Old-school JRPG fans aside, the mention of Star Ocean might not mean much. The series’ popularity has always been two or three times lower than Final Fantasy or even Dragon Quest, but those who have dug into this somewhat more obscure series are quick to sing its praises. First created in 1996, the Star Ocean games have moved at an uneven pace, with only five games in total in the main series released so far, the latest being Star Ocean: integrity and infidelity in 2016. This game and the previous entry were not very well received, leaving fans uncertain about the future of this small franchise.
Sony’s October 2021 State of Play event wasn’t full of big surprises, but the announcement of Star Ocean: Divine Force was one that meant a lot to fans of the series and also made JRPG fans in general curious about this strange game that blends fantasy elements into a sci-fi inspired universe. The trailer we got was only two and a half minutes long, but more information has been released. If you’ve been intrigued by this uniquely looking JRPG from the masters of the genre, Square Enix, here’s everything we know about it. Star Ocean: Divine Force.
Star Ocean: Divine Force received the release date of October 27, 2022.
While the trailer made for Sony’s State of Play event is only listed Star Ocean: Divine Force like coming to PlayStation 4 and PS5, it will also be coming to Xbox One, Xbox Series X and S, as well as PC. It will reach every platform day and date, so there is no platform exclusivity, timed or otherwise. Obviously, we expect the current-gen versions to have advantages over the previous ones, but for now, we don’t know what those differences will be. Graphics, load times, and frame rates are the usual suspects, though.
Just like the Final Fantasy series, each new Star Ocean game is a standalone experience. The story and characters are all new here, so you don’t need to have played any of the previous games in the series to enjoy it. Star Ocean: Divine Force.
The trailer begins with a crew flying through space as their ship’s warning alarm sounds. They are forced to abandon ship due to an impending attack, where we cut to a widescreen shot of a lush planet with giant transparent spheres in the sky. We see a few glimpses of one of the protagonists traveling the world with a floating robot companion that allows him to dash and glide through the air.
As the gameplay and action unfolds, the text reads: “When our two heroes intersect, the fate of the universe awakens.” From there, we get quick lines of more characters, shots of more environments, including a majestic castle-like town, and massive enemies that are both fantastical, such as dragons, and futuristic, like a robot spitting flames.
Overall, this trailer had little substance in terms of story or characters, but outside sources have popped up with a lot more information. Just like in Star Ocean: The Second Story, Star Ocean: Divine Force will use the dual protagonist system. Our two protagonists in this game, whom we saw in the trailer, are called Raymond and Laeticia. Raymond is the captain of the ship we saw in the trailer, named Ydas, and is from a more technologically advanced civilization. On the other hand, Laeticia is a princess as well as a knight of the planet the crew is on, which is still in its infancy in developing technologies.
Raymond is detailed as being from a planet not associated with the federation, called Verguld. He runs the Ydas for the family business named Lawrence Logistics and cares deeply for his crew.
Laeticia is the princess of Aucerius on the planet Aster IV. She is admired by just about everyone in her kingdom, but hides her fighting ability. When a rival country threatens her own, she embarks on a secret mission to find an anonymous ally to help her, eventually crossing paths with Raymond, who has been stranded on her world.
The game’s narrative, including the characters that will be included, will change depending on which of these two protagonists you play as and the choices you make throughout the story. The game is designed to encourage you to play through the game twice, once from each perspective, to see the full breadth of the story. The only two other named characters known to date are Elena and Albaird. Other than that, none of the plot details have been shared, though we can expect the story to have far-reaching consequences. The “fate of the universe” repeats itself often, so it should be safe to expect an epic tale.
Another trailer was also shown when the release date was shared. It shows more interactions between the two leads and how their individual conflicts aren’t much different. It seems to be taken from when the two meet or at least agree to join forces.
We then get lots of cuts between different characters and settings, with no real context as to what’s what – it’s mostly shown for show. An important new character, if you can call them that, is DUMA. This robot attaches itself to Raymond and appears to be what gives him his enhanced mobility options, such as gliding.
Although it is impossible to make sense of the lines out of context, Star Ocean: Divine Force is clearly going to be a game with a layered plot of betrayal, twists, double-crosses, and intertwining political webs.
Although each game in the series is separate from the rest, fans of previous games will recognize certain throwback mechanics in Star Ocean: Divine Force. We already know there will be the dual protagonist system, but whether you play as Raymond or Laeticia, exploration and traversal were major highlights. Verticality in particular was a focus, with characters flying in all directions up and around environments. The game will encourage full 3D exploration, which should make the world even more fun to experience.
Combat also got plenty of screen time, along with a few more hints via official statements. Right off the bat, this JRPG throws in full action combat, which means it’s not a turn-based affair. Star Ocean: integrity and infidelity used a mixture of real-time and turn-based combat, but this time they’re leaning into the action side of things. Combat and exploration will have no seams between them and no random battles. Enemies all exist in the world that you can engage with or avoid at your discretion. If and when you decide to fight, there’s no transition into combat, and the attack feels quick and responsive so far.
Beyond normal strikes, skills and abilities will be a major part of combat. We see characters rushing into battles, leaving neon trails behind while attacking everything in their path, as well as what appear to be animations of the characters interacting with the companion robot leading to massive attacks. Magic and other attack skills seem to have a small startup time that will leave you vulnerable if performed at the wrong time.
Other systems appear on screen, such as something called Better Avoidance and Sight Out, which give different bonuses. It is unknown what will trigger these buffs at this time.
The game will also support a more tactical style of play by allowing the player to pause the action and issue commands, swap characters, or simply take a moment to plan at any time.
Apart from Raymond and Laeticia, between whom you will choose at the start of the game, the other members of the group also appear playable. We see moments of Elena running through a canyon-like environment and attacking with some sort of laser whip weapon, and Albaird casting ice magic. We can then assume that all party members, assuming the cast is larger than these four, will be playable. Depending on which character you choose at the start, you will also get a different cast of party members.
Outside of combat, you have great freedom of mobility, like jumping and sliding far across the terrain.
Although they haven’t technically denied it, there’s no reason to think there will be a multiplayer component in Star Ocean: Divine Force. There was an optional versus mode in Star Ocean: Until the End of Time Director’s Cutand mobile gaming Star Ocean: Anamnesis allows players to team up, but this was never included in the game itself. JRPGs don’t usually feature multiplayer, and for the most part, fans don’t really want it. Looks like he wants to follow in the footsteps of something like Tales of Arise and focus on reintroducing the series with a focus on creating the strongest single-player experience possible.
Star Ocean: Divine Force you’ll get a few different editions to choose from, though they’re not yet open in the west. Whichever edition you pre-order, you’ll get a pawn mini-game pack. Here’s what each of them includes:
- The basic game
- OST with over 80 songs
- Two pieces of armor
- Four accessories
- Greatsword weapon pack for Raymond, Lionheart’s Blutgang and Dual blades for Laeticia, and Flashing Naglering
Limited Edition (PS4 and PS5 only):
- The basic game
- Four-CD soundtrack
- art book
- Two Star Ocean Key Ring
- Code for all Digital Deluxe Edition items
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