Star Ocean is a classic JRPG series that dates back to the SNES. The series has struggled recently to remain relevant and The Last Hope is no exception. Is a solid battle system enough to carry a...
Lengthy Story and Post Game, Fun Battle System
Weak Writiing, Poor Voice Acting, Sub Par Graphics
Star Ocean is a classic JRPG series that dates back to the SNES. The series has struggled recently to remain relevant and The Last Hope is no exception. Is a solid battle system enough to carry a game in spite of everything else?
*I spoil the identity of the main "enemy" and a few locations, skip this section if you want the absurd revelation left unspoiled*
The Year is SD 10 and so begins Man's first warp flight to another solar system in search of a new home. Here we join the worst named main character in recent memory, Edge Maverick and his childhood friend Reimi Saionji as they set off for worlds unknown. Naturally things go very wrong mid warp and several ships crash land on their target planet, Aeos. What Luck! From here the story gets even more absurd as their futuristic guns have no effect on the native insects. Only primitive weapons, such as swords and bows work. As Edge and Reimi set off to find another nearby ship they meet an Alien, Faize a member of a advanced species from the planet Eldar that has been in contact with Earth for some time, way to inform your crew Captain...
Here we get our first clue of the main story as a strange monster attacks, upon defeat it is revealed to have been created by a strange rock... This turn of events leads to the Calnus' Captain staying behind to work at the new base established on Aeos by the Eldarians and Edge gets a field promotion to Captain, leaving himself, Reimi, and Faize as the only crew for the now repaired and upgraded Calnus... The story doesn't get any less absurd either, it actually gets worse. This is one spoiler I don't care to drop, the main villain is a freaking space anomaly with no real will of it's own, it just feeds on evolution... you read that right, it grows as species grow, and it uses those rocks to speed up the process.
Aside from a tie in to Star Ocean The First Departure, where you visit the planet from the bulk of that adventure, a trip to the "past", and the developing relationship between Edge and Reimi (most of which is optional and missable and has nothing to do with the main plot) there really isn't much to redeem the main story, it is poorly written and paced from beginning to end and all the good parts are filler.
Overworld exploration is clunky at best, the controls barely get the job done. A dash button helps with getting around the massive areas. Combat controls are thankfully much better and this is the only redeeming feature of the game. Combat is fast and updates at 60fps. Star Ocean plays much like a 3D fighting game, using combos, dodges and blocks to win battles. Button Mashing will not get you very far, learning the ins and outs of the battle system is a necessity if you want to beat any of the games later foes.
They will make your eyes hurt, trying to combine 3D anime character models with semi realistic graphics just does not work and your brain will almost outright reject them. Star Ocean is a series that either needs to be fully realistic or Cell shaded, not some bizarre mixture of both. The character's eyes will haunt your nightmares.
The music is a high point, with few tracks that aren't above average. Voice acting ranges from decent (Laura Baily as Reimi) to cringe inducing (Lymle... let me never hear her again, Kay?) The option to use the Japanese voices is present, but they aren't much better than the dub sadly.
If not for the fantastic battle system, I would have probably never finished the game, or spent as much time with the post game as I did. I have trouble recommending the game otherwise, come for the battles, skip the story. I could go on for a while about all the short comings of the game, but the battle system is fun, and we play games to have fun. If you can look past these many flaws you may find some enjoyment in the game.
Sub 720p with 30fps field exploration
Sub 720 with unlocked 60fps for battles
Played to completion on a Samsung 51C450 720p Plasma with a cheap Logitec 2.1 PC speaker system in early 2011
Post game and a partial New Game Plus played on a Sharp 70LE732 with stock speakers.