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Star Ocean: The Last Hope


Jamie John
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Picked this up last weekend at high street prices. It's now £22 in Gamestation, balls! (But for those of you who are interested but not yet bought, enjoy :lol:)

Oh well. Can't put a price on a good game and all that so I hope it's worthwhile; finally got the chance to give it a go today. Most RPG openings can be a bit dull. This was, too. I didn't really care about the very first bits, it didn't draw me in, but by one hour, I'm pretty hooked. As hooked as I get to proper console games, anyway!

It's got something that none of the RPGs I've played to date have ever had (and that's quite a lot of RPGs, but not so many in recent years, to be fair) - suspense. I was wandering through the first proper 'zone' and when I hear someone else's footsteps I find myself stopping in my tracks and quickly panning the camera around to see what beastie is lurking in the shadows. Somehow such a small touch just makes me feel that much more involved!

Yeah, the voice acting is pretty crappy, but it's not the most abysmal I've ever heard, so I can live with that. The graphics are absolutely lush - the game is presented beautifully all around, even the menu screens seem very pretty to me but then I've been playing 10 year old RPGs most recently so I guess I'm easily impressed :lol:

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  • 2 weeks later...
Does anyone know what the deal is with obtaining new skills - do they all come from items, or do the characters narturally learn stuff too? So far, my guys have only got stuff from items.

They learn them by levelling up as well. Although I think most skills you have to buy.

Still playing, and its starting to drag- but that may be because of my obsession with the monster completion.

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They learn them by levelling up as well. Although I think most skills you have to buy.

Still playing, and its starting to drag- but that may be because of my obsession with the monster completion.

i'm just shy of 8hrs in. Enjoying the game so far. Decent production values. No Texture pop-in(are Squenix using a different engine now?) unobtrusive load times. Excellent real-time combat and my only beef is the uncanny valley aspect of the lead character, just looks too much like a dummy in the end of battle cutscenes.

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i'm just shy of 8hrs in. Enjoying the game so far. Decent production values. No Texture pop-in(are Squenix using a different engine now?) unobtrusive load times. Excellent real-time combat and my only beef is the uncanny value aspect of the lead character, just looks too much like a dummy in the end of battle cutscenes.

The uncanny valley thing is there with all of them, imo. They just don't have any kinda of facial animation to do justice to the level of detail - they just look like freakish dolls.

I'm 25hrs into this now (!!! although there is a fair bit of dead time in that) and I'm still on the second planet (though right at the end I reckon). I've spent ages getting all the monster data, levelling my guys skills, doing item creation stuff and mostly: fighting. The fighting is excellent, but I hate that they stil have enemies like the ones in SO3 (the big tree things in this), that can inifinitely juggle your characters. The Rush Mode kinda helps against this, but it makes maintaining your bonus board a bit random (again, like in SO3). Still, it's really enjoyable, and I'm finding it quite compulsive trying to get as many Battle Trophies as possible.

Does anyone know what it is that unlocks the descriptions of the Battle Trophies you haven't done yet? It seems really random for my characters so far.

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Yeah, you can only unlock the Battle Trophies for the character you are controlling, which is a bit pants (in a way). Those damage specific ones are a bit evil as well, as they are entirely random :/ You can jiggle your stats and equipment so you'll be doing roughly the right amount of damage, but then you have to just keep attacking and cross your fingers.

I find trying to unlock them quite satisfying though, I've got about 30 each for the 4 charcters I have so far, some of the ones I can see are a bit mad though, and may require some hardcore orchestration (get 3 status ailments at once, blindside 3 enemies at once?!). I just realised as well, that all my characters had maxed their default BEAT settings, so I've switched them all over to the opposite one now. It's a shame that there's no way to reap the benfits of both, as some of the bonuses are well nifty.

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I was a big fan of SO Till the end of Time (SO 3) on the PS2 and have also been through SO 2 The Second Story over a decade ago. Ive even had a bash at the first one and I like them all. I do wanna get on this at some point, but I tend to play PS1 and PS2 stuff atm and can't see myself having a 360 for a while yet.

Anyone played the two remakes that came out on PSP? Also there is another one on the gameboy which only got released in Japan, however someoen on here once pointed out that a translation project was planned.

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Why do I always get suckered in by JRPGs? This one looked really interesting due to the sci-fi setting instead of the usual fantasy guff. The fights were pretty good fun, but the horrible characters that go on and on and the terrible story just put me off. It takes ages before you get to do anything interesting and I have a genetic disorder that makes me unable to skip a cutscene.

BTW, Edge Maverick? Fuck right off!!

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  • 2 weeks later...
Anyone played the two remakes that came out on PSP? Also there is another one on the gameboy which only got released in Japan, however someoen on here once pointed out that a translation project was planned.

Yes, I have played both of them. This is just to prove the series has not really moved on at all IMO. The first one is only recommended for completists - it's dull, involves a lot of backtracking and can be easily completed with a basic omplement of 2 melee, 2 mage team without developing any skills other than combat and item identification. The second one is much better but I ran into a bit of a difficulty spike about 2/3 of the way through - the necessary micro control of your team members is quite fiddly on the PSP.

Why do I always get suckered in by JRPGs? This one looked really interesting due to the sci-fi setting instead of the usual fantasy guff. The fights were pretty good fun, but the horrible characters that go on and on and the terrible story just put me off. It takes ages before you get to do anything interesting and I have a genetic disorder that makes me unable to skip a cutscene.

BTW, Edge Maverick? Fuck right off!!

About 20 hours in now and a few thoughts:

Lymle (limmo??????) easily wins out as the most irritating / grotesque / creepy JRPG character in a field with strong competition. 'Kay?

This game is absolutley stuffed with padding and cut scenes. Cut scenes are usually a pleasant break from the action or a reward for beating a boss but here they seem to occur every five minutes. No wonder the game comes on 3 discs. It really slows the pace of the game down, but if you want more in the way of muscular fighting, choose the Last Remnant in preference.

Speaking with all your team mates on your space ship is necessary to develop affinity but by god it's tedious, traipsing around the various areas and seeing where they all are. Makes me pine for Mass Effect.

The game looks really lush and does not suffer from any visual tearing or textuure popping even without installing from the HD.

The fighting style is effective and building up the bonus board with blue, yellow or red tiles has the effect of keeping you playing for longer periods than you originally intended when it is full. You are soon pulling off combos with aplomb and experimenting with different team members.

The camera work at close quarters is awful and leads to many ambushes since you can't see around corners, through doorways etc.

The main side activities, as with all the previous games in the series are crafting items of various types and developing your team affinities. So far the game is mercifully free of pointless mini games or stealth sections.

That reminds me of the second most irritating character - the synthesis minx.

Thorough exploration of each area is all well and good the first time out but an instant recall to your ship facility would be appreciated on later visits.

Having said all that, the game is highly enjoyable and the story line / setting is a notch above the norm IMO (especially if you have played the earlier games since you will recognise some of the locations). I am trying to prepare well this time for the more difficult areas ahead (in the third game all the later sections and in particular the Firewall dungeon and the run up to the final boss were nightmarishly hard) because typically I find I am above the experience curve initially (through fighting solidly through each new area, not through grinding) and later behind, or simply not playing the most effective way, synthesising the best gear or developing the most important skills etc. Micro control of your team mates becomes so important too and that's probably where I went wrong in SO3.

So plenty of niggles and as is often the case with JRPGs a fairly slow start but worth taking a look at if you need a big game over the summer.

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Seen the credits roll on this so time for some final reflections;

Technically, probably the best JRPG of this generation - not a hint of slowdown, pop in or suchlike even when the special attacks and magics are flooding the screen. The smoothest realtime combat system out there I would say for sure. Use Raimi to get some blue tiles up then switch to Sarah to keep them or use Edge and turn your left hand into a claw as you spam the special arts combos. Non player characters usually act sensibly according to your tactics and you can switch on or off spells (but not other arts which would be handy).

Visually this game varies from so so to superb - some areas you just want to hang around in and admire they are absolutely gorgeous. There are no majorly annoying dungeors either - most of them simply involve use of one of the magic rings to unlock areas. The game strictly observes the mantra of save points before every boss (up to the bonus dungeons anyway).

Cut scenes - Metal Gear territory really. 50 minutes after the final boss to reaching the credits.

Challenge wise - non existent sadly - over 50 hours without seeing the game over screen once*. So long as you keep Edge in S beat mode for the boss fights in case you have to use the blind side technique (which you do once or twice to get to the weak spot), and you fight your way through each new area rather than avoid combat, you should have no problems. There is no classic RPG boss play where you have to use / avoid certain attacks etc. Even the last boss does not have the cheap flooding of the whole area with death attack which was my undoing in SO3. Possibly the stacking effects of the bonus board, eating foodstuffs and improving your weapons have unbalanced the game.

Thankfully there are two bonus dungeons to explore post credits when you can forget about all the personal interaction crap, and where the difficulty level is much higher from the outset, but even so.

Story / character wise - a real disappointment and wasted opportunity. Hard to feel any attachment to any of the crew other than perhaps Myuria - Bacchus is mature but hidden behind his shell, and ther rest are kids or animals basically. As for the story - bunch of complete toss with one twist at the end but it could have been so much more.

Well farewell then Star Ocean. It's been a long strange trip.

* on normal difficulty - there is an easier one believe it or not.

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  • 1 month later...

Finished a while ago, but have been trying to complete the stupid Colusseum (spelling wrong). Also tried out the first secret dungeon, and been getting on ok. Screamed maybe once, when my healer decided to sit motionless when I really needed the stupid woman to do something.

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From the reviews I read of this it's not really sci-fi, is it? It's just a typical JRPG with a different lick of paint. That's ok with me (I like the genre), but it would be nice to see a proper sci-fi take from a Japanese developer to see how they would approach it. I'm thinking Mass Effect-esque (so no kids as the characters, sulking leads and a proper story). Do you think we'll see such a beast?

And is this £22 new in Gamestation now, or is that the pre-owned price?

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From the reviews I read of this it's not really sci-fi, is it? It's just a typical JRPG with a different lick of paint. That's ok with me (I like the genre), but it would be nice to see a proper sci-fi take from a Japanese developer to see how they would approach it. I'm thinking Mass Effect-esque (so no kids as the characters, sulking leads and a proper story). Do you think we'll see such a beast?

And is this £22 new in Gamestation now, or is that the pre-owned price?

Definitely not sci-fi. Playing this made me yearn for Mass Effect but it's not a bad game at all - certainly better than Tales of Vesperia in the combat stakes.

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From the reviews I read of this it's not really sci-fi, is it? It's just a typical JRPG with a different lick of paint. That's ok with me (I like the genre), but it would be nice to see a proper sci-fi take from a Japanese developer to see how they would approach it. I'm thinking Mass Effect-esque (so no kids as the characters, sulking leads and a proper story). Do you think we'll see such a beast?

And is this £22 new in Gamestation now, or is that the pre-owned price?

THe Xenosaga games are proper sci-fi. But they're PS2 games, and slightly difficult to come by now.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Officially Announced for PlayStation 3

Following up on the release Xbox 360 of Star Ocean: The Last Hope earlier this year, publisher Square Enix today announced that an "International" edition of tri-Ace's sci-fi action-RPG will arrive worldwide on PlayStation 3 come February 9, 2010.

The long-expected PlayStation 3 edition (Square never billed the game as an Xbox 360 exclusive) will bundle a variety of language choices--"English and Japanese voice options" and "English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Japanese language options"--with the same gameplay mechanics and antics of the Xbox 360 edition.

Nearly identical fact sheets for the earlier Xbox 360 and upcoming PlayStation 3 editions can be found below, illustrating how Square has replaced "amazing graphics and visual effects only possible on Xbox 360" with "amazing graphics through Blu-ray Disc."

PlayStation 3 Fact Sheet

# Combines sci-fi and fantasy elements, spanning multiple planets and the vastness of space itself to recount the origins of the STAR OCEAN universe

# Item creation and Private Actions, two hallmarks of the STAR OCEAN franchise, also make their return, allowing for players to enjoy upgraded versions of both systems

# Exhilarating combat expands upon the franchise's dynamic real-time battle system, now featuring amazing graphics through Blu-ray Disc

# Up to four characters can take part in battles simultaneously and party members can be switched mid-battle

# New Blindside battle system fuses evasion and offense, enabling players to confuse and ambush enemies by quickly moving out of their line of sight when targeted

# Pilot the Calnus spaceship for the first time in the series and journey to various planets of the STAR OCEAN universe

# Features breathtaking CG movies by Visual Works, the cutting-edge studio whose previous work includes cut scenes for the acclaimed FINAL FANTASY series

# In addition to English and Japanese voice options, the PlayStation 3 system version will include English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Japanese language options for STAR OCEAN fans around the world

http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/60477

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I got fed up with this to be honest. I liked the game itself, but I wanted to do all the side quests, and sadly that sometimes meant trudging back to the ship. I wish there had been a fast travel option for doing that, as being at one end of the map and having to go all the way back across it just to quickly make an item is too much of a chore for my liking. Pity, as I did enjoy the dungeons and the overworlds.

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You know normally (as with the case of Eternal Sonata) I would have had a bit of a smug-faced "harhar, you're getting this SO late" point of view... but seriously, PS3 owners are fucking lucky.

I think the only reason why I found this game to be such a task to work my way through was because of the fucking horrendous english VA.

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  • 4 months later...

Thread revival! Maybe more will play this now it's on PS3. I'm getting all excited about FFXIII so I decided to go back to this.

The backtracking on the first planet annoyed me a bit, but it's nice you can skip past enemies . That said the battle system is still completely awesome and I really felt a sense of progression with my characters in terms of their strength even after playing for just an hour last night. I'm only about three hours into this. It feels quite epic, even if the main characters are annoying and so cliche it hurts.

I find myself wanting to play it again tonight which is a good start! Still need to finish Eternal Sonata sometime, though...

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  • 4 years later...

The battle system is really, really good (up there with Tales of Graces f), and the dungeons are challenging and well-designed...but the story and characters are comically (even absurdly) bad, and not in the "so bad it's good" vein, either.

...but the battle system is really, really, really good.

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Sometimes I imagine a game with this combat system, and a world and story like that in ni-no-kuni, then I realise that all the people who could make this happen are coding fucking mobile phone games now and I curse them. Fuck Japan. Stupid cunts got me into gaming in the first place, then pulled the plug and fucked off to microtransactionland.

Merry Christmas you yellow fucks...

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