Star Ocean: The Divine Force
Space opera meets medieval fantasy in epic fashion.
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Star Ocean: The Divine Force
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Star Ocean: The Divine Force is a sci-fi/fantasy action role-playing game available on the Xbox Series, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and Windows based PCs. The game's the six game in the Star Ocean franchise, but is a standalone story with no requirements on playing any of the previous game. Players explore the planet, recruit people to their missions, and fight all manner of both humanoid and non-humanoid foes with a combination of fantasy and sci-fi weapons and abilities. Violence is constant, but there's no blood or gore shown onscreen. Female characters are often portrayed in a somewhat sexualized manner, and the game's dialogue makes frequent use of some profanity.
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What’s It About?
Celebrate twenty-five years of space faring, role-playing adventures with STAR OCEAN: THE DIVINE FORCE. This sixth entry of the long-running Star Ocean franchise opens with what should have been a routine cargo run from Captain Raymond Lawrence and the crew of the starship Yds. Of course, nothing ever goes quite as planned, and the Yds is inexplicably attacked by the Pangalactic Federation, destroying the Yds and forcing its crew to evacuate in escape pods to a nearby planet with a less technologically advanced and more medieval civilization. Here, Ray meets with Laeticia, a princess currently on a quest to save her people from an invading empire. The two decide to work together to rescue the rest of Ray's crew, while finding a way to drive back the invaders. Along the way the duo will recruit others to their cause, uncovering a conspiracy that threatens not only the people of Aster IV, but also the entirety of the universe.
Is It Any Good?
From Mark Twain to Star Trek, the concept of a culture clash between futuristic sci-fi and medieval fantasy is nothing new. But that stale plot device manages to feel fresh and fun in Star Ocean: The Divine Force. A big part of this is because the overall plot seems to develop organically right from the start. These are characters you can't help but get invested in and want to help through their adventures. The game's dual protagonist system also gives players the unique option of seeing the events of the game, as well as interactions with other characters, from two distinctly different points of view. It gives the game an added layer of replayability that doesn't feel repetitive or forced.
While the story and the characters in The Divine Force are instantly likable, the gameplay takes a little more time and effort to appreciate. On the one hand, the open world and seamless battles are engaging and fluidly move things from exploration to combat. But the actual fighting is a bit awkward. It feels like a hack and slash, with a focus on timing and positioning. But every attack, including basic ones, burn up a set number of the character's Action Points (AP). While they fill up quickly, it still leads to frequent issues where players chain together moves or even just try to initiate attacks, only to be met with a prompt stating they're out of AP. It forces players to dodge or switch characters often in battle, rather than pressing an attack, which trips up the otherwise smooth flow of combat. Finally, the game requires an insane amount of micromanagement, from what weapons and armor they have to which attacks are equipped for combos to the ridiculously large skill trees. And that's got to be done for each character individually, something the game's clunky menu system doesn't help with. These are all issues that players will easily adjust to as they play the game, but they make the initial experience a bit overwhelming. Even so, Star Ocean: The Divine Force is an absolute blast to play, whether you're a longtime fan or a newcomer to the Star Ocean legacy.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Star Ocean: The Divine Force affected by the kinds of attacks used in the game? What are some of the ways that violence is portrayed in video games? How important is style to the impact of that violence? Does a flashier, but less graphic style affect younger audiences less than a more gritty and realistic style?
How do some games build on they legacy of what has come before? Do you prefer a wholly original title, or a new game with ties to past franchises? How much does that name recognition make you want to play?
- Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Windows
- Pricing structure: Paid ($59.99)
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Release date: October 27, 2022
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: T for Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes, Language
- Last updated: January 27, 2023
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