Star Ocean: The Last Hope (PlayStation 4) Review

By Thom Compton 31.12.2017

Review for Star Ocean: The Last Hope on PlayStation 4

Heavens to Betsy, remasters are popular. Depending on whom you ask, there are a lot of different reasons, but the fact remains solid. People love playing their favorite games, but prettier. Today, Cubed3 takes a look at the remaster of Star Ocean: The Last Hope, a game that divided many upon its original release back in 2009 on the Xbox 360. Later, it got ported over to the PlayStation 3 via the International release. Now, it's on the PlayStation 4, and it's just as anyone who has played it remembers... Right down to every beautiful landscape and every ugly detail.

Meet Edge. Edge Maverick. A young man, soaked from head to toe in the very juices that create J-RPG stereotypes. He's blonde, he's bold, and he's barely old enough to rent a car. Still, he's now in charge of exploring the universe. By his side is Reimi Saionji, a lifelike friend and apparent Final Fantasy VIII cosplay enthusiast. Together, they will explore the universe, meeting friends, saving civilisations, and fist pumping every time they kill even the lowliest of woodland squirrel. This is Star Ocean: The Last Hope.

Star Ocean is a series that often basks in how big it is, and The Last Hope is no exception. Every environment is positively enormous; deep forests, beautiful snowy lands, terrifying alien ships. Beautiful lighting (it's insane, honestly) makes every environment look crisp, clean and, above all else, very real. This same care goes into every building and town. Early towns, like Woodley, feel like they were ripped out of small town Kentucky, while a nearby temple feels like a lost ruin of an ancient civilisation.

Screenshot for Star Ocean: The Last Hope on PlayStation 4

This same degree of care doesn't shine quite as well when talking about the character models. Characters have a certain marionette puppet quality to them. It's like the artistic team wanted to transfer Till The End of Times' anime attributes onto real people, and the result is kind of creepy. Mixed with the awful English voice acting, it's hard to enjoy most of the cut-scenes without feeling like you're watching possessed porcelain dolls come up with a plan to thwart the Justice League. There's non-English voice acting, and there's also a summary of every cut-scene if you skip it, but still, it's all a little weird.

Combat is always an important feature in an RPG, and it shines brightly here, at least for the most part. Getting good at balancing attacks is important, as you can't just mash the attack over and over without the controlled character having to stop momentarily. Skills (all of which can be boosted over time), Blindsides (a way to swoop around the enemy and attack from behind), and learning how to manage your parties attacks, are all extremely critical and fun. The less fun part comes from the AI controlling your teammates.

Screenshot for Star Ocean: The Last Hope on PlayStation 4

As the player is only able to control one party member at a time (although they can change control whenever they want), the remainder are controlled by AI. The AI seems dead set on haphazardly running into danger pretty much all of the time. During the second big boss fight, for instance, it's important to keep your distance. The AI doesn't seem to notice this, and runs in, flailing like a scared child on Halloween. This results in a lot of needless deaths, which results in the player having to stop whatever they are doing and revive a fallen teammate, who is likely to be dead again in moments.

Again, button mashers beware, The Last Hope is not kind. Bosses have weak spots that must be exploited (although this being smart design or an absolute nuisance is really up to the player to decide). For this writer, it's frustrating, but critical to making battles more strategic and thoughtful. The worst part of the bosses is that they do not have a life meter like all other enemies do. The life meter is there, but instead of showing the boss' health, it just has question marks and never counts down as the boss takes damage. It's a minor annoyance, and these fights really stand out as being both smart and challenging.

Aside from the main story, there's a ridiculous amount of side content, although it's not going to entice everyone. If you've ever even passively paid attention to trophies or achievements, you have likely already heard of The Last Hope. This is because of the side content, such as 900 battle trophies, over 300 craftable items, and a lot of treasure chests to open. Everything is extremely missable, and because the game doesn't track things all that well, it can be annoying trying to complete all of the side content.

Screenshot for Star Ocean: The Last Hope on PlayStation 4

Also, the side content is largely just finding things. Shop orders are all about finding rare items; ship data is all about interacting with specific spots in the environment; while monster data is one of the more enjoyable ones, as every time the player kills a certain amount of monsters, they can fuse the monster data to a gem. This gem acts as an accessory, and it allows the player more options for how they gain equipment.

This is good, because crafting itself is both a long and tedious process of learning or inventing recipes and finding the correct parts to do so. This isn't to say that Star Ocean: The Last Hope has nothing redeemable in its side-quests, it's just that if Final Fantasy side-quests were a cool pub or hookah bar, The Last Hope would be a stuffy old warehouse lined with cubicles. There are also things like bunny racing, additional super bosses, and even a tournament-style arena where some of the game's toughest enemies can be found. Plus, if you like the story, there's a copious amount of private actions to complete. These are just about speaking to characters at the right time and saying the right thing, but it is an interesting way to dig further into the lore surrounding everyone.

Screenshot for Star Ocean: The Last Hope on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Star Ocean: The Last Hope is a massive game with plenty to do and see. While the acting might be very poor and the character models weird and unnerving, the rest of the game is littered with things for the player to do, regardless of if they are adventurous or just want to rush to the end. It terms of good RPGs, this isn't the best, or even the best in the series, but it's still an excellent title that only holds itself back enough to notice. Thankfully, it's not back far enough that you won't care.

Developer

Tri-Ace

Publisher

Square Enix

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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