advanced civilization meeting an underdeveloped civilization, even if it doesn’t explore them. not thoroughly. Less food for thought, therefore, and more of a Tic-Tac for thought.

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The cutscenes contain incredibly questionable animations and there was no attempt to lip-sync the characters with the voice acting. There are also too many cutscenes towards the end of the game as everything is revealed, and there’s one part of the game in particular where it seems like you’re just walking from room to room for the person narrating the story can tell it with a different setting for about two hours.

Combat is fast and flexible. It’s fun sometimes too. You play as a single character in real time while all three members of your party are controlled by the AI. You can set up combos for your party to use in battle by selecting which attacks they will do in which order, and as you level up you will unlock more attacks. You can also add items to heal or upgrade into your combos, as well as subsequent support actions.

If you spend some time experimenting with your team setup, you’ll find that you can turn them into a well-oiled machine, heal injured party members, or revive unconscious ones without much supervision from you. It lets you focus on the DUMA system which is one of the best things about the game.

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DUMA is an AI hover ball that aids you in combat and elevates what would otherwise be mundane encounters. With a tap of R1, you can head towards an enemy, or you can choose to slide around their back and attack from behind. Sometimes attacks from behind will stun an enemy, leaving them exposed to massive damage. You can even use DUMA outside of battle to help you navigate the world, climb high ledges, or fly through ravines. Thank you DUMA


Star Ocean: The Divine Force is like a comfortable pair of JRPG slippers. If you’re in the mood for a Japanese RPG and you’ve played all the good ones, you can rest assured that this one is spot on. Its good. It’s comfort food. You know that feeling when you just wish Netflix did another season of spirit hunter and so you end up watching Criminal Minds? This. Only in space.

#Review #Star #Ocean #Divine #Force #PS5 #Spaceage #JRPG #barely

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