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second-story operator

Star Ocean: The Second Story

is the second game in the Star Ocean series. It takes place twenty years after the original game, Star Ocean: Fantastic Space Odyssey, which has never been commercially released in English. The game gives the player the choice of playing as Rena or Claude, with the journey evolving and ending differently depending on the choice one makes.

Released in the United States and Europe translated to English, it gained a cult following. The English version of the game also changed the names of the main antagonists, who in the original were named after angels, with names such as Gabriel (changed to Indalecio), Metatron (changed to Berle), and Lucifer (changed to Cyril). A PlayStation Portable remake was recently announced prior to the 2007 Square Enix Party event.

Plot

Setting

Roughly the first half of the plot of Star Ocean: The Second Story takes place on the planet Expel, an underdeveloped planet on the verge of its industrial age. On Expel kings still rule over great kingdoms, swords and sorcery dominate the battlefield, and sailing ships are still made from wood. According to a Federation law, named the UP3 (Underdeveloped Planet Preservation Pact) in Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, a planet with such a level of civilization may not be directly contacted under any but the most dire circumstances -- and even then, contact must be minimal and secretive. This law is reminiscent of Star Trek's Prime Directive.

Characters

Star Ocean: The Second Story is unusual in that it offers the player the opportunity to experience the storyline from the perspective of either the male or the female lead character. This decision affects certain scenes that are only referred to in one path but are fully shown in the other, as well as determining whether or not certain characters can be permanently added to the traveling party.

Story

Star Ocean: The Second Story tells the stories of Claude C. Kenni, son of Ronixis J. Kenni, and Rena Lanford, a young girl living on the Planet Expel. Claude, having recently been commissioned as an Ensign in the Earth Federation, is given his first mission under the supervision of his father. This first mission is to survey the planet Milocinia, where a mysterious energy field appears. Once they arrive, they find an alien ruin, filled with mostly broken machinery. Finding a mysterious device in the center of it, Claude begins to examine it close-up, despite orders to keep away from it. Upon getting close to it, the machine activates, teleporting him to Expel.

At approximately the same time, Rena is resting in a forest just outside her village, Arlia. While there, she is assaulted by a monster. Suddenly, Claude teleports into the area, and, seeing Rena being attacked, rushes in to save her, wielding an advanced energy weapon (the Phase Gun that his father gave to him). Upon seeing how she is rescued, Rena decides that Claude is the Hero of Light, spoken of in legends on Expel: he has arrived to an Expel in great danger, he wields a "Sword of Light" and is dressed in "alien raiments." She takes him back to her village, Arlia, for corroboration.

Soon afterwards, the town elder explains to Claude what exactly is going on: Three months ago, a meteorite crashed into Expel. Almost immediately afterwards, monsters began appearing, and natural disasters occurred with increasing frequency and intensity. Believing that these events were related, the people of Expel called the meteorite the "Sorcery Globe". Hoping that the Sorcery Globe may be the key to finding his way home, Claude agrees to investigate it. Rena, still believing that Claude is the Hero of Light, joins up with Claude in the investigation.

Their journey takes them across all three continents of Expel, and eventually they meet the ten wise men and are somehow transported to Energy Nede.

One of the things about the game that was hyped were its multiple endings. The exact number is often said to be 87, though it's really 86 with two having minor differences. There is one ending for each character alone and one for each possible pair of characters. If two characters could be recruited together, they can have an ending together. For example, an ending involving Bowman and Precis does not exist as you cannot have both recruited. There are also secret endings involving characters outside of the party. This adds a certain element of replay value to the game; to see all the character endings, it would be necessary to play through the game nine times or more and would require a vast amount of time and effort since the game is quite long not to mention taking the time to get the characters paired up correctly.

Reception

This game sold 1,094,000 copies, 724,000 in Japan and 370,000 overseas

Legacy

There is a pair of extra boss characters found in the Cave of Trials who are called Gabrie Celesta (Gabriel Celeste) and Iselia Queen (Ethereal Queen). Gabrie and Iselia appear in most tri-Ace games and both are angels ("Celestials" in Star Ocean 3) in physical form unlike the wise men, except Lucifer (Cyril) and Gabriel (Indalecio) with limiter on.

Star Ocean: The Second Evolution

In 2007, it was announced that a remake of the game, titled Star Ocean: The Second Evolution, was to be released on the PlayStation Portable. It is to include updated graphics, animation, and voice acting. Star Ocean: The Second Evolution was released on April 3, 2008 in Japan. On May 9, 2008 Square Enix announced a North American release of January 6, 2009, and published a website for the game, in anticipation for the 2008 E3.

References

External links

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