Tips and tricks for playing STAR OCEAN THE DIVINE FORCE

Just starting your STAR OCEAN THE DIVINE FORCE adventure? Follow this advice and you’ll be flying through the game in no time!
By Duncan Heaney

STAR OCEAN THE DIVINE FORCE is the complete package. It has everything you could want in an RPG - a thrilling story, a collection of memorable characters, a richly detailed world, a sublime combat system and one heck of a soundtrack.

As you’d hope, it’s also a massive RPG that’s positively bursting things to discover, from the many facets of combat to things hidden around the world itself. There’s a lot to sink your teeth into, so we thought we’d give you a head start by sharing our top 10 starter tips.

1. Blindside where you can

Very early into the adventure, you’ll encounter a mysterious mechanical lifeform called D.U.M.A… and gain some amazing new abilities that change up combat completely.

The most striking of these may well be the VA attack. With a press of a button, you can target an enemy and launch yourself towards them like a missile. This differs depending on the character you’re controlling, but it really sings when you incorporate a Blindside.

Change direction just before reaching your foe, and you’ll zip around them, causing them to lose sight of you. They’ll freeze and be vulnerable to even greater damage. Plus it’s really satisfying when you pull it off.

While not every enemy is susceptible to this tactic, but a great number of them are, so try to Blindside wherever and wherever you can. Not only will it let you take enemies out efficiently, it will also increase your VA gauge for that fight, enabling longer strings of attacks.

2. Consider distance when setting your Chain Combos

STAR OCEAN THE DIVINE FORCE lets you set multiple combat skills to one button and activate them one after the other in a Chain Combo. You can set these up however you like but pay attention to the distance requirements of those skills.

The different moves you can unleash may be designed for long, medium, or short distance, so consider how to put them together in a way that lets them flow together most effectively. There’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ setup, but your Chain Combos will influence your battle strategy so it’s worth taking note of their effective range and any potential weaknesses.

3. You can change your setup at any time

Here’s a scenario: you’re facing a tough enemy and you’re struggling. Something clearly isn’t working - perhaps you’re using a weapon with an element your foe is resistant to, your party members are proving ineffective, or your Chain Combos don’t feel quite right for the job.

You don’t have to grit your teeth and try to brute force the fight, or even run away - simply go to the menu and change things up.

You can change your equipment and party members at any time, even mid-battle, so you’re free to experiment with different setups and find new tactics that take you to victory.

4. Use Stop mode if you need a breather

Battles in STAR OCEAN THE DIVINE FORCE can be quite intense - the speed and mobility of your character, and your enemies, means that fights are fast and frantic. Sometimes you may feel you need to slow things down a little.

That’s where Stop Mode comes in. Use this if you want to pause the action and take a breather. It’s also useful for keeping your party fighting fit - you can give them orders, use items and more, without the pressure of having to make these kinds of decisions while something tries to eat you.

It’s particularly useful during tougher boss fights, where you’ll appreciate the time to plan out your battle strategy - so don’t forget to use it if you need to.

5. Stay stocked up with healing items

Healing items are really important in STAR OCEAN THE DIVINE FORCE - particularly in the early game. Later in the game, you’ll get access to abilities that restore your HP, but even then, it’s important to have restorative items on-hand for emergencies.

Once the crafting system unlocks, you’ll be able to make your own potions, so be sure you make as many as possible.

6. You can set healing items to Chain Combos

While you can pause the game to take healing items, it’s faster to assign them to your Chain Combos. In addition to actions when you press a button, you can also set commands to execute when you hold it instead.

It’s a good idea to put a restorative item on one of these ‘hold’ Chain Combos. It means you’re unlikely to use it by accident, but you can take a swig really fast if you need to.

7. Plan your team’s upgrades carefully

To unlock new skills in STAR OCEAN THE DIVINE FORCE, you must spend SP, gained by fighting enemies. Adding skills also requires an adjacent node in the skill tree to be unlocked, and because the whole tree is visible from the start, you can plan your progression path towards the abilities you really want.

The flexibility of this upgrade system means you have a lot of control over how your character grows - there are active and passive skills available, you can boost existing abilities and more. There’s lots of fun to be had in tailoring each hero to your own liking. Just remember - you can’t respec, so think carefully about how you’re spending your SP.

Also, bear in mind that each character has their own skill tree. It’s worth spending their SP regularly - even if you’re not actively using the character - to ensure they’re up for the fight should you need to sub them in.

8. Switch characters regularly

Don’t feel like you have to stay in command of your default hero. You can seamlessly switch between characters in and out of battle - and we recommend you do this.

Every character has a different fighting style, and it’s advantageous for you to learn their ins and outs, strengths and weaknesses first hand. What’s more, some will be ideally suited for certain combat challenges, and taking direct control means you can use their skills more efficiently than the AI can.

And sometimes you’ll want to do it because it’s simply really fun to mix things up now and then!

9. Use D.U.M.A. to find secrets

The environments of STAR OCEAN THE DIVINE FORCE are large and packed with secrets to discover. Unlike many other RPGs, you’re not stuck on terra firma - thanks to D.U.M.A. you can fly up to almost any point with the press of a button. That means you can expect to find hidden chests and the like all over the world - not just in the obvious places.

Use your Vanguard Assault to explore everywhere you see. Get on top of buildings and cliffs. Soar to the top of pillars. You probably don’t have to go far to find something cool - just be observant.

Also don’t forget that D.U.M.A’s has a scan ability, which is useful for finding nearby items.

10. Change difficulty if you’re struggling

If you’re really struggling with a fight, don’t forget that you can adjust the difficulty of the game. There’s no shame in lowering the challenge if you’re beating your head against a section of the game - that’s partly what the option is there for.

If you’re in it for the challenge, that’s fine - you can always change up your strategy as discussed or go with the tried and tested RPG route of battling enemies to gain more strength. But most of all, we want people to have fun - so play the game how you want!

We hope those tips help you hit the ground running (or flying) in STAR OCEAN THE DIVINE FORCE.

The game is out now physically and digitally for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One and digitally for Steam.

In addition to the standard addition, you can also get the Digital Deluxe Edition, which includes the game’s stunning soundtrack, as well as some in-game items, including the Armor pack and Accessory pack.

Early purchase any physical or digital edition of STAR OCEAN THE DIVINE FORCE and you’ll get a mini game pawn pack for the Es’owa minigame.

The digital early purchase incentive will be available until November 30, 2022.

If you want even more STAR OCEAN THE DIVINE FORCE goodness, we’re also giving away some stunning artwork by legendary artist Akiman. Head over to Twitter to find out how to enter the sweepstakes:

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