The Divine Force is Square Enix’s last chance to save the series



The last 20 years of Star Ocean games have been controversial or forgettable, but The Divine Force is Square Enix’s opportunity to save the series.

On paper, Ocean star sounds like the perfect fusion of everything Japanese and Western audiences love. It’s always had the lively, colorful aesthetic the former adores, but its sci-fi setting and open-ended storytelling are elements that appeal to the latter. That, combined with a fast-paced real-time combat system that defied the turn-based lore of its peers, Ocean star should have become a galaxy of genius.

Instead, it’s a black dwarf. The cold commercial reality of the JRPG market is that Ocean star has not been relevant for decades. Her last universally adored entry was from 1998 The second story, and each successor has either been deeply divided or simply forgotten by history. As the next installment in the franchise, Divine Force, doesn’t necessarily look like a bad game, it’s going to take incredibly hard work to bring the series back to brilliant heights in its second outing.

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The story of Ocean star as a game property begins with the all too common clash between creatives and businesses. After many divisions throughout the development of Fantasy tales In the mid-90s, writer Yoshiharu Gotanda and a number of other developers left Namco’s Wolfteam to found a new studio called tri-Ace. His first project was largely a spiritual successor to fantasy, with the freedom to explore their own creative ambitions without the shackles of management interference.

City scene with Rena from Star Ocean Second Evolution

To its credit, tri-Ace almost did it. The first one Ocean star was a bold, beautiful, and brilliant first outing for the fledgling studio, but ultimately its technical accomplishments will be remembered more than any great feat of writing or characterizing. It took another two years for the basic concepts of the series to crystallize but, when they did, the result Second story has gone down in PlayStation history as a beloved cult classic. With the sequel selling over a million copies, another release was inevitable.

Unfortunately, this version infected Ocean star with the playing equivalent of difficult third album syndrome; an affliction from which he never recovered. Until the end of time well reviewed, but it has deeply divided fans. Between the changes to the show’s combat, a reluctance to leave typical fantasy environments despite the sci-fi premise and, of course, the infamous twist that drastically undermined every aspect of the trilogy’s mythology, the title created many loopholes that have not completely healed.

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With the advent of the Xbox 360, tri-Ace gave gamers an olive branch in the form of a soft reboot. The last hopeThe introduction of alternate universes made it easy for the broken fandom to come out of the third division game, and their return to a four-person party was well received by many. Sadly, the show was once again disappointed with poor writing. The story and characters just didn’t do enough to stand out, a problem compounded by a stilted storyline and a cast that looked more like porcelain dolls than space heroes.

By the time of the fifth game, 2016 Integrity and infidelity, Ocean star had indeed fallen into the strange valley. With more awkward dialogue, character designs that looked like parodies of the genre, and some very questionable facial models – all driven by another cliché-laden plot that failed to move the franchise forward in any meaningful way – it no wonder the reviews were so mixed. To add insult to injury, the game has been a business disaster, not even approaching The second storymillion sales.

star ocean divine strength

Few franchises have fallen as hard as Ocean star, and that’s a shame because games have so much going for them. True sci-fi RPGs are an increasingly rare breed in the fantasy-flooded marketplace, and the series’ ability for alternate storylines and endings gives it replay value that many larger versions overlook. not even. Of all rights, Ocean star should rise above the competition. Instead, he stalls because he keeps doing the same thing instead of taking the time to solve his problems.

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While it’s encouraging to see that tri-Ace hasn’t abandoned its flagship franchise, Divine Force faces an uphill battle to rebuild mainstream faith in the series. The hard truth is, everything that once made this franchise unique is now the norm. Action-RPGs are everywhere, characters are more developed than ever, and multiple endings, while not ubiquitous, are not uncommon to say the least. Take it all off and what Ocean star have left but a name that has not been relevant since the last millennium?

Star Ocean: divine strength could and should be the game that changes all of that. However, the game has a tough climb, requiring blowing the cobwebs, revitalizing the gameplay, capitalizing on anything that could make its series stand out and regain the respect it lost decades ago. If he can’t accomplish that much, again, it will be about the same. That might be all it takes to appease die-hard fans, but, from a critical and business perspective, “more of the same” is exactly how the franchise got into this mess.

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