Star Ocean: The Divine Force

Tri-Ace, written in 2021


Star Ocean from Tri-Ace is historically seen a cousin of the famous Tales of series of RPGs. Both series share a similar approach to the combat, the music (usually done by Mr. Sakuraba) but are also different in some areas like how the story is presented. Star Ocean is more focused on telling intense stories around their characters in a mixture between science fiction and fantasy elements while Tales of usually plays in a fantasy universe consisting of two worlds.

Both series are descendants of the famous Wolf Team game studio, but "Tales of" is significantly more popular. After the last game of the series only received a lukewarm reception, I personally gave up on Star Ocean as a brand, but as it seems, Tri-Ace and Square Enix didn't. And so Star Ocean: The Divine Force was announced.

An ocean of stars

Square Enix recently released an announcement trailer along with some information about the upcoming game, which I will cover here.

The game evolves around two characters, Raymond and Laeticia, one which a space ship captain, and the other a princess of an underdeveloped planet. So basically, the underlying principles are just like in other Star Ocean games, noticeable here Star Ocean 2.

Gameplay

Square Enix says the gameplay will be fast, with no random battles, and characters can freely roam the area, with a heavy focus on exploration. The trailer and screenshots indicate that the separate battle screen will be gone, and upon contact with enemies, Raymond or Laeticia will change into some sort of combat mode. This has some Trials of Mana remake vibes.

Visuals

The game, proposed to be released on all current and next gen platforms (sans the Nintendo Switch) looks a lot like your typical cross gen game. It's nothing to write home about, but some scenes and enemies looked quite nice, which is also valid for the character models. Combat seems to be really swift and fast paced, but sometimes in the trailer, the game itself looks as if it were to stutter.

However, everything was said to be "development footage" only. This could mean that the game could look better or worse in the end.

Music

Not much about the music is known as of now, but the trailer is definitely playing Motoi Sakuraba tunes in the background. His style is so easily to identify, there's no doubt about that. However, he could be supported by other musicians in the end. The predecessor, Star Ocean 5, ran out of music tracks and had to reuse some of Star Ocean 3's music files in some areas, which was a huge shame back then in the day. Hopefully, this time, sufficient original music will be created.

Characters

Not all too much is known about Star Ocean 6's cast up until now. We know Raymond, who looks like an 80s action movie hero, Laeticia, who looks like the love child of Lenneth Valkyrie (Valkyrie Profile) and Chris Lightfellow (Suikoden 3). The other two heroes presented were Elena and Albaird, but not too much is known about them except some general character descriptions published by Square Enix on the official Star Ocean Twitter account.

The character designer seems to be Kō Yoshinari, who also did the artwork for Valkyrie Profile, also a Tri-Ace game. The designs look nice enough and have some character to them.

rpg-o-mania prediction (2021)

When I first saw the trailer from Star Ocean: The Divine Force, I was immediately hooked. Personally, I'm someone who even likes Star Ocean V on the PlayStation 4 game console. Yet, I feared the series was gone after what kind of disaster the release of aforementioned game was. It was a rushed title that was in development for an older console and then eventually hastily released.

Star Ocean: The Divine Force looks solid enough, with some changes to make the game appear a little more modern, but lots of things that just scream Star ocean like the setting and character design. Even if the main character looks a bit stupid, honestly.

Star Ocean games are always hit and miss. They can be genius at times, but frustrating at others. But from what I've seen, it looks to be one of the more promising Star Ocean titles.

Currently, the release date is stated as "2022".

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