Best Abilities to Level Up Early in Star Ocean The Second Story R

No determination will get you nowhere.
Star Ocean Second Story R Best Abilities to Level Featured

Leveling in Star Ocean The Second Story R is quite straightforward, but knowing what to level isn’t as simple. You’ll get Skill Points and Ability Points from battles and other sources, but you should be mindful of what you’ll be activating first. Here are some of the best choices.

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Best Skills to Level Up in Star Ocean Second Story R

Once you get full access to the Improve option in the menu, you can start leveling your IC/Specialties Skills, Combat Skills, and Special Arts/Spells. These will use either SP or BP which you get by battle and leveling up. Guild and Challenge Missions often also reward you with some extras.

Best IC/Specialty Skills in Star Ocean Second Story R

Item Creation and Specialties are unlocked by leveling the appropriate Abilities in this tab. Some of them give you status boosts and therefore are always worth leveling regardless of which Specialty you’re planning to unlock on that character.

  • Determination: Costs 120 in total and reduces the required SP for every other ability. Max this out before touching any other ability here.
  • Knife & Technology: Increases ATK and greatly benefits physical characters (Claude, Opera, Dias, etc)
  • Mineralogy & Faeriology: Increases INT and greatly benefits magical characters (Rena, Celine, Leon, etc)
  • Biology: Increases maximum HP according to level. Useful for everyone.
  • Mental Science: Increases maximum MP according to level. Useful for everyone.
  • Aesthetic Design: Increases ATK, INT, AVD, and HIT all at once. Useful for everyone.
  • Herbology: Increases the amount of HP/MP restored by Berries.

While you’ll automatically unlock certain Specialties by focusing on these Abilities, you have to go out of your way to unlock some other incredibly useful Specialties. Some of the best ones available early are:

  • Writing: Requires Penmanship. Allows you to create books that have many effects, including immediately leveling certain Abilities like Mineralogy.
  • Train: Requires Effort, Determination and Resilience. Increases EXP gained in battle by reducing your base stats.
  • Fishing: Requires Biology and Item Knowledge. Allows you to fish bigger sea creatures. Fishes can be exchanged for big prizes in Harley.
  • Familiar: Requires Whistling and Animal Training. Lets you shop inside dungeons and unlocks Bunny Call if enough party members learn it.
  • Replication: Requires Imitation. Makes a perfect copy of your items. Perfect to save and to make money.
  • Pickpocketing: Requires Courage and Poker Face. Allows you to steal from other NPCs (including Party Members) in cities. Requires having Thief’s Gloves.

All Specialties are useful in some way and you should always have at least one person in your party with them. The ones listed above are some of the most unique and should be prioritized, but don’t neglect the others by any means.


Some characters can learn Talents after using certain Specialties. Whenever they learn a talent, they get 100 SP and BP for free, so try learning these when possible.

Best Combat Skills in Star Ocean Second Story R

BP is easy to get and you can use it to activate special battle passives. They can randomly activate during battle while certain others are active at all times. Certain skills are worthless for fighters but perfect for mages and vice versa, so don’t bother leveling those on the opposite archetype.

  • Hasten Speech: Reduces cast time for spells. Mandatory for mages like Rena.
  • Concentration: Makes your spells less likely to be interrupted by enemies. Perfect fit for mages.
  • Interrupt: Your spells might randomly interrupt the enemies’ own casts. Also needed for mages.
  • Trance: Randomly increases spells’ damage. Also for mages.
  • Backstab: Randomly teleports behind an enemy as if you attack it Perfect for melee fighters.
  • Sidestep: Randomly dodges attacks. Great for everyone, but more useful for melees.
  • Power Burst: Randomly increases ATK. Also for melees.
  • Guardbreak: Randomly ignores enemies’ defense. Useful for everyone.
  • Qigong: Randomly increases defense. Useful for everyone.
  • Godspeed: Increases movespeed and might teleport you to an advantageous attacking position. Useful for everyone.
  • Breaker: Makes breaking an enemy shield easier. Great for everyone, especially those with Break-based Arts/Spells.

Best Special Arts/Spells in Star Ocean Second Story R

These are somewhat trickier as you might be constantly changing your assigned arts/spells depending on battle, so in a perfect world, you would level all of them. But focus on stronger skills for each character as you get them. Not always the most expensive Art to level is the strongest, but all can be useful given the right situation.

What’s the Difference Between IC/Specialty Skills and Combat Skills in Star Ocean Second Story R?

IC/Specialty Skills increase your base stats, and learning certain combinations of those will give that character a Specialty, which works much like a profession. You can make healing/buffing items with Cooking, create special battle tools with Machinery, or make new equipment with Customize, for example. IC stands for Item Creation.

Combat Skills are special traits that activate while in battle, and have effects like boosting your damage, ignoring the target’s defense or automatically dodging/blocking hits. They don’t directly increase your stats, but are incredibly useful later in the game when you already have plenty of base stats. IC/Specialty Skills require SP to level, while Combat Skills and Special Arts/Spells require BP.

Later arts/spells are more expensive but also more powerful, so they’re worth the investment. Your protagonist will probably have more SP/BP than other characters early on, so they’ll be likely the first to max those out.

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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.