Main Walkthrough

Welcome to Star Ocean The Second Story R! An action jrpg set in a semi-3D world, the second iteration of Star Ocean starts off under calm or dire circumstances. You can't tell which it will be right off the bat, as the first thing you need to do is choose your main character, and your choice dictates how the story flows.

Character Selection

You're given two characters to choose from when you begin a new game of Star Ocean The Second Story R: Claude C. Kenny, a cadet in the Terran Alliance, or Rena Lanford, a young woman living in a backwater village. Most of the game will play out the same regardless of which you choose, though there are some differences:

  • Claude is a close-range swordsman, and he'll have an easier time with the first section of the game. His introduction is also a little longer than Rena's. If you choose Claude you'll permanently recruit a pint-sized spellcaster named Leon about halfway through. You'll also get the opportunity to steal useful items from an area that Rena will never see.
  • Rena is a martial artist with healing abilities. She can fight close up, though most of the time you'll likely have her heal your other characters from the back row. If you choose Rena you'll permanently recruit a powerful swordsman named Dias about halfway through. She also has access to some mid-game clues earlier than Claude.

There is no 'wrong' choice here, and given how you can only recruit half of the party members in any one playthrough you'll likely wind up going through Star Ocean The Second Story R twice.

Once you've chosen your character you'll be given a few more options. Most are aesthetic in nature, though you'll want to choose your Difficulty with care. If you've never played an action RPG before, then you may want Earth; otherwise, Galaxy is a good balance of challenge and leniancy. Only choose Universe if you're a Star Ocean veteran. Note that you can change the difficulty at any time via the Settings menu.

What happens at the beginning varies between the two characters:

  • If you begin the game as Claude you'll start off on the Calnus, a spaceship on a mission to a remote planet called Milokeenia. You'll receive the Phase Gun Special Art, and then you'll have to explore the outside of a huge dome. Check the panel on the right side of the dome's front door to get it open, then approach the sparking capsule in the north.
  • If you start off as Rena you'll begin in Arlia, her home, and you can look around a bit, though ultimately you'll need to head south. 
Both stories converge in the Sacred Forest, near Arlia. Rena runs into trouble, and Claude needs to come to her rescue. If you're playing as Claude you'll need to fight the attacking monster, and a few blasts from the Phase Gun (button for Special Arts varies between systems) will bring it down. Claude needs to chase Rena west after the fight, and the pair join forces once you regain control. You'll be on a direct path to Arlia - but you should head back towards the Sacred Forest for a moment.

From this point on you'll periodically receive Achievements for completing tasks in the game. If you're playing as Claude you'll receive Visitor from Afar, and if you're playing as Rena you'll receive A Fateful Encounter.

Sacred Forest - Combat Tutorial

Upon returning to the Sacred Forest you'll discover that it is infested with monsters, and you can now battle them. Unlike the original Star Ocean: The Second Story, which forced you into battles randomly, the remake has the monsters roaming the map. You can avoid them or charge head-on into danger as you see fit. This gives you your first taste of combat in Star Ocean The Second Story R.

Your goal in any battle is straightforward: Defeat the enemy and avoid defeat yourself. Your characters all have Hit Points (HP) and Magic Points (MP). HP displays a character's life energy, while MP is used for spellcasting and combat moves. If a character's HP is depleted they will be knocked out, and you'll need to use a Spell or an item to bring them back. If your whole party gets knocked out you'll get a Game Over.

At first blush combat is pretty simple. You have complete control over your lead character, and you rush up to enemy characters and smack them (controls vary). The range of your weapon varies from character to character. Once he gets a sword Claude will have a medium range, for example, while Rena always has a short range with her fists.

Your active character targets the closest enemy automatically, and any moves you make will center around the targeted enemy. You can change this in the menu, allowing you to move your character around more freely without focusing on one enemy. This will make it a bit harder to land hits, however, as targeting a foe will cause your character to zip in on it whenever you hit the attack button.

Each enemy has a row of shields above their heads. This represents their defenses, and when you fully deplete their shields - usually through the use of a particularly powerful attack - they will be stunned for a short while. All hits are critical during this time, and completely ignore enemy defenses. Stunning enemies will make battles much easier.

In addition to normal attacks you have several more advanced options:

  • Before even entering combat, you can get the jump on enemies by approaching them from the rear while on the map. This will trigger an ambush that stuns the foes for a short while. Note that getting caught from behind by monsters gives them the advantage instead.
  • Using either menu or the bumper buttons on your controller (varies for PC) you can use Special Arts (combat attacks) or Spells on enemies, or to restore your own party members. Your characters will learn more abilities as they advance in level, and their abilities get more powerful with use. You can view your abilities in the menu, and choose which moves correspond to which buttons on your controller / keyboard, for quick use. Note that characters like Rena can use their Spells outside battle, to heal other party members.
  • Enemies will flash red for a moment before unleashing an attack. If you hit the proper button (varies between systems) before the attack goes off your character will zip behind the enemy, avoid the attack, and perform a counterattack. The timing for a counterattack varies from enemy to enemy, as some attack much more quickly than others.
  • During combat you can use items via the menu (button to open it varies). Items can affect your party or the enemy. Whenever your character uses an item they will undergo a short cooldown, during which time they can't use another item.
More often than not your team will be outnumbered by enemies. Early on this isn't a big deal. Later, however, as the enemies move faster and hit harder, they may catch your characters in pincer attacks. If one of your characters is struck from behind they may be stunned for several seconds. It is very much to your advantage not to get hit from behind, as you'll risk being knocked around helplessly. Most deaths come from pincer attacks.

Whenever you win a battle your characters will regain a small amount of HP and MP. Depending on the difficulty of the enemies this can save you from ever having to replenish HP or MP after battles, though if you're facing an area with foes on par with your characters you'll likely have to rely on items after a few battles.

It's not active now, but soon enough you'll unlock a new feature in combat: The Bonus Gauge. Whenever an enemy is defeated, broken, or sustains a critical hit, they will drop spheres. Collect enough of them and you'll trigger a random bonus effect that will last beyond the current battle. Bonus effects wear off if you fail a counterattack, get knocked out, or get caught by an attack from the rear, so try to avoid all three situations.

Eventually you'll have more than one character in your party. Their actions are determined by their Strategy, which you can set in the Tactics menu. You have five different options for each character's Strategy, though for most battles 'Fight with a good balance' should suffice. Note that you can set Strategy to your party leader in battle and let them fight on their own, if you wish. Once you have more party members you can also change your Party Formation, where you can swap your Leader (the character you control in combat).

The Sacred Forest is not exactly massive, but you can run around in here for a bit and kill a few enemies. Your lead character will have to fight alone, but they will fare just fine against these weakling foes. There's a Save Point right by the entrance which you can use to save your game. Note that there is also an autosave function that goes off periodically.

There are two treasure chests that you can grab before you leave the Sacred Forest for Arlia Village:
  • As you head east towards the forest's largest clearing, where Claude and Rena first meet, you'll see a little side path leading north. At the end is a chest containing Fruit Syrup.
  • If you check the east side of the huge clearing you'll find a small side area with another chest. This one contains 300 FOL (the game's currency).
Quick note! Very occasionally you can run into a monster known as a Gerel as you explore the Sacred Forest. These creatures are way too strong for this area, and can endlessly replicate themselves. Do not pick a fight against any red enemies, or you'll be stuck in a losing battle. Choose the Escape option to flee.

That's all for the Sacred Forest. Time to head for Arlia Village.

Main Walkthrough