The Star Ocean series have always been released on the PlayStation platform ever since the first Star Ocean was released on the PSOne. The fourth game however, the Last Hope, was an exclusive on the XBOX 360 but later, Square-Enix decided to bring Last Hope on the PlayStation 3 with goodies of course. Star Ocean: the Last Hope International Edition is the superior version of the XBOX 360 with added content that will please Japanese RPG fans.
The International Edition of the Last Hope has some slight improvements over the XBOX 360 version. Gamers who played the other version will find nothing special with this one since the story stays intact. With the International Edition finally released in all regions of the world, how does this game stands up to the PS3 RPG gamers? Let’s take a look on the HOTs and NOTs of Star Ocean: the Last Hope International Edition:
The voice work in Last Hope is indeed insane and poorly acted. Nothing was redone in terms of voice acting in this version. However, fans who rather prefer to listen to the Japanese voice overs will be glad to hear that a Japanese audio track is included in this International Edition version. I admit, the Japanese voice overs sound a lot better than the dubbed ones. Conversations and texts in the game can also be changed by various language such as Spanish and French. This game sure is international-friendly making everyone in the world have a chance to play this RPG. No language barriers!
It’s been a tradition to all Star Ocean titles to have an anime portrait of each character. When the XBOX 360 was released, there was no option to change the portraits of the characters. With the International Edition, there will be an option to change the character portrait to either anime classic portrait or the ones that’s been used for the XBOX 360 version. Honestly, it gives me the classic Star Ocean feel with the anime portraits.
Addicting Battle System
What makes Star Ocean: The Last Hope stand out with the rest of the RPGs that are currently out now is the battle system. There is a lot of depth that needs to be placed in the Battle system of the Last Hope. It is in real time and with the features such as Blind side, makes battles even more intense. Successfully performing Blindside will allow you to escape from the enemies’ target and giving you a chance to counter it. It takes some practice but once done, you will deal massive damage when you counter their attack.
Another way to give massive damage to your enemies is through chaining combo attacks. Performing chain attacks requires a rapid succession of combo and special attacks. The right timing is required to successfully do it and if done right, you’re going to unlock some Bonuses through the Bonus Board. The Bonus Board was first introduced in Star Ocean 3: Till the End of Time and it’s a great way to give some boost to your EXP and FOL points after battle. Similar to the Till the End of Time, certain conditions must be met to unlock something from your Bonus Board. This varies from dealing a critical hit to the enemy or after surviving multiple waves of ambush. The only time the Bonus Board chain will break if you receive critical damage or when you flee from battle.
There are no more random encounters in the Last Hope. All of the enemies can be see on the field. Escaping from their line of sight is possible but once they see you, you have to run away from them. I’ve been a hater of random encounters and I am glad that the Last Hope doesn’t have that feature.
The Planet Earth was on the brink of destruction and the people on Earth must find a new home in the great Star Ocean. With the USTA (Universal Science and Technology Administration) establishing a new project to find a place for humans to live in the Star Ocean , their first official mission begins. Without them knowing, a threat hindering the possibility to find a home for humans is about to begin.
The Last Hope is the prequel to all Star Ocean titles. This is the game that will show you how they managed to settle colonies and federations in the Planets you have visited in past Star Ocean titles. Fans of the series will be able to see familiar planets such as Planet Roak. The story of the game is pretty decent and fans of the series will find it interesting on how the great exploration began that gave humanity a second home after World War III.
Stunning Graphics & No Disc Swapping!
Thanks to the power of Blu-Ray, there is no need to swap discs! All of the goodies in Star Ocean can be played in just one disc. Expect the graphics in the PS3 version to be more stunning and detailed. The environment and cut scenes are phenomenal making it a pleasure to watch.
More Sidequest + Over 60+ of Gameplay
If you are a completest, expect roughly 60 hours of gameplay with the Last Hope. There are a lot of quests that can be done in this game. They are more or less likely to be delivery quests but the reward can be quite useful. Finishing each delivery quest can give you FOL that can be used to buy new equipment or items to help you on your journey.
Item Creation is back in this game! With this feature, you can create any items that can be used as your equipment or items. Before starting to craft your items, you will need a recipe. Recipes can be obtained by pairing up three characters and the outcome of what you can make depends on the Skills that they have. Remember that you can teach your characters to have Alchemy skills, Herbalist, and more. There are a lot of items to create, so make sure you experiment!
Awful Voice Acting
What makes my heart break with Star Ocean: The Last Hope is the poor voice acting. When watching the characters speak, you can see that the lip doesn’t sync to the voices and that makes the character looks like a doll is trying to speak. This gives me more reason to change to the Japanese audio track rather than the dubbed. Square-Enix didn’t redo any of the voice acting in the International Edition. What you hear from the XBOX 360 version can be heard in this version as well! The good thing is, we can change it back to Japanese audio track!
PS3 owners who are looking forward for a great Japanese RPG aside from Final Fantasy XIII, should get Star Ocean: The Last Hope International. I know everyone is craving for Final Fantasy XIII but fans who loved past Star Ocean titles should not miss this chance to play the game that started it all. If you have a XBOX 360 and played this game already, there is no reason why you should pick this up but if you’ve been waiting for this game to arrive on the PlayStation 3, should go ahead and dig this game. Star Ocean: the Last Hope International Edition is another Japanese RPG masterpiece that will be remembered.
[Editor’s Note: Star Ocean: The Last Hope was reviewed on a PS3 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher]Star Ocean: the Last Hope International Review,