By Operation Rainfall / November 6th, 2023
While we here at Operation Rainfall love covering the latest in gaming news and sharing our reviews of titles new and classic, we also just enjoy playing games in our downtime. So with that, sit back, relax, and check out what the oprainfall gaming crew have been up to this week!
I’ve been up to a few things this week, but most of it has been Star Ocean: The Second Story R, which has been everything I could have wanted in a remake of this classic title for modern consoles. I have made no secret that SO2 is my favorite Star Ocean game, and one of my favorite RPGs of all time, so I have been waiting for this game for years. I played the demo last month in anticipation, and all of my thoughts from that time continue into the full release, but there’s definitely much more to discuss.
I mentioned briefly in that previous Week in Gaming write-up that you can use Assault Actions to call forth protagonists from the other Star Ocean games if you find their corresponding gem. Right now, I only have Laeticia, as you are given her early on in Krosse Cave as part of the story, but the heroes aren’t the only ones you can use as Assaults. All characters not currently in your active party can be assigned to one of four spots, which gives you a lot of customizability to enhance or balance your personal playstyle. For instance, Laeticia performs a point blank physical AOE. For the SO2 characters, you can choose which Assault action they perform, and those actions can be what makes or breaks a battle. You can have Rena as an AA and have her come in and heal the entire party. Or maybe you want to hold back Celine and use her AA to cast Southern Cross. Each Assault Action is on a 60 second timer, so you never have to wait too long to use them, but they aren’t an action you can necessarily use as a crutch, either, since battles move quickly.
Battles aren’t the only things that move quickly in SO2R. One of the new features in this remake is the ability to fast travel to places you’ve visited in the past, circumventing the often tedious backtracking the Star Ocean games are known to have. You can also see which towns have active Private Actions available, removing the guessing game of where and when some of these missable moments between characters occur. As a veteran Star Ocean player, this is one of the most welcome QoL changes Gemdrops added to the remake. The original Star Ocean 2 often had inscrutable requirements for character recruitment, sometimes requiring multiple previous PAs and chance encounters in out of the way locations, and with 11 characters to choose from, the constant backtracking to find their PAs – arguably the series’ most important feature – would often grind the story to a standstill. That guesswork is mostly gone now, which for me is a welcome change. SO2 is designed to be played twice, and the original game was already time-intensive because of backtracking, so SO2R feels like it hits that sweet spot where it respects my time while also keeping to the spirit of the original by maintaining where and when all these PAs occur. On top of fast travel, the lack of random battles and speed-up function for dialogue help shave down time, and getting the skill Bodyguard has been a godsend for passive leveling. None of these changes have detracted from the appeal of this game, and even with the streamlining, it still feels like I’m playing the game I’ve loved so dearly for over 20 years.
At any rate, I’m about 10 hours into the game and still haven’t left the first continent because I’m having so much fun running around leveling up, exploring regions I remember fondly from the original to see their new glowups, and recruiting characters/seeing their PAs. I’ve just recruited my boy Ashton and am working on his subquest, then I’ll probably move the story forward to Laceur, but in the meantime I’m just enjoying this delightfully updated game. Really wish Square Enix would send me my Collector’s Edition at some point so I can enjoy that aspect of the remake, too.
When I’m able to pull myself away from SO2R, I’ve been keeping up with FFXIV, which just released its crossover with Fall Guys. I have to say, I’m impressed with how well the devs were able to translate that experience into an MMO – including rage-inducing lag and frustration. I’m only half joking, but there are definitely some issues with timing. That being said, it’s also been a lot of fun, and the event is surprisingly cute and addictive. I doubt I’ll ever reach the 100 wins, but I’m having fun banging my head against this. I think the best thing the XIV devs decided to do was to keep this a limited time event so folks don’t burn out on it and there’s always a healthy playerbase to make each race an exciting time. – Leah
I spent most of this week playing Gears of Dragoon. I’m getting close to the end with about 60 hours in this. I finally hit the story branch and decided to go the machine route, cause Ashley is amazing and clearly the best girl here! Also, the other route requires more crystals to see all the events so it’s best to start with this one. The dungeon crawling is very basic, but fun. The game really shines in its story and character writing, which I will go into more in my full review.
Outside of that I spent some time with Blue Archive. It’s been a while since I had time to play, but with all the anniversary events coming up and the current ones running I thought I’d jump in. I mean I had to get the free maid Yuzu, she’s too cute. Hopefully the Gatcha Gods will be on my side and I can roll Maid Alice before this event ends. – Steve
What games have you been playing this week? Let us know in the comments!
You can read previous Week in Gaming entries here!
Blue ArchiveFF14FFXIVFinal Fantasy XIVGears of Dragoon: Fragments of a New EraSO2RStar Ocean 2RStar Ocean The Second Story RWeek in Gaming