All Star Ocean The Second Story R Difficulties Explained

Earth's only the beginning

Star Ocean Second Story R screenshot of characters running down a path through a field.

Combat in Star Ocean The Second Story R is one of its most important aspects, and it’s all determined by which difficulty you pick at the start of your playthrough. So here’s everything you need to know about each and every difficulty in Star Ocean The Second Story R.

All Difficulties in Star Ocean Second Story R

Second Story R has three different difficulties: Earth, Galaxy, and Universe, which would translate to our usual Easy, Normal, and Hard modes. And true to these usual archetypes, they’ll adapt the game’s combat (and other minor aspects) accordingly.

Earth Difficulty

Earth is the easiest difficulty of all, suited for those who just want to sit back and enjoy the story without worrying too much about combat. Enemies will deal minimum damage to you, if they ever decide to point a finger in your direction.

Galaxy Difficulty

Galaxy could be considered equivalent to a “normal” mode. Normal mode’s a bit of a bigger challenge, but nothing major. You shouldn’t find most Boss or Leader battles that much different than most regular encounters, but Raid battles will still prove a worthy obstacle to you. No real grind is needed, and you might often end up being too over-leveled for certain portions of the game.

Universe Difficulty

Become the strongest in the Universe! The Universe difficulty is the hardest of all Star Ocean The Second Story R’s difficulties. This challenge is a huge step up from Galaxy and enemies can easily one-shot you if you’re not careful. You’ll be left in shambles if you survive that first blow. Raids and Leaders are scary, not to mention the extra bosses. Grinding and using your Specialties will be more than necessary, and you might still find some battles to be extremely hard if you don’t play perfectly.

Higher difficulties won’t give you more experience or loot, so the only way to effectively grind some levels is through Specialties like Train. As long as you have a reliable way to survive, of course.

Which Difficulty Should You Pick in Star Ocean Second Story R?

If you don’t want to worry too much about what you’re using or your actual composition, you can’t go wrong with Galaxy. It’ll provide you with an interesting challenge from time to time, and the experience/money you get should be enough for most of your needs.


Star Ocean Second Story R has no achievements/trophies tied to difficulty. So no need to worry about achievement-hunting influencing your choice of difficulty.

But if you’re daring to go a little beyond, Universe might be interesting to try out. Some normal encounters could knock you out in the cold, though, so be extra careful here. Your effort is rewarded with extra loot at the end of each battle, but no drops are exclusive to Universe difficulty, so you’re not missing anything if you walk away from it.

Can You Change the Difficulty in Star Ocean Second Story R?

You can change your difficulty at anytime outside of combat in Star Ocean Second Story R. Simply go to the System menu and down to Battle Settings to toggle between difficulties, and there’s no consequence for you to doing so. You might tune it down for Galaxy if a certain boss is getting too annoying to deal with in Universe. But you can consider getting extra characters if you still need some extra help.

About the Author

Patrick Souza

Unfortunately stuck on Hoyoverse hell. Whenever he gets the chance to escape, he enjoys playing some good 'n old RPGs and other story-driven games. Loves tackling hard challenges in games, but his cats are still the hardest bosses he could ask for.