After forty-five hours, just a few smiles, and one or two frowns, we walked away from Star Ocean: The Divine Force with a shrug. It’s a middle-tier Japanese position enjoying sport that at no level, ever, threatens to get promoted to top-tier standing nor sink so low that it finally ends up sandwiched between Hyperdimension Neptunia and Unlimited Saga. Mid-table mediocrity. The Crystal Palace of JRPGs.
Given the tumultuous historical past of the Star Ocean collection, The Divine Force being merely okay might be a step in the suitable path. And whereas this sport wouldn’t make our greatest of 2022 listing except we’re doing 100 video games every this yr, a few of the enhancements made right here, and a few of the methods put in place imply it’s conceivable the subsequent Star Ocean sport might genuinely be good. It would possibly even be nice.
But we’re within the right here and now. The yr of our Lord 2022 and we’ve bought a job to do. We crammed over forty hours of this sport into 5 days simply to get so far and now that we’re right here: yeah, it’s alright. What is there to say? There’s no attention-grabbing speaking factors or incisive critiques we are able to make. No jokes. No good jokes, anyway. If it was actually dangerous at the very least we might make snide remarks however as it’s we are able to merely shrug and get on with it.
Star Ocean: The Divine Force permits you to decide considered one of two characters to play as throughout your journey all through house and stuff. There’s Raymond who’s a form of anime Han Solo with one of many worst haircuts we’ve ever seen in a online game, after which there’s Laeticia, a blue haired princess of the realm who fights on the entrance traces in excessive heels.
We performed as Raymond as a result of we couldn’t take our eyes off his bizarre, golden house mullet, however for the hour or two that we tried as Laeticia it’s mainly the identical sport, simply when the social gathering splits up often all through the journey you see what she was doing as a substitute of him. Also you’re carrying excessive heels. So your selection is between wanting fabulous and searching like an fool. And we picked fool for some purpose. What have been we considering?
Raymond is the captain of a spaceship. It’s like Star Trek, kinda. There’s even an android tapping away on a console like that one in Star Trek, solely as a substitute of being designed by Gene Roddenberry this one was designed by Russ Meyer, apparently. If you’re too younger for the Russ Meyer reference then he was an auteur who made camp, smutty films within the sixties and seventies about scantily clad, prime heavy girls. We’re simply saying that the android is a sexbot, okay?
Anyway, Raymond crash lands on a pre-spaceflight planet and shortly meets Laeticia and her squire they usually quickly set up that they each need assistance getting someplace and so in the event that they work collectively it’ll profit each events. Raymond desires to seek out different survivors from the crash after which get off the backwater rock he’s landed on, and Laeticia is making an attempt to cease a conflict breaking out between her Kingdom and a rival Empire.
Along the best way our two heroes meet and be a part of up with a solid of principally tropey characters, like a cranky outdated man and the compulsory annoying kooky lady, they usually uncover that there’s a sinister hyperlink between their two quests, and the very destiny of the universe. We all know the place that is going, proper? You’ve performed a JRPG earlier than. And in case you haven’t then this shouldn’t be the one you begin with. Persona 5 is correct there ready for you.
The story begins gradual nevertheless it does get extra attention-grabbing within the again half. It’s not notably deep or thought frightening nevertheless it at the very least poses a few philosophical and moral questions on issues, like synthetic intelligence and the perils of a complicated civilization assembly an underdeveloped one, even when it doesn’t discover them totally. Less meals for thought, then, and extra of a Tic-Tac for thought.
Cutscenes have some fantastically questionable animations in them and there’s been zero try made to lip-sync the characters to the voice appearing. Cutscenes are additionally overnumerous in the direction of the top of the sport as all is being revealed, and there’s one stretch of the sport particularly wherein it appears you do nothing however stroll from one room to a different so the individual telling the story can inform it with a distinct décor for about two hours.
Combat is quick and versatile. It’s enjoyable at occasions, too. You play as one character in actual time whereas your three social gathering members are managed by AI. You can arrange combos on your social gathering to make use of in battle by choosing what assaults they’ll do in what order, and as you degree up you’ll unlock extra assaults. You also can add gadgets to heal or buff into your combos, and later assist actions, too.
If you spend a little bit of time experimenting with the arrange of your squad you’ll discover that you could flip them right into a well-oiled machine, therapeutic harm social gathering members or reviving unconscious ones with out a lot supervision from you. This leaves you to focus on the D.U.M.A. system which is without doubt one of the finest issues concerning the sport.
D.U.M.A. is an AI floaty ball factor that helps you in battle and it elevates what would in any other case be principally humdrum encounters. With a faucet of R1 you possibly can zip to an enemy, or you possibly can decide to slip round their again and assault from behind. Sometimes, again assaults will stun an enemy leaving them open to huge harm. You may even use D.U.M.A. exterior of battle that will help you traverse the world, climbing to excessive ledges or flying throughout ravines. Thanks, D.U.M.A.
Star Ocean: The Divine Force is sort of a comfy pair of JRPG slippers. If you are within the temper for a Japanese position enjoying sport and you have performed all the good ones then you possibly can relaxation assured that this one is ok. It’s okay. It’s consolation meals. You know that feeling while you simply want Netflix would make one other season of Mindhunter and so you find yourself watching Criminal Minds? That. Only in house.