Star Ocean: The Divine Force Review — All Yesterday’s Parties

Starry Ocean: The Divine Power is an independent game in the Grander starry ocean Series that began in 1996. With all the hallmarks of a classic JRPG, it’s a charming journey that’s reminiscent of the PS2 RPGs of yesteryear, bringing the series up to modern JRPG standards.

Although this is the latest starry ocean Game in a long-running series, you don’t need to be familiar with previous games to understand what’s going on. There are some easter eggs and references for longtime fans, but if you’re new to the franchise you can jump right in.

The story has a pretty nice concept: Raymond Lawrence (Ray to his friends), a merchant captain with a horrible haircut, has just crash-landed on Aster IV, an underdeveloped planet straight out of the Middle Ages. In search of his crew, he meets Laeticia, princess of the kingdom of Aucerius, and Albaird, her loyal knight. Both have problems: Laeticia needs to track down a former royal semimancer – think magic meets technology – to help her kingdom, and Ray could use a hand to find the rest of his crew and navigate the planet. They quickly decide to team up.

The divine power‘s story escalates naturally; What happens on Aster IV has ramifications that extend far beyond the planet, but the small scale of its opening hours is comforting. You can meet the characters and get a feel for the world before jumping into the bigger storyline.

One of the cool things about The divine power is that you can choose to have Ray or Laeticia as the main character (I chose Ray, for the record). You can follow the story just fine either way, but each has segments that you won’t see when playing as the other that add context and flair to the overall storyline.

It’s a nice feature that encourages you to repeat The divine power – The game lasts around 30-40 hours depending on how you play – but there is no way to transfer your progress from one playthrough to another. If I wanted to play Laeticia, I’d have to start a whole new file, which is kind of a shame, but tracks like that Scarlet Nexuswhich has a similar structure.

Ultimately, though, that’s not too much of a problem when you’ve got a cast as diverse and entertaining as that in The divine power. It’s a mix of Aster IV natives and people from off-planet, and the interplay between the characters and the cultures they represent is quite intriguing. On the one hand you have a group familiar with androids and interstellar travel; On the other hand, you have a party that has some surprising tech – thanks to semiomancy – but still fights mostly with swords. This leads to some really fun interactions where both groups can learn from each other.

The characters themselves are often based on archetypes: Albaid is the curmudgeonly knight who takes his duty seriously but cares deeply about those around him; Laeticia is a real princess, devoted to her friends and her people; Ray is easygoing and personable but takes his responsibilities to his crew very seriously and whatnot.

The characters aren’t entirely original, but they’re a lot of fun, and I’ve enjoyed spending time with them through cutscenes, through conversations in the field, and in private actions. Private Actions are one-on-one conversations you can initiate with party members while in one of Aster IV’s various cities. This is where you learn the most about your countrymen, and it’s fun to explore their quirks and unique personalities outside of the confines of history.

In one, I learned of Albaird’s insecurities regarding his youth and his desire to grow up faster in order to serve Laeticia more. In another, Laeticia praised Ray’s swordsmanship, and when he admitted she had no idea what he was doing, she offered to train him, although she admitted she only knew the basics herself. The divine power You can even choose how your character reacts on occasion, leading to different conversations as well.

The only downside to Private Actions is that they can be a bit hard to find. While companions are marked on your map when they are available in a specific city, they cannot distinguish between a normal conversation and a private action. Sometimes you quickly travel from city to city just to find new ones, which can be a bit of a hassle. Still, they’re pretty much always worth tracking down.

When you’re not in cities, you spend a lot of time exploring the world and engaging in combat. Thank God, Starry Ocean: The Divine Power has a fantastic combat system. Everything is in real time: you will see enemies in the world and fight them in this environment. There is no separate battle screen or shielded area. When fighting, you must assign your character’s fighting skills to one of three buttons.

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You can assign additional moves one at a time to create custom combos, and tie other abilities to holding one of three buttons, so there’s no shortage of moves at your disposal. Your skill limit is AP; Each ability costs AP to use, so managing it in battle is important, although it quickly returns when depleted. Since you can switch between your party members at any time, there’s no shortage of ways to approach combat.

The real trick though is DUMA, a little robot that Ray, Laeticia and the crew find early on. DUMA gives the current character access to the VA Gauge, which opens up a host of useful abilities. Depending on the character, you can protect yourself or allies from damage, or use special abilities that heal your party. The best thing about DUMA is its sprint attack, which allows you to quickly close the distance while dealing damage. Even better is the ability to change direction while charging. Doing this at the last second and hitting an enemy who can’t see you will result in one blind attack.

Nailing blindsides is crucial; Not only will landing one stun enemies, but it will also increase your max AP, allowing you to land much longer combos, although it will consume half your VA gauge. Getting hit will reduce your max AP until it returns to the default of five, so use caution nonetheless. Combine that with a dodge roll that rewards you for precisely timing your dodges, and you have a system that’s consistently engaging and encourages intelligent play.

The only downside is that using items takes a long time and you have to stand completely still to do so. In certain situations where only one party member remains, it can be almost impossible to win since you can’t avoid being hit long enough to heal.

DUMA can also be used to speed up traversal, firing you around the map to avoid enemies, find hidden treats, and collect purple crystals that you can use to level up DUMA. It’s also a good thing, because The divine powerThe surroundings of are vast. While they’re mostly flat plains, they’re beautiful, colorful, and fun to explore, as are the towns you’ll find as you traverse them.

It gets a little darker when the game is presented. The characters often look like puppets and the lip syncing is noticeably poor, at least for the English dub. It’s not groundbreaking and I’ve often admired the small details in the characters’ models, like the way their clothes look when they run, but it’s a bit of a contrast compared to the game’s gorgeous environments . The sound design, on the other hand, is pretty good, with excellent combat and ambient music, and hits that sound as meaty as they feel.

The menus are another problem. There are just too many submenus and it’s all just a bunch of stacked black boxes that aren’t labeled as well as they should be. Finding what you’re looking for can often be difficult unless you already know where it is or remember the button command that takes you where you need to know.

It’s a minor annoyance, but a bummer when you have to spend so much time in the menus leveling up your characters, creating combos, and leveling up your gear. The in-game tutorial menu helps, but I’ve definitely been using it more than I’d like.

Star Ocean: The Divine Force Review – The Verdict


  • Loads of charm.
  • Funny Characters.
  • An excellent combat system that rewards intelligent play.


  • The character models are not as good as the backgrounds.
  • The menus are not laid out well.
  • Private promotions can be hard to find.

I didn’t know what to expect when I first got started Starry Ocean: The Divine Power. I only knew the series briefly from watching a friend play it Star Ocean: The Last Force in college and from others who spoke about how much they loved Until the end of time. I can’t tell what’s playing The divine power feel like series veterans or how it compares to other games in the series. But I can say that I really enjoyed my time with Starry Ocean: The Divine Power; it reminds me of the PS2 JRPGs in the best possible way.

Despite all his mistakes Starry Ocean: The Divine Power is an unrelentingly charming game that reminds me of the best PS2 RPGs. It won’t convert anyone; this is very much a JRPG, albeit a modern one. So if you don’t like the genre, this won’t change your mind. But if you’re looking for a fun romp above the stars, you’ll find it The divine power to be a journey worthwhile.

[Note: Square Enix provided the copy of Star Ocean: The Divine Force used for this review.]

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