Here are some general tips for Star Ocean: First Departure R.
1. Active Combat System
Star Ocean: First Departure utilizes the modified version of the game engine used to run Star Ocean: The Second Story for the PS1. SOFD's battle system is active, which means you'll control one of the characters while your other team mates act on their own.
2. Micromanaging your team will be needed for certain battles .
There are times that the character you control will be busy dealing with enemies and one of your teammates are on the verge of dying. Switch to an available character, preferably a spellcaster and use a recovery item or spell. You can also manually order your allies to use a spell or technique.
3. Attack from behind
Controlling your fighter and attacking from the enemy's back can give you higher chances of hitting the enemy and dealing high damage.
4. Protect your spellcasters
You must protect them at all costs. On top of AoE spells, they are also essential in keeping your party healthy as long as they're not interrupted by enemy attacks. If you see some of the enemies going after your spellcasters, manually control them and lead them towards your fighters.
5. Know your targets
You should prioritize in taking down the enemy spellcasters or they'll give you a hard time by healing enemies or casting all-party spells. Your targeting system must be set to Semi-Auto to be able to select targets manually.
6. Character Talents
Each character are efficient in some fields which will affect the success rate of the specialties you want them to learn. For example, a character that doesn't have the Taste talent won't be that successful when cooking. Fortunately, you can have them unlock secret talents by letting them create items through Specialties that they're not really that efficient. For example, if you keep somebody without the Taste talent cook dishes over and over again, he/she will eventually unlock that talent. Or have someone craft accessories to unlock Nimble Fingers talent which not only increases success rate in Crafting but also in Pickpocketing.
7. Increase the Success Rate of Item Creation
When crafting items, play a background music via the Orchestra super specialty or the Goddess' Arrival song. These songs dramatically increase the success rate of creating items while the music is playing.
8. Character Recruitment
SOFD's story varies differently depending on the characters you have in your party. Some characters won't join you if you have specific characters already part of your party. Out of the 9 recruitable characters, you can only get four of them at a time.
9. Equipment and Level Matters
If you come across a difficult boss or area you can't clear, take time to farm exp on easier areas so you can afford better equipment and level up your team.
10. Setting Up Special Arts and Spells
For your fighters, you can set up to two Special Arts. You'll need to set them up here before you can use them in battle. Even when controlled by AI, you allies won't use their Special Arts without setting them up here first. For your spellcasters, you can set up two spells to the L/R buttons as shortcuts and you can also toggle which spells they should use when controlled by AI. It is strongly suggested to turn off weaker spells once you have acquired stronger ones as you level up. Same goes with support or buff spells; turn them off otherwise your spellcaster will prioritize casting it every time.