The story of Star Ocean EX is completely based on the first disc of the PSX game, Star Ocean: The Second Story.
In the game, you can pick to play from either the point of view of Rena, or Claude. The anime chooses to follow Claude.
Claude C. Kenni is a young ensign on a mission with his father. When they arrive on a strange planet, Claude decides to prove his worth, and inspect a mysterious object on his own, against his fathers protests. When Claude comes into contact with this object, he is transported to the underdeveloped planet, Expel, where he mets Rena Lanford. Rena believes Claude is the Hero of the Light, here to save Expel from destruction. So our story begins with Claude and Rena embarking on a mission to destroy the Sorcery Globe.
There is nothing particularily special about this anime's animation. While it is full of battles, it falls back to the "single shot, shakey screen" method for attacks. However, the characters have great expressions, and it is a very colourful anime, with nice backgrounds.
The music is based off the soundtrack from the game. The game's music is (in my opinion) superior, but the nice remix of the music does fit well in the show. They use it to set moods, and it's not placed into a scene awkardly, so it keeps the story flowing.
There is some original scores, that are also very nicely done, and were also made by the same man who created the music for the game, Motoi Sakuraba.
Though I personally dislike Claude, this anime definitly benefits from a wide variety of characters. There is notably, 10 of the 12 main characters from the game, as well as atleast 3 original characters, and 3 NPC's from the game, brought to life with more personality (ie Yuki, Jam Shop Girl in Salva). The characters that they do focus on generally all follow the usual character personalities, but when hit with a character like Ashton (ie Possesed by Dragons Guy), you suddenly find yourself with some entirely unique characters.
Enjoyment varies. If you played the game originally, you may be a bit disappoint with how the characters seemed to have developed, the plot holes, how they cut out some of the best aspects of the game (such as the game had it so that you could make ANYONE be with anyone. While Rena and Claude are the title lovers in the show, in the game, you can virtually make them with anyone), and the way they messed up some of the storyline. However, it's still enjoyable for the big fans, who love the game no-matter-what (such as I).
If you never played the game, or you are just an SO3 fan, this could be a totally new experience, that you may or may not enjoy. With the anime being recently translated into English, you can gain access to this anime anyway possible.
Overall / My Comments / My Feelings
To begin with, I honestly think picking Claude as the main-main character over Rena was an entirely stupid idea. I'm not saying this because I am a well known Claude-hater, Rena-fan, it's just Claude's story is weak in comparison to Rena's.
To begin with, even playing Claude's story, it all goes back into focus about Rena's mysterious past, and how it's her world they are saving. Even then, it might be a bit boring, because we can't really relate with Rena (since they made her act 5, instead of 17 like she is..) they could still do a flip-main character theme, where it's going between the two, and their point of views.
I also have an incredible dislike for all the pairings. I have always had my strong belief in Rena/Ashton. Though not a popular pair, I can't see him with Precis (which they make him adore), nor Celine (though she's better than Precis). I always imagined it as Precis/Leon, and Celine would be with practically anyone (I usually pick Noel though, who isn't even in the anime). They balant favouritism towards Claude/Rena really bugs me. I wouldn't mind so much if they made it develop, instead of "Omg Claude, it's episode 1, but I love you already!!" That just really gets to me.
A final bit is, this series ends in a HUGE cliffhanger. As in, it's in desperate need of a second season, but we'll never see it.
By this, I mean, the second disc is suppose to be season 2, but the creators cancelled finishing the series, and went on to better things (whatever the hell that might be).
Anyways, if you are a SO fan of any sort (be it 1, 2 or 3) you will probably like to see this. So1 fans, this is what happens after, So2 fans, this is what you all dreamed about, and So3 fans, this is why your game sucks.