Saturday, 13 August 2011

Star ocean:The last hope international

Gamespot score:7.5(Good)

my score:8.0

(+)Pros:-Kickass visuals coupled with incredibly flashy attack and skill animations,-combat is fluid and incredibly fun,-japanese voice acting and many other new options,-likable characters for most of the part,- bosses require some strategy.

(-)Cons:-TERRIBLE english voice acting,-Story could use a little more work.

Gameplay time:30-40 hours

As of late, the RPG industry has taken quite a dip, especially for the 4th gen consoles. No really amazing RPGs have been released on the 4th gen consoles recently (Im not really counting the likes of mass effect in there). Star ocean: The last hope, was exactly what that industry needed. For a console RPG, its solid, and much better than the other shit out there like cross edge or the last rebellion. For RPG fans, the star ocean series shouldnt be a stranger, and the last hope is the series' debut on the 4th gen console. It came out for the 360 1st, but some time later an "international" version came out for the PS3 with some extras. And its safe to say, Star ocean:The last hope international, is still a great game for those who havent played it.

The story of star ocean:The last hope is somewhat similar in some ways to star ocean 3:Till the end of time. You play as edge maverick, a young human male that is eager to help his race as much as he can. Earth has been obliterated through nuclear techinal warfare, and the remaining of the civilization took off to space, developing new technologies and hoping to find other suitable planets to restore life. Edge and his childhood friend, reimi, have been chosen as crew members of the calnus, a ship made to explore new planets. Right off the bat they crash land into thier very first planet aeos, and the local crew members get attacked by hostile life forms. From there on, edge, with the help of some new born power, fights off the monsters. Reimi and edge later go around aeos to locate the other ships that crash landed, but they discover an exterrasional life form and a crystal so deadly that could spell doom to the universe.

Fend off space bugs and many other evil creatures.

Star ocean:The last hope plays like most of its predecessors. You explore dungeons, forests, caves, fortresses and many other visually stunning environments. Not just the environments, everything looks great in this game, ranging from characters to monsters and even buildings. They really went all out here. Most of the time, you just have to move from one area to another, to proceed deeper into the story. On the way, there are tons of monsters that stand in your path. Much  like "till the end of time", battles only start when you run into the monsters.

The monsters are mostly aggressive, when they spot you on the field, they'll most likely come after you. When you are caught from behind, the enemies will get a preemptive strike. The opposite will happen if you catch an enemy from behind. The battle starts normally when you and the enemy run straight into each other. Kind of a simple theory, really. You can also just run past all enemies, but that will just cripple you later on, since you kind of need to grind to beat bosses. Other than that, you can use character field skills to exploit stuff such as plants and cracks to pick up plants or mine some ores. These can come in handy. Places you explore are also fairly huge and have branching paths, making self exploration a satisfactory thing to do, since you will always be picking up treasures on these side paths.

Boss fights are tough, look at the damage you do to him.

Battles, however, are the main focus of the game and are a ton of fun. Battle is pretty much like "Till the end of time", once again. You get free control of the party leader, and can switch between any of the 4 characters you have in battle any time. While in control of a character, you can FREELY run around the field and hit enemies anytime you want, or wait for an enemy to attack, then go in for some hits of your own. Its cool in a way, little RPGs like that allow free character control (its kind of like a tales game). As said, you can freely switch between the 4 characters. If you leader dies, you can temporary switch to another and play as him/her until the match ends, even if your leader gets resurrected, you can put him/her on AI control. Also, if you find a character not doing really well AI controlled, you can switch to that character and do what you think the AI should have done.

You can set your party members to different AI strategies, asking them to go all out, stay out of trouble..etc. The AI control isnt bad, but sometimes when you think they dont heal too oftenly, you can just switch to them and spam heal or something. Also, you get to use your 4 bench characters too. If your main 4 starts to die or fail, you can switch in any of the 4 bench characters and use them. In battle, your characters have really flashy skills, and you can set shortcuts to them and pull off some pretty devastating and cool looking combos. You can manually pull them off via the battle menu, but setting shortcuts makes battle look more action based and fluid.

Belive me, the english voice acting is crap.

Now on to the flaws of the game. Star ocean:The last hope has a pretty predictable story. I loved the story in "Till the end of time", but in "The last hope", things are SOMEWHAT similar. The plot is predictable, and that one moment during the last boss really doesnt help much. I won't spoil the plot, but if you've been playing A LOT of RPGs (like me), dont expect the plot to really wow you. Also, the english voice acting is crap, nonsense, GARBAGE. I have never seen such terrible english voice acting in a LONG time. LUCKILY, there is japanese voice acting in the international version. THANK YOU SQUARE FOR THE JAP VOICES.

The last hope is a great RPG overall. If you have played any of the previous star ocean games and by any chance did enjoy them, you will probably be pleased with the last hope. The story probably  wont wow most of those playing the game, but the combat, visuals and environment exploration is definetely top notch. RPG fans are recommended to get this, even more so when you love the star ocean series.

Happy gaming.