PS3 Review – Star Ocean: The Last Hope

Unfortunately, for every new or unique idea that brings the game a step forward, there are always two steps back.  The save system is confusing as can be. Go to a save point. Click on your save file. Save. System data saved…then the game asks you if you want to continue saving. What? Didn’t I just save my game!? For the first couple of hours I saved twice  just to make sure I was saving the game correctly. Whose idea was that?

Don’t even get me started on the mini-map when you’re exploring. First, it doesn’t even give you any indication of which way to go and second, when you pause the game to check out the map, you can’t scroll around. You literally have to head in the direction you want to see to view what’s on the map there. Lame.

Another miscue that game makes is the cutscenes. Several cutscenes are incredibly long and boring. Metal Gear Solid 4 also had extremely long cutscenes, but they were good, featuring top-notch graphics, voice acting, camera angles, and characters you cared about. It was if you were watching a movie! Hideo knows how to keep you attention. Tri-Ace does not.

Why is that? First off, the graphics are a mixed bag. Sure, they’re better than the recently released White Knight Chronicles. However, Final Fantasy XIII they are not. Environments and characters’ bodies are well detailed…except for their faces and hair. Seriously, why do the characters’ faces look like dolls? You know those expensive anime figures you can buy? Just imagine them in a video game. The characters also seem void of any type of emotion. The graphics aren’t terrible, yet you won’t be popping in the game to show it off to your friends. One note: there can be some terrible slowdown at times. When there were more than four characters on screen and I would try to pull off a combo, everything would begin to stutter  and slow down to a crawl. It didn’t happen often, though it did happen enough to take note of it.

Second, the storyline and characters are just a tad bit cliched. Like most JRPGs, Edge and best friend Reimi are young and inexperienced. Guess what happens? Everything falls into place and Edge becomes the youngest captain of a ship ever and has to take command of the smallest crew ever, too. You end up having to save the universe from a terrible menace and, well, you know the story. Nothing new here, move along. Then again, besides saving world/universe…what else are you going to do in an RPG? Save the local burger joint?

You most likely won’t remember the cast of characters, either. You certainly won’t be going into chat rooms using the moniker ‘EdgeDaMaverick,’ because none of the characters stand out in any way. No Cloud or Sephiroth here, folks. The voice acting is also a mixed bag. Edge’s voice isn’t bad, but boy howdy, Lymle’s voice is just plain horrible. She’s a 15-year-old girl who sounds like an 8-year-old, is completely monotone, and ends every sentence with ‘kay.’ The voiceovers are a mixed bad that you won’t want to keep.

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