Compared to the massive overhaul Tri-Ace gave Star Ocean: First Departure, the new features list in Star Ocean: Second Evolution feels light. I suppose, Tri-Ace doesn’t want to mess with the formula too much since Star Ocean: The Second Story is held in such high regard. However, they are fleshing out the characters through new private actions.
Yes, Star Ocean: The Second Story had events that let players alter relationships between characters. Star Ocean: Second Evolution will have additional ones including a scene with Dias/Rena and another with Claude/Leon.