A Series That Needs No Introduction
Ocean is a J-RPG series that from the SNES gen to the PS2 gen never once dropped the ball, the Second Story to me is the finest
chapter the series ever had to offer and it is game that passed many gamer because it has the misfortune of being released
in the golden era of the J-RPG along side Final Fantasy VII, VIII, Xenogears, Grandia etc.
being said Star Ocean the Last Hope comes in the weakest era of the J-RPG on Consoles, in fact most of the good stuff now
is found on handhelds and Final Fantasy is no longer Final Fantasy, so is Star Ocean still… well… Star
one are where the series has gotten progressively better is in its visuals, the art work is fantastic as always and looks
a level under the FFXIII water mark but at this point we shouldn’t care much, it is one of the better looking J-RPGs
on this gen that started in 2005.
character models, have nice details and animation the enemy designs could have been more varied, but they do the job, the
game’s story is mostly told using the game engine which boggles the mind because the game comes packed in 3 DVDs on
environments are large and while the game is composed of different planets with on a town or two to explore and dungeon it
works well, since I wasn’t expecting much freedom anyway the overworld map has officially died this generation of consoles
(Unless your RPG starts with “Tales” at the beginning).
Sakuraba Still is World Class
Final Fantasy no longer sound like Final Fantasy and being that much worst for it, my complaint here will seem rather hypocritical,
and yet Star Ocean sounds too much like the previous too, and that’s good because you know you are playing Star Ocean
but at the same time I would like Sakuraba to take the same risks Uematsu took while at the helm of the FF series scores.
being said the Man still delivers and musically just like with the visual package this is a game that can stand along side
any game on the market today.
A Solid Story
wise The Last Hope presents us with a cast full of RPG clichés. The characters are so simple minded in their approach to anything
they encounter through the story that it is hard to believe that the game saw the light of day in 2009 and that RPGs in the
late 90’s were in the literal sense way ahead of anything I have seen out of Japan in this generation Xenoblade included.
story is clichéd to the core, there is an absence of a clear cut villain for the most part, and of any kind of form of government
to keep things together and yet for some reason the tribulations of Edge Maverick (the protagonist) and company are entertaining
for the most part thanks to the fact that this might be the shortest Star Ocean ever clocking at 32 hours and the fact that
after having played FFXIII, Infinite Undiscovery, and even Xenoblade Chronicles I have come to expect mundane plots with inconsequential
character development from my RPGs.
tale of Edge Maverick and Company is not nearly as captivating as Claude and Rena’s was more than a decade ago, but
it does the job to carry the player through to the uneventful and disappointing ending.
game could have done much better had much touted “Affinity System” actually served a story changing purpose at
least on Edge’s part with the females on the game. The game forces Reimi on you from the very beginning and even though
Myuria and Sarah are the stronger the female leads they are relegated to secondary roles Myuria as the hot busty elven chick with a kick a$$ attitude and Sarah as the dumb and innocent comic relief of
the game. Reimi is supposed to be this caring living girl that just suffers for edge during the entire thing but for what
ever reason I never felt compelled by her character.
the greatest character in the game is Welch and she isn’t even a full time member of the party but she is super funny,
in fact her brilliant humorous rants made me wonder why the writers didn’t treat the rest of the characters dialog with
the same care.
must be said that many of the characters like Sarah and Myuria who join the party later in the game do not have enough time
to develop properly since Tri Ace for what ever reason has decided to make short storied RPGs this gen.
players will find that they have experienced this tale may times before in better games than this, God I miss the nineties,
I really do…good times.
one where the game improved over previous installments is on the item creation system, it is simpler now than before which
will bother some of the purists but honestly the system in Till the End of Time was ultra tough and this system is no different
if you take the time to master it, but it is not necessary to have super powerful weapons this time around to succeed in the
still is an integral part of the game even in the new easy mode, still nothing too demanding, that last stretches of boss
battles are long and tedious though.
battle system is still composed of the same action oriented controls with special emphasis on elemental properties of both
weapons and enemies. Star Ocean
still has it where it counts on the battle department. While there is no world map the worlds are full of treasure chests
and tedious side missions to accomplish.
MUST OWN FOR SERIES FANS
you are a fan of Star Ocean
titles there is no reason to not buy this installment, it is the weakest entry in the series but still better than most RPGS
not named Tales on this generation of consoles.
Gameplay: 8.5- Grinding
returns but not as tedious as before and the item system while simplified offers quite a bit of depth. While the game does
have a few frustating boss battles and some later ones which are inadequately long, gameplay is an area where this series
has always excelled and it still does in this latest chapter.
Graphics: 8.5- Could
it have looked better? Yes, still the game does a great job of improving somewhat on Infinite Undiscovery’s visuals
which were already very good. The eye balls of the characters look absolutely fantastic.
Sound: 8.0- Sakuraba
still has it, and the voice acting isn’t half bad either.
Story: 7.0- Cliched and
short in character development, I expect more of Tri Ace’s flagship series.
Addictiveness: 6.0- Too
many better alternatives on the market right now to stick with this title after a playthrough.
Overall: 8.0- Not a bad title, Tri Ace doesn’t drop the ball here,
they never do but those expecting a return to the 2nd Story’s glory days will be disappointed