8

Second Evolution takes all that was fun in First Departure and carries it on, though it's a little slow to get into.

I quite enjoyed the first Star Ocean remake for PSP. First Departure featured bright, colorful, well-animated new visuals, terrific quality cut-scenes, tons of solid voice-acting, and an overall wonderful old-skool JRPG experience.

Second Evolution carries that on -- the game looks, sounds, and feels great. It improves on First Departure in a few ways, and I also feels takes a bit of a step back in a few ways:

The better:
* Far less long backtracks across the world map. The game, for the most part, gets you around the world quickly and efficiently.
* Deeper NPCs -- those that join your party are a little more interesting to hang with and learn about.

The worse:
* The first 10 hours or so of the game feel very, very slow. You'll endure some amazingly banal and long conversations along the lines of "Did you like the food?" "Yes I did, thank you!" "You are so kind. Was it enough?" "It was. Everything was delicious." "I'm glad." "No problem -- where did you learn to cook like that?" ....... with a lengthy pause between each line of dialog (whether you choose to skip the voice-over or not).
* I felt the game was a lot easier than First Departure, though that may have been more of an issue of me already knowing how skills and combat work.

Overall, if you liked First Departure you should definitely pick this one up -- it's a solid and wonderful JRPG on the PSP. If you were on the fence with FD, then I still think this is a solid choice. However, if FD was not your cup of tea, Second Evolution won't be, either.

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