Review by jdw1005
"Finally a great insight into the Star Ocean series' past (**Possible Minor Spoilers**)"
Star Ocean: The Last Hope is a game made by Square Enix. It is a prequel to the Star Ocean series based years after World War III. After World War III, the nuclear war made earth uninhabitable and the surviving inhabitants are forced to live underground. The world then turns towards space exploration to find a new planet to call home. You play as Edge Maverick, a 20 year old SRF soldier who is part of a task force to find a suitable planet and remove anything that may cause trouble. You are joined by Reimi Saijonji, Edge's childhood friend, as you travel space, unravelling the mysteries of the galaxy.
As with the previous Star Ocean games, Star Ocean: The Last Hope keeps the original battle system with some added features. You can now switch out reserve characters with active characters during a battle. The rush system is also a new feature: by taking or dealing damage, it raises your rush meter. When it is full you can use it. Its effects cause you to become immune to knock-backs, increased speed and increased chance of hitting a critical hit. You can also pull off rush combos in which you can use battle skills freely and link them with other characters up to seven times. Each character has their own individual techniques and some that are the same as others. You can now freely control a ship and go to any planet you want, just so long as you have been there already. You can also put things in the ship such as vending machines and jukeboxes. The ship also has an item creation are where you can use characters to invent recipes for items and make them as long as you have the required items. There are also several quests which give access to new areas, and new features. In total the game will take you about 70 hours if you decide to do all quests and side missions. I give the gameplay an 8/10 for the smoothness of battle, the quests and being able to go to whatever planet you want.
The game keeps the next gen graphics that the Xbox 360 is known for. There is no variation between cut scenes and normal gameplay meaning you never look at anything different. The battle graphics are a great improvement over it's predecessors with smooth movements and stylish techniques. The rush animations are in slow motion so you can watch each individual Blindside technique and attack at the right time. The only problems with the graphics are the same that the others had: in scenes where characters hug, the arms are positioned badly which is a shame considering the game's graphics. For this one fault I give the graphics a 7/10.
Square Enix are widely known for creating games with some of the most astounding musical scores and the Star Ocean series is no exception. Star Ocean: The Last Hope keeps the tradition of using an electrical guitar for most of the songs; other songs use an orchestra for more effect. The battle music is different from the last 3. It sounds more like the battle themes from Namco's Tales' games, but this isn't a bad thing. There are some places where specific music is played, and only at that one time, but it is possible to create a jukebox for the ship to listen to any of the music you have unlocked. I give the music a 9/10.
I won't say much about the story as I want to avoid spoilers. All I will say is that it keeps the tradition of everything starting out normal then it starts slowly to get into the main story with the main antagonists. This Star Ocean has several antagonists, mainly one per planet who (or what in some cases) is considered the final boss' of the planet. The voice acting makes the story more enjoyable. I would say that the voice acting is well done and matches whatever mood the game shows perfectly. The character are all different races, sex and even age which gives more variety and adds to the humour of the time off' spaces between planets. I give the story a 10/10 for good plots, great characters and some of the best twists Star Ocean has offered yet.
All in all I give the game a 9/10
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 12/04/09
Game Release: Star Ocean: The Last Hope (EU, 06/05/09)
Got Your Own Opinion?
You can submit your own review for this game using our Review Submission Form.