The original Star Ocean game came out in 1996 in Japan and was a Super Famicom (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) exclusive title. At the time, the game pushed the limits of the system and even featured voice acting which was a rarity back then. In 2008, Square Enix released an enhanced remake called Star Ocean First Departure onto the PSP. Fast forward to the present and we have a new slightly enhanced version of the game available on both PS4 and Nintendo Switch.
Star Ocean First Departure R brings the PSP game to both PS4 and Nintendo Switch with some minor adjustments. Players will have access to the original voice acting, the First Departure R voice acting as well as an English dub. Additionally, the visuals have been spruced up and look great on Nintendo Switch.
The story of Star Ocean First Departure R begins with a group of friends from a small town on the planet Roak. After some adventuring, they stumble across a plague that ails a neighbouring village. One of their party gets infected and they set off to climb a mountain to obtain a supposed cure for the disease. Little do they know though that this will kick off an interstellar journey and an adventure of a lifetime.
Star Ocean First Departure R features an incredible story-heavy tale. Players will make use of “Private Actions” which explore the relationships they have with other party members and there’s a lot of enjoyable story content available in the game. If you haven’t played Star Ocean First Departure on PSP before, now’s the best time to pick up the game. Playing on Nintendo Switch, First Departure R runs buttery smooth with only some minor frame rate drops when entering into battles.
The game’s world map is a bit rough around the edges with the terrain looking incredibly empty and bland. Thankfully, the in-game towns and locations are detailed and have a nostalgic coat of artistic paint that has kept them somewhat timeless. The in-game anime cutscenes are crisp and visually pleasing and so too are the character portraits across all 3 selections available in-game.
Gameplay in Star Ocean First Departure R is probably where the game shows its age the most. There’s very little in terms of complexity in battles. Players will attack by pressing one button while using the L and R buttons on the Nintendo Switch to perform special attacks that have been previously assigned outside of battle. Players can also pause the action and make use of symbology, items or flee from battle. You can swap between characters in your party and the game’s battles play out in a hack and slash-esque manner.
Outside of battle is where you’ll spend most of your time though and this where Star Ocean First Departure R truly shines. Exploring towns and villages while speaking to various NPCs is incredibly enjoyable. Coupling this with the “Private Actions” and affection system leads to a lot of great story-driven content. We wish this was refined and streamlined a bit more for the remaster but alas this isn’t the case. Players will still have to leave a town or village and re-enter it by pressing the “Private Action” button, and then search for the correct person to talk to, in order to trigger the story scenes.
Despite the simple gameplay, the story-heavy content along with the great voice acting from the original Japanese voice actors makes Star Ocean First Departure R a great old-school JRPG to pick up and play right now. Being on Nintendo Switch is a major plus point since you’ll be able to play the game wherever you want to with the added ability to not rely on saving (which is still limited to the world map only). You obviously can’t do this with the PS4 version though. With that said, players are advised to save on the world map whenever they can ‘lest they forget and lose progress in the game. Overall, Star Ocean First Departure R is highly recommended from us if you’re a fan of JRPGs from the golden era of 90s gaming.
You can purchase Star Ocean First Departure R Here.
Star Ocean First Departure R was reviewed on the Nintendo Switch
Star Ocean First Departure R is available on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PSVITA, Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Developers: tri-Ace, Tose
Publishers: Square Enix, Enix
Star Ocean First Departure R
Space Date 346. A new era is about to begin, hurled by an unknown power. The story begins in an underdeveloped planet, Roak. Kratus, where the main character Roddick resides, is situated on the southernmost tip of the continent of Muah. It is known as a peaceful yet uneventful town, free of accidents or incidents. One day, Roddick, a member of the defence force who patrols the town, is informed that an unknown epidemic is spreading in the neighbouring town ― a rare disease that petrifies the body while one is alive. A
Product Currency: GBP
Product Price: 14.99