Star Ocean: The Last Hope puts you in control of space cadet, Edge Maverick, aboard one of several other ships in the SRF, Space Reconnaissance Force. After a choppy launch, many of the ships crashed and disappeared. With one thing leading to another, Edge becomes a captain of his own ship, charged with finding the missing SRF fleet. The narrative lacks any kind of connectivity and overall arc. It’s a bit too dramatic and the badly voiced cliché anime characters don’t help it. There’s a few interesting moments, but nothing worth the fifty hour journey.
Star Ocean is an action RPG. By running into monsters on the map, you’re transported into a type of battle arena. You can control any of the four characters you brought into battle, each with their unique skills. In battle you can hack enemies apart, use spells, items, and combat abilities. It’s fun and if you delve deep enough, there’s a lot of nuance to it. You level normally by gaining experience, but you also gain skill points you can then allocate into abilities to make them stronger. It’s not super innovative, or the best RPG combat out there, but it’s one of Star Ocean’s saving graces.
The overall presentation of Star Ocean is a mixed bag. For one, the game tries to be an epic, space opera, but it lacks punch. The characters don’t sell it to me. I don’t know whether to blame their weird, doll like design, or just bad acting. The environments are bland and look like the developers were trying to be more realistic with them. Seeing these anime characters run around in them is a weird clash. The music though, is another shining gem among this pile of mediocrity.
Star Ocean The Last Hope is disappointing from a fan of the previous games. The story and acting don’t live up to its potential. It’s plagued with bad design all around from the environments to the characters to even the pacing. The combat and music are pretty awesome, but the bad far outweigh the good. All in all, it’s a hard game to sit through and unless you have a high, HIGH tolerance for bad dialogue, you should avoid this game at all costs.
Score: 2/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on June 16, 2012 via my Examiner account before the website shut down. Check out the supporting video review on the accompanying YouTube Channel, ReActionExaminer.