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Star Ocean: First Departure R: Everything We Know

November 8, 2019
5 min read

Gaming history is filled with a multitude of now obscure titles that deserve a remaster or a rerelease of some kind so that the modern gamer can experience them in this day and age. Very few of them ever get the remaster treatment, and even fewer get remastered twice. However, Square Enix’s upcoming game, ‘Star Ocean: First Departure R’ is the exception to that rule.

First released in July of 1996 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (also known as the Super Famicom in Japan), the original ‘Star Ocean’ game was developed by Japanese video game development company tri-Ace, and published by Enix exclusively for the Japanese market. At the time, the game generated quite a bit of hype for being one of the first role-playing games to allow players the power to alter the storyline itself.

The game was subsequently remastered for the Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP) by Tose Software and re-released under the name ‘Star Ocean: First Departure’ over a decade later in 2007 (Japan) and 2008 (North America/Europe/Australia/Asia). Now, over a decade since the release of the erstwhile remaster, Square Enix is gearing up to release a remaster of the remaster, this time titled rather uninspiringly as ‘Star Ocean: First Departure R’. Read on to find out everything we know about the original ‘Star Ocean’ and its upcoming re-remaster ‘Star Ocean: First Departure R’.

Star Ocean: First Departure R Plot: What is it About?

Heavily inspired by popular science fiction such as Star Trek, the original ‘Star Ocean’ was set on the fictional planet of Roak, a rather primitive Earth like planet populated by the Fellpool race. The Fellpool are a race of feline humanoids who look strikingly similar to humans, save for the presence of a long tail and variety of cat-like ear shapes.

The year is 2432 A.D. (or 346 S.D., as it is known in game) and you are initially given control of a party of 3 childhood friends – Ratix, Dorn and Milly who reside in their tiny home village of Kratus. A mysterious plague breaks out in the nearby town of Coule, and Milly’s father Martoth, the town healer, decides to travel over there in an attempt to try and find a cure.

However, before long Martoth succumbs to the taint himself, and now our heroes must travel to the treacherous Mt. Metorx and search for the fabled Metorx Herb, said to be the cure for all ailments according to folk legends. What they end up stumbling upon is a complex interplanetary conspiracy of epic proportions, as the group races against time to find a cure for the plague before it spreads further.

‘Star Ocean’ is a party based role-playing games, and allows you to recruit additional party members throughout the game. Your actions during the course of the game will heavily influence which new characters you meet, as well as which one of the game’s numerous endings you get during the epilogue.

The PSP remaster ‘Star Ocean: First Departure’ improved on the original with full English voice acting and a visual overhaul with new animations, new cutscenes, character portraits and improved graphical fidelity. It also introduced three new recruitable characters and a few new endings, making it 80 endings in total.

The upcoming remaster of the remaster, ‘Star Ocean: First Departure R’ will feature updated high-definition visuals and cutscenes, full English voice overs with the option to switch to the original Japanese audio and a speed boost feature that allows players to boost movement in the field.

Star Ocean: First Departure R Gameplay

‘Star Ocean’ is an action JRPG (Japanese Role Playing Game) from the top down perspective with a real-time battle system. Players run into random battle encounters while navigating the pathways and dungeons of the planet Roak. Battles play out in real time with a maximum party size of 4, but battle strategies must be picked beforehand. All of your party characters have unique special abilities, including symbology (which is basically just the game’s version of magic) and special arts (physical blows). However, you only retain control of one character during combat encounters, with the rest of your party being controlled by the AI.

The game also features a fairly complex item creating and crafting mechanic for in game commodities including food, weapons, armor, accessories and materials. It works hand in hand with the skill acquisition system to ensure character progression throughout the game.

Your individual relationships with your party members also make up one facet of the ‘Star Ocean’ role playing experience. These can be influenced by something called “Private Actions”, which are special scenes and between the player character and a specific party member. Private Actions determine the level of affinity you share with specific party members, unlock certain rare items and abilities, as well as dictate the fate of your party members at the end of the game.

Star Ocean: First Departure R Developers: Who Are The People Behind It?

The original ‘Star Ocean’ for the Super Famicom was developed by Japanese game developer tri-Ace and released in July 1996 exclusively for the Japanese market. The PlayStation Portable remaster ‘Star Ocean: First Departure’ was ported by Tose Software and came out over a decade later in 2007 for the Japanese market, and in 2008 for the rest of the world. The upcoming version ‘Star Ocean: First Departure R’ is remastered and published by Square Enix.

Star Ocean: First Departure R Release Date: When And Where Can I Play It?

‘Star Ocean: First Departure R’ is set to release on December 5, 2019, and will be available to play on PlayStation 4 and the Nintendo Switch.

Star Ocean: First Departure R Trailer

You can watch the trailer for ‘Star Ocean: First Departure R’ here:

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