Star Ocean: The Divine Force Review thumbnail

Star Ocean: The Divine Force Review

Fly through an epic adventure

Mary Billington

Reviewed by playing a PS5 on 🌌

Star Ocean: The Divine Force is also available for PS4, Xbox Series X, and Xbox One

Star Ocean: The Divine Force is rated Teen by the ESRB

6 years after the disappointing Integrity and Faithlessness, fans can now sink their teeth into The Divine Force and it's one great RPG.

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Star Ocean: The Divine Force screenshot 1
Laeticia treks to her next destination

Star Ocean: The Divine Force focuses on a large party of characters that become embroiled in a war between underdeveloped nations that's being funded by intergalactic bad guys. The contrast between natural landscapes with middle-age settlements and the futuristic world of space exploration is felt throughout and it comes together to create some exceptionally interesting visuals and story elements. When walking around the overworld and looking up, you're greeted with beautiful backdrops of planets, floating platforms, and glowing lasers shooting into the sky and when you look down, you'll see mountain ranges, lush shrubbery, and wild animals. v1d30chumz 44-210-77-106

However, the graphics aren't that impressive given Star Ocean: The Divine Force is on the PlayStation 5. You can choose whether to focus on frame rate or resolution and I found that I had to stay on the frame rate preference because without it, the visuals became choppy far too often. Heck, even with it prioritized, there were some sections that had my character constantly stalling as they walked. In some scenarios, the detailed graphics wouldn't even pop in and I would be looking at a low quality and partially blurry character during a cutscene. Thankfully, this is my biggest gripe with Star Ocean: The Divine Force and it has many, many redeeming qualities.

Star Ocean: The Divine Force screenshot 2
Where's Kevin Bacon when you need him?

As I mentioned, you command a large cast of characters; swapping between them mid-battle as you choose. You also get to focus on 1 of 2 main characters and this will influence some of the scenes and gameplay depending on what that character decides to do at different points in the story. I chose to play as Princess Laeticia Aucerius, a smart and brave young woman who is often travelling with her Knight, Albaird; a pair that has been inseparable since they were children. I enjoyed listening to Laeticia as she speaks very formally which is an interesting contrast to the other protagonist, Raymond Lawrence. Ray is from another planet and is a captain of a spaceship that crash-landed on Laeticia's planet. He's much more casual in demeanour and I enjoyed watching the 2 contrasting characters interact.

Star Ocean: The Divine Force screenshot 3
Please ask for permission before clomping around on someone's roof

As the story progresses, the cast keeps growing and you'll find yourself often swapping out different characters in your party depending on the current area that you're travelling through. Each party member has an interesting back-story to learn about, a skill tree to unlock, and unique weaponry. You'll also unlock different types of crafting as you progress through the story and complete side-quests and some characters are better at crafting certain items. One thing that bugged me every now and then was that whenever a character leaves the party (even momentarily), their accessories are stripped. This felt like it happened way too often and I was constantly re-equipping them. I wish it was handled better like perhaps only un-equipping when that character will be gone for a long period of time.

Both of the protagonists make use of a floating futuristic orb known as D.U.M.A. that assists them in the world map and battle. On the map, D.U.M.A. allows you to speedily fly around and find hidden items in otherwise unreachable places. I thoroughly enjoyed hunting for items across the world with some locations proving to be quite a challenge to reach. This combined with the fact that you can easily change to sprint mode and run very fast made getting around the map an enjoyable feat although there is a fast-travel option, too.

Star Ocean: The Divine Force screenshot 4
These ugly buggers are about to feel our steel

In battle, D.U.M.A. provides the ability to quickly zoom towards enemies and whip around the battlefield. Different abilities use varying amounts of action points which are gained when you're not attacking and the total available points to spend is determined by your skill at using D.U.M.A. before and during battle. For example, zooming towards an enemy and then tilting the stick slightly to change direction right before you strike can trigger a blindside which will increase your action points for that battle and following battles. The same can be said for surprise attacking but if you get hit, your total action points will decrease. This system rewards you for successfully taking down groups of enemies and smartly using D.U.M.A. and it becomes quite difficult if you don't because your action points are limited.

In order to use your action points efficiently, you set up 3 combos in the menu that can be altered as you unlock new abilities for that character. This system includes items as well so you could chain together abilities that heal the party by utilizing items even if you don't have a heal spell, for example. I was pretty random about setting up my chain combos and didn't have a ton of trouble getting through battles that weren't boss fights so there isn't a lot of incentive to unlock all of them except for the ones that are more unique such as a spin attack that hurts enemies all around you. I also wish that when I unlocked new abilities for characters other than the main one that they would use those new abilities in-battle without me having to manually create chain combos for them.

Star Ocean: The Divine Force screenshot 5
Crown me the queen of Es'owa

The world in Star Ocean: The Divine Force is large and there is some backtracking but the fast-travel certainly helps with that. Plus, there's a great deal of variety in landscapes to explore with matching background music for every new area and you'll also get to spend time zooming around sprawling towns and exploring the nooks and crannies to find treasure chests as well as hidden D.U.M.A. points that can be spent upgrading the orb. Side-quests are also available and the odd NPC will ask to play the trending board game Es'owa. By winning matches, you will get a new character piece that can be used in the mini-game which increases your odds of winning. It's quite a simple game but I enjoyed it enough to seek out new players in the hopes of winning their best pieces.

Watching the characters of 2 very different worlds collide creates an interesting story that kept me wanting to play, especially after the halfway point where things really start to heat up. You'll also find yourself constantly questioning the loyalties of new characters and being surprised by the actions of others. With a total length of around 50 hours to simply complete, it's a reasonable length for a JRPG and there is a bunch of extra content in the side-quests which can extend the total play time by a lot.

Star Ocean: The Divine Force screenshot 6
Some people are weird but it's best not to stare

Finally, there are signs of a rushed launch for Star Ocean: The Divine Force but nowhere near as many as the previous main Star Ocean game. I found myself getting stuck in the scenery sometimes and given D.U.M.A. allows you to fly around freely, it's quite easy to do. However, I was always able to jump or fly out of it. Another thing that bugged me sometimes was when characters would be talking as I walked around and it blocked me from interacting with anything so I had to just stand and wait for them to stop chatting. I also had issues with the menus such as when trying to sell items as it isn't optimized for bulk selling and the sorting options keep resetting.

Star Ocean: The Divine Force screenshot 7
Can I please have one of these for bedtime?

Star Ocean: The Divine Force successfully reinvigorates the RPG franchise with an interesting story and characters as well as beautiful settings. D.U.M.A. also makes it fun to zoom around the map and fly through the air on the battlefield. Although the graphics are hit and miss and there are some quality of life improvements needed, Star Ocean: The Divine Force is a JRPG that's definitely worth your time.

  • + Zooming around with D.U.M.A. makes both battles and traversal fun
  • + Interesting characters and story
  • + Beautiful skies and large towns to explore
  • - Needs some quality of life improvements when it comes to menus and getting stuck
  • - Occasional frame rate drops and other minor graphical issues
8.4 out of 10
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Watch Mary play Star Ocean: The Divine Force
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