PS3 Review – Star Ocean: The Last Hope

Fans of the Star Ocean series have waited just under a year for the Star Ocean: The Last Hope- International Edition, the latest chapter in the popular Star Ocean Saga, as it launched ‘exclusively’ on the 360 upon release. Now that it’s here, find out if it was worth the wait or if you should just save your $60 for a certain impending Fantasy title.

Even though Star Ocean: The Last Hope is the newest Star Ocean title, it is a prequel to the entire series. It’s the year A.D. 2064. World War III is over. Earth is in ruins due to a massive amount of WMD being deployed across the Globe. Earth’s population has been devastated and those who didn’t die, live underground. The survivors of Earth look to stars for a new world. In 2087, the first warp drive experiment is a success. Mankind is ready for intergalactic space travel. It’s now S.D. 10 and the USTA is sending out the first human expedition for a new world to live on. This is the story of Edge Maverick and his quest for a new world.

Fans of the series will be happy to hear that the Prive Action system returns, as do the item creation systems, such as cooking and alchemy. The combat simulator and even sound effects from the previous games return as well. Fans of the series will be most pleased.

Star Ocean and RPG fans can all agree on one point: one of the most important aspects of any RPG is the combat system. It helps make up for bad graphics, a lame storyline, or dull characters. Why? Because we play games for the gameplay. Sure, the characters and storyline help the situation, but when you’re having a blast killing enemies, you tend to forget about other shortcomings. I’m here to say that Star Ocean: TLH delivers a very solid and fun combat system.

The title features the same Real Time Combat system that has been used since the first Star Ocean game. As soon as you see an enemy, you run towards it (or it runs towards you), the screen alters, and the battle begins. If you manage to attack the enemy from behind, an annoying alarm goes off that tells you that you just ambushed the enemy and gained an advantage in battle. However, enemies can ambush and surprise you, too…so it works both ways.

Rather than choosing what kind of attack you want, all you have to do is run or dash over to the enemy you’re locked onto and press X to attack. If you’ve played the past SO games, you’ll feel right at home with TLH. Your party consists of four characters at any given time, but you will really only control Edge most of the time. Not to worry, though, as you can switch characters at any given time with the L1 or R1 button and the game offers you the BEAT system to help govern the other characters you aren’t actively controlling.

The BEAT system has three different styles– S, B, and N. S puts you on the offensive side of the battle, B is for defensive, and N is a mixture of both. It’s a good idea to have a mix of all three in your party.

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