The 24 Games Of Christmas! Day #23: Star Ocean: The Divine Force

Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say, on a bright Hawaiian Christmas Day,

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It’s that time of year, friends! The house is filled with greens and reds, the music channels all start dropping the Wham, Buble and Mariah, the fridge fills up with eggnog and we gorge ourselves on fruit mince pie. It’s such a special time of year!

We love the season at DDNet, and one of the best things about it is that it’s also the perfect time to catch up on some games. When you’re not juggling parties and gatherings, it’s a slower time for work and it’s easier to steal a bit of time on the side to play something new, or finally get through that game that you stalled on.

Each year at DDNet we run a “games of Christmas” list, that works just like an advent calendar. We count down to Christmas by sharing one game recommendation for the season each day. Crank up the Jingle Bells and get into the spirit of the season with these!

Day #23: Star Ocean: The Divine Force (Read our review here)

Star Ocean The Divine Force Review 3

I don’t necessarily think that Star Ocean is the best-made JRPG of 2023. The year has been so jammed-packed with them that I wouldn’t want to try and pick a “best”, but Star Ocean does have its issues which means it’s slightly off the pace. It’s still well-made enough, don’t get me wrong, but it’s just ever so slightly more difficult to get excited for on that “objective” level.

However, Star Ocean has been the game that has stuck in my head this year, as a narrative experience and artistic work. It’s a different vision for the JRPG, and successful in being so. For this reason, this is the one that I recommend that people play as their JRPG over the holiday period. Great characters, a great combat system, amazing visual aesthetics and, all around, a true vision that has, hopefully, saved a series we had all thought was dying.


Matt S. is the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of DDNet. He's been writing about games for over 20 years, including a book, but is perhaps best-known for being the high priest of the Church of Hatsune Miku.

  • Yeah, this game was a bit rough around the edges (and I can’t help but think budget constraints held it back a bit towards the end), but it was an absolute blast to play & I loved the more sci-fi twist.

    I also liked that it was a “bigger” JRPG that wasn’t afraid to wear it’s love for the sillier aspects of the genre on it’s sleeve (like some of the more fan service-y character design or that a major collectable were multicolored bunny rabbits) at a time when *Final Fantasy* (and other “big” JRPGs) seems to be toning that stuff down. Reminds me a lot of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 in that regard (even XC3, which I loved, seemed to be playing things more straight compared to it’s predecessor).

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