Divine power is not terrible and that is enough

Star Ocean core art: The divine power shows both heroes under the night sky.

screenshot: Tri Ace / Square Enix / Kotaku

I live only a 15 minute drive from the house I grew up in. My parents moved in when I was in college, at which point the physical embodiment of every memory of my formative years was transferred to strangers, only to be revisited in my dreams. On the few occasions I’ve been back on this street the memories have come back, but it doesn’t fit the yards that now seem smaller and the houses that don’t look painted and keep up. play Ocean Star: Divine Power It can be similarly annoying: a monument to past amenities that sometimes delight, but whose cracked foundation and peeling paint remind you that it’s no longer your home.

once upon a time, ocean star It was a powerful JRPG series that offered fans a meaty alternative to Final Fantasy And the Dragon Adventure. Allows players to initiate a game Dungeons & Dragons Campaign style within the largest Star TrekInspiring universe. It hit over its weight with frantic combat, deep crafting systems, and an abundance of side content. There were multiple endings and trade-offs based on who you tried to recruit during your journey. Star Ocean: Second Story On the original PlayStation it was fine. Next game on PS2 it was better. It’s been downhill ever since. Until now.

Divine power environments can be very beautiful.

screenshot: Tri Ace / Square Enix / Kotaku

Ocean Star: Divine PowerIt is the sixth game in the series and the first on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, and it’s a clear improvement over the last game. 2016 Integrity and insincerity It was unremarkable, unfinished, and had a third-person camera made for you want to vomit. Low bar to clear for sure, but divine power He does more than just avoid his predecessor’s pitfalls. It also introduces an innovative overhaul of the combat system that is challenging but compelling, with the most beautiful environments the series has ever achieved. I’ve been playing on PS5 in graphics mode, and while it’s nowhere near the best JRPG on console, the lush fields, detailed architecture, and colorful interstellar skies added an extra spark to my abstract quest lines filled with a boring level of undo.

does this mean divine power Is it a good game? No, I’m about six hours away, and so far, I haven’t seen anything that would make me recommend it to anyone who isn’t already among the group of fast-shrinking fanatics. ocean star fans. For all the modern game improvements and sensibilities, it’s as close to focus, polished or refined as Xenoblade Chronicles 3or even last year tales of resurrection. For all his amazing virtues, divine power Just not in the same league.

GIF: Tri Ace / Square Enix / Kotaku

The English voice acting is agreeable and sometimes grainy in its eccentricity, but mostly it sounds grandiose, in part due to the script feeling trapped, for better and certainly for worse, in the kind of crazy JRPG of the PS2 era. Raymond, the captain of a merchant ship, is wrecked on a medieval planet where he meets a princess named Leticia who is trying to stave off the invasion of an empire adjacent to her kingdom. Despite serious threats looming in the background, much of the game’s beginning revolves around getting involved in narrow, mundane affairs as Raymond tries to regroup with his crewmates and faint things like, “Who the hell are the guys on this rock with the pods growing out?” of their heads? “It’s very boring stuff.

The screenshot shows what the Divine Force menu interface looks like.

The interface of the Divine Power List is hard to read.
screenshot: Tri Ace / Square Enix / Kotaku

The game comes to life further between contrived story rhythms and grueling fetch missions. Conversations with NPCs are rarely interesting, but they occasionally unlock side missions that unlock special items to take advantage of the game’s crafting systems. While there is no sign of any of these signs, the most secretive aspect of the game is there for players who are willing to go off the beaten path and try to solve the puzzle together about what the game is trying to tell you to do.

Exploration and combat are enhanced by a mechanical companion called DUMA that lets you fly short distances or dash towards enemies and stun them. Meanwhile, the stamina count regulates how often and how fast you can unleash combos in battles. There is also a Roll-dodge in which you can perfectly avoid an incoming attack with a strong following. While targeting can be a nightmare, and it’s often impossible to tell if you’re about to hit something off screen, it makes combat more natural and responsive than in previous games.

GIF: Tri Ace / Square Enix / Kotaku

The transition between exploration and combat is also smooth and sustains divine power Move along so that even when something leaves a bad taste in your mouth, it doesn’t linger. However, the environments you explore, while vast and beautiful at times, are basically empty except for a few treasure chests and breadcrumb paths of crystals you can collect to upgrade your DUMA Enemies always appear in the same groups in the same place, whether it is your first or fifth visit to the location. And despite the addition of short periods of flight and the ability to glide, the platform system was too inaccurate for me to want to try to get to hard-to-reach treasure chests.

Figures of divine power watching the birds.

screenshot: Tri Ace / Square Enix / Kotaku

Why am I still playing? divine power? Because I’m one of those fans who was ocean starMade a long time ago, it enthusiastically flows through strategy guides in an effort to decide which character I’m going to hire and how not to miss them. I’m hardly the first person to comment on how the last game feels like playing a high definition rating second story And the Until the end of time. All sound effects remain the same. You eat blueberries for healing and you still can’t hold more than 20 pills at a time. At least a large part of the early game revolves around running missions for Kings and Witches in a series of overlapping subplots that are increasingly meaningless. It was a nice hit down memory lane but none of it is as good as I remember.

Developer Tri-Ace is into a huge financial gapfans are worried about that divine power It may be the series’ last chance to prove it still deserves to exist. Some even Buy multiple copies From the game to trying to keep the dream alive. But preliminary sales data is not reassuring. In Japan at least, the game’s launch is about to be second worst in the history of the series. It’s hard to blame anyone, due to the game’s flaws, inherent limitations, and the niche appeal of the old formula, but also because there are so many other JRPGs to choose from. I’m disappointed by that divine power Not the triumphant comeback that fans have been begging for, but I’m not surprised. I’m glad it’s not terrible, and that I visited again before everything was dropped.

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