Star Ocean: The Last Hope is the latest instalment in the popular Square-Enix published, sci-fi rpg series. It's a good, fun title with nice graphics, particularly if you like your characters perpetually straight faced. The game is currently available from Gameplay for just £15.99.
It's only a pound down from the next best price but every little helps, as the marketing behemoth who has stolen my soul would say.
Star Ocean: The Last Hope is a prequel to the series and takes place a few centuries prior to the original Star Ocean, in the year SD 0010, after World War III has devastated and ransacked the earth. You take on the role of Edge Maverick, captain of the space ship SRF-003 Calnus. With the help of your crew you must travel across the galaxy in search of a new home for a misplaced mankind. As well as providing a prologue to the rest of the games, Last Hope works as a stand-alone title with no need to have played the rest of the Star Ocean saga for it to make sense.
If it's all about the story-line and characterisation when you look for a JRPG to play then Star Ocean: The Last Hope probably isn't the best choice for you. While the game has a lot going for it, the narrative is rather sterile and the characters somewhat of the cardboard cut-out variety. The fact that their faces are eerily mask-like and rarely show emotion does not help and, when combined with the often atrocious voice-acting, makes supposedly intense scenes really quite bizarre and often highly comical. Entertaining but not what you want if you like to lose yourself in a story.
However if you are just looking for solid gameplay and great fun combat (which somehow never seems to get tiresome) within a role playing context then The Last Hope is a good investment. Combat takes place in real time with a party of AI friends to help you. You can switch between characters, all of whom feel very different to play, at will. This is a very engaging and enjoyable way to approach battles and is further helped by the “bonus board” which rewards you for handling fights in specific ways, making it well worthwhile to keep your technique varied and make battles more interesting.
While they are not jaw-dropping, the graphics are pleasant and different locations have their own distinct look, though sadly this cannot be said for the enemies which are all just variations on a very few themes. The soundtrack (minus the poor voice-acting) is very nice and well suited to the various elements of play.
Like most JRPGS, The Last Hope offers plenty of scope for adventure beyond the main storyline with side-quests a-plenty to complete, fights in the coliseum and two new unlockable difficulty settings. So if you can look past the below-par narrative then you will find a really fun game that's well worth its price tag.
Thanks to Cryogenic from Hotukdeals!