After forty-five hours, a couple of smiles, and one or two frowns, we walked away from Star Ocean: The Divine Power with a shrug. It’s a middle-tier Japanese position enjoying recreation 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 Limitless Saga. Mid-table mediocrity. The Crystal Palace of JRPGs.
Given the tumultuous historical past of the Star Ocean sequence, The Divine Power being merely okay might be a step in the correct path. And whereas this recreation wouldn’t make our greatest of 2022 checklist until we’re doing 100 video games every this 12 months, among the enhancements made right here, and among the programs put in place imply it’s conceivable the subsequent Star Ocean recreation might genuinely be good. It would even be nice.
However we’re within the right here and now. The 12 months of our Lord 2022 and we’ve obtained a job to do. We crammed over forty hours of this recreation into 5 days simply to get thus far and now that we’re right here: yeah, it’s alright. What’s 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 unhealthy not less than we may make snide remarks however as it’s we are able to merely shrug and get on with it.
Star Ocean: The Divine Power permits you to decide considered one of two characters to play as throughout your journey all through area and stuff. There’s Raymond who’s a type 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 strains in excessive heels.
We performed as Raymond as a result of we couldn’t take our eyes off his bizarre, golden area mullet, however for the hour or two that we tried as Laeticia it’s principally the identical recreation, simply when the social gathering splits up sometimes all through the journey you see what she was doing as an alternative of him. Additionally you’re carrying excessive heels. So your selection is between wanting fabulous and looking out like an fool. And we picked fool for some purpose. What had 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 an alternative of being designed by Gene Roddenberry this one was designed by Russ Meyer, apparently. When 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, high heavy women. We’re simply saying that the android is a sexbot, okay?
Anyway, Raymond crash lands on a pre-spaceflight planet and rapidly 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 battle breaking out between her Kingdom and a rival Empire.
Alongside the best way our two heroes meet and be part of up with a solid of largely tropey characters, like a cranky previous 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. Everyone knows 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 true there ready for you.
The story begins sluggish however it does get extra attention-grabbing within the again half. It’s not notably deep or thought upsetting however it not less than poses a few philosophical and moral questions on issues, like synthetic intelligence and the perils of a sophisticated civilization assembly an underdeveloped one, even when it doesn’t discover them totally. Much 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 through which it appears you do nothing however stroll from one room to a different so the particular person telling the story can inform it with a distinct décor for about two hours.
Fight is quick and versatile. It is enjoyable at instances, too. You play as one character in actual time whereas your three social gathering members are managed by AI. You may arrange combos to 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. It’s also possible to add gadgets to heal or buff into your combos, and later help actions, too.
When you spend a little bit of time experimenting with the arrange of your squad you’ll discover which you can flip them right into a well-oiled machine, therapeutic damage 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 greatest issues in regards to the recreation.
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 largely humdrum encounters. With a faucet of R1 you’ll be able to zip to an enemy, or you’ll be able to choose to slip round their again and assault from behind. Generally, again assaults will stun an enemy leaving them open to large injury. You may even use D.U.M.A. outdoors 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 Power is sort of a comfy pair of JRPG slippers. When you’re within the temper for a Japanese position enjoying recreation and you have performed the entire good ones then you’ll be able to relaxation assured that this one is ok. It is okay. It is consolation meals. You already know that feeling once you simply want Netflix would make one other season of Mindhunter and so you find yourself watching Prison Minds? That. Solely in area.