Star Ocean: First Departure is a role-playing game (RPG) in which players control a group of adventurers as they travel back in time to save a kingdom from a mysterious plague. Players traverse various towns and dungeons and engage creatures in real-time battle using magic and hand-to-hand combat. Numerical values indicate damage inflicted, with enemies disappearing quickly from the battlefield when defeated. Battle sequences are supplemented by cutscenes, including one animated sequence where a character falls to the ground and bleeds green blood. One story interlude features a character – consuming a love potion – who must fend off the unwanted advances from both men and women. Dialogue inlcudes remarks about the physiques of two female members of the party, referring to one as being "flat-chested," while certain female characters wear revealing outfits that expose their cleavage. Characters openly discuss the quality of certain beers and even compete in drinking contests, which leave many in a drunken state. Expletives such as "bastard" and "hell" are heard throughout the dialogue.