Released in 2008 in Japan and in 2009 elsewhere, Second Evolution is an enhanced port of the 1999 game Star Ocean: Second Story, the second game in the Star Ocean franchise. Unlike the previous Star Ocean, Second Evolution’s original counterpart was released in the US.
One should take note that this is an enhanced port, not a remake, which is a term people love to use incorrectly. So if you already own Second Story, then you’re not missing out on much. Main differences are basically updated anime cutscenes/art, and new and much better voice actors.
Taking place 5 years after the first game, Claude C Kenny is a new ensign in the Earth Federation, and is working on the same space ship as his father, the great Admiral Ronyx J Kenny, one of the playable characters from the first game. They are on a reconnaissance mission to a strange planet, and Claude decides to investigate a strange device. A flash of light appears and he disappears. He then awakens in a strange forest and is confused at where he is. This is then disturbed after he sees a young girl getting attacked by a large beast, and then takes care of it with his trusty ray gun.
He talks to the girl he saves, who introduces herself as Rena Lanford. He finds out that he’s on an underdeveloped planet, and thanks to his gun, Rena thinks he’s the legendary Hero of Light, and proceeds to tell people about him. After some investigation, he talks to the mayor and finds out this planet is suffering from the mysterious object called the Sorcery Globe that came to the planet, and is spawning monsters. He then tells that he’s going to go investigate this Sorcery Globe, and Rena decides to tag along with him, and our adventure begins.
Since First Departure was based on the same engine as the original Star Ocean 2, and this one is practically identical, there’s nothing new gameplay wise with First Departure, so you’re free to read the previous review on the gameplay.
Like mentioned above, it shares the same engine as First Departure, so it looks very similar. Compared to the PS1 version, it does look nicer, and the nicer anime visuals and cutscenes are a nice addition. The only thing missing from the PS1 version is that the items aren’t 3D and rotate around, which is kind of odd why it’s gone. It’s nothing drastic, but it was kind of nice to see.
The music is pretty nice in the game, and has some nice tracks. I think the first game has a slightly better soundtrack. Like the first game, they added a J-Pop opening theme.
Star Ocean: Second Evolution is a very good RPG to add to your system. It has a pretty solid story, and the battle system itself makes things more fun. You don’t have to have played any other Star Ocean to get into this game. Out of the two PSP games, this one is the better of the two.