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Star Ocean: The Last Hope International - Staff Review

24

Comments

  • NergalNergal The Don Full Members
    edited August 2010
    IU looked much better than SO4 in every area to my eyes. So4 has awesomer, flashier specials though.
  • watcherwatcher Veteran RPGamer Full Members
    edited August 2010
    Wheels wrote: »
    Re: Star Ocean Last- at least its better than SO3!

    In what way? I mean, some people may like the battle system better, but SO3 is certainly a better overall game.
  • ChickenGodChickenGod Overdosing Heavenly Bliss Moderators
    edited August 2010
    I'm not sure if this has been mentioned yet, or even done away with in the PS3 Version, but did anyone else take issues with the whole bonus board thing? Typically, I much prefer to play my games in short sessions, but SO4 really made it a chore to do that with those bonuses being reset every time you turned the system off. Some bonuses were harder to get than others, and when you had a nice full board set up, it really encouraged players to play as long as possible, which was really annoying. I also hated that feeling every time I started up the game that I had to fight 10 or so random encounters just to have a nice board set up before running the next dungeon. Yeah, I realize you can leave the system on to counteract this, but leaving a 360 on, especially overnight, doesn't exactly sound healthy for the system or game, haha.

    As for the review, I pretty much agree with most of the sentiments. I never understood the whole disturbing doll arguement, the character models looked fine to me (Maybe I'm a psycho lol), and the allure of pretty bright colors is far more appealing to than what some other games mentioned have to offer. I wouldn't say SO4 is a "bad" game, but I think its certainly reasonable to call it below average, and can understand why anyone would slam it critically. Like some teams/fighters in sports, there are games that just sound terrible on paper, but when you get out and experience them for yourself, they find a way to implement their one or two areas of strength and captivate the audience.
  • Alex FullerAlex Fuller Managing Editor RPGamer Staff
    edited August 2010
    For me the character models looked alright for the most part, but there were certain situations where they looked entirely made of plastic. I honestly couldn't say SO4's are better than IU - not better enough to give them any great credit for at any rate. And character models don't make up for how grating the characters themselves are. (Whether or not they look than full-anime style models I don't believe so but that's probably more down to personal preference than anything)

    The bonus board I was fine with, most things about the battle system were as good as I've seen. Didn't really have any problem turning it off or losing the bonus board, I found fun enough to build back up actually.

    In a whole I found combat excellent, overall storyline was alright with some massive wall bangers, characters were wished to have their heads be banged into a wall, and the graphics were fine - if possibly not as spectacular scenery as I was hoping in some places.

    This is not for the International Version btw, but I don't think they added all that much for it.
    I think we've missed the reason we play games for.

    This is different for everyone though, even within the RPG genre - often why I try and read at least 3 reviews for each game I bother reading the reviews for. For example, I don't like playing a lot of these dungeon crawling ones that many other people seem to enjoy because I like playing RPGs with "more defined" storylines/characters. I also follow the system of not giving much attention to the overall score for this reason.

    (I hope at least some of that made sense, I suck at writing long posts ^^)
    "Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so."
    Twitter: severinmira | Xbox Live: Severin Mira | PSN: severinmira (EU) | NNID: severinmira
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  • SirusjrSirusjr Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    ChickenGod - That is an interesting point with the bonus board. I never had that problem because I usually tried to do a dungeon in a single sitting. The battles certainly give you a lot better rewards if you spend the time to do bonus properly.
  • Kefka76Kefka76 New Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    SO2 > SO3 > Final Departure > SO4
  • Dice.Dice. Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    Sirusjr wrote: »
    ChickenGod - That is an interesting point with the bonus board. I never had that problem because I usually tried to do a dungeon in a single sitting. The battles certainly give you a lot better rewards if you spend the time to do bonus properly.

    I never had a problem with this. Just take Reimi (she's a great character anyways) and sit in the back, run if anyone comes near ya.
    Que Sera Sera
  • AzalusAzalus The Great Devourer Full Members
    edited August 2010
    I think I'm just one of those tri-Ace fanboys, or maybe that the game was the only thing I had to play for a bit when I first got to England, but just like all the others in the series, I've enjoyed it, and everything else tri-Ace has offered. For the most part I don't read reviews as anything more than a curiosity in how their views of the game differed from mine. I personally disagree with the low score, even if I'm too tired to state solid reasoning for it, and I even agree with most of the negatives including character design, especially when compared to NieR, b/c well, for some reason I absolutely loved NieR, but here's not the place to delve into that.

    I just realized I don't really have much of a point to make. I had a trial position here at RPGamer once, MANY years ago, not for a review spot, but if I had, I think I would focus more on the shining points of a game than the negatives, on the grounds that I don't play a game to pick out it's flaws, just to appreciate the effort a group of people went into to give me an at least somewhat enjoyable experience. Too many people are too critical these days.
  • WheelsWheels RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited August 2010
    watcher wrote: »
    In what way? I mean, some people may like the battle system better, but SO3 is certainly a better overall game.

    That's certainly arguable. SO3's plot was complete garbage, and I was completely turned off by the whole experience, including the battle system, so better battle system plus no horrendous plot twists works for me. Your millage may vary of course!

    Would we all agree that SO1+SO2 are good times?
    Ask Wheels- This Week's Episode
    sig.gif
  • AzalusAzalus The Great Devourer Full Members
    edited August 2010
    Wheels wrote: »
    Would we all agree that SO1+SO2 are good times?

    I can agree there, some of the most fond memories of my youth were spent constantly renting SO2 from the video store and taking turns playing it with my best friend over the weekends. Getting the Silvance when he never could, lol.
  • Dice.Dice. Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    SO1 was pretty...average. The big deal about it though was the ground it broke for it's time (though, a feature that was never changed for First Departure - it remains extremely average).

    SO2 was super fun, and seems to ooze out this bizarre charm. The story is an absolute mess, though no one really cares.

    SO3 was super hard. While there's about 50 different healing items one could use, and money never seems to come in high enough quantities (especially post-game), overlooking the plot (again, skippable), you have a pretty cool, and tough, battle system. One thing I remember hating even more than everyone's favorite plot twist, was the linked dungeons you'd have to cross - 1 or 2 or more to get to where you reaally need to go; and none were really all that easy either.

    SO4, IMO is the only game that really feels like it delivers a prime tri-ace battling experience.
    I'm actually sad to see everyone arguing about everything but the game play, the real highlight to this game. I always found a good story a bonus, not the core component for enjoying a game.

    The main problem I see with the games above, especially nowadays, is that they're limited by their console, BIG TIME. I especially hated PS1 action games for their sluggish interface. Minor complaint.
    Que Sera Sera
  • OcelotOcelot is not declawed Full Members
    edited August 2010
    OK, I have problems with the gameplay of SO4. Although the combat system was fun, the game's areas are long and booo-ring. A great combat system alone cannot sustain me in terms of gameplay. I didn't make it very far in SO4 before I was already heartily bored of wandering through super long, twisty areas in which there was nothing but the occasional treasure chest/gather point and tons and tons and tons of monsters. If they were going to design their gameplay areas like that, I'd actually have preferred it if they'd pulled a FFXIII and just funneled me directly to the next cutscene... except that the cutscenes were awful, too. :)
    Becky Cunningham, Happy Snappy RPGamer Alum
    Twitter: BeckyCFreelance
  • wfbwfb Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    Not in Canada it isn't. It's still $60 used at the local gamestop which is outright outrageous

    This was an Amazon Deal of the Day a couple days ago for $30. Not that that helps you now.
  • OcelotOcelot is not declawed Full Members
    edited August 2010
    Not on Amazon.ca. :)
    Becky Cunningham, Happy Snappy RPGamer Alum
    Twitter: BeckyCFreelance
  • Dice.Dice. Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    Ocelot wrote: »
    Not on Amazon.ca. :)

    Canada also known for taxing us on the air we breath. So...I'm not surprised. =(

    I usually have luck at those mom-n-pop stores.
    Que Sera Sera
  • watcherwatcher Veteran RPGamer Full Members
    edited August 2010
    Dice. wrote: »
    SO3 was super hard. While there's about 50 different healing items one could use, and money never seems to come in high enough quantities (especially post-game), overlooking the plot (again, skippable), you have a pretty cool, and tough, battle system. One thing I remember hating even more than everyone's favorite plot twist, was the linked dungeons you'd have to cross - 1 or 2 or more to get to where you reaally need to go; and none were really all that easy either.

    SO4, IMO is the only game that really feels like it delivers a prime tri-ace battling experience.
    I'm actually sad to see everyone arguing about everything but the game play, the real highlight to this game. I always found a good story a bonus, not the core component for enjoying a game.

    I actually liked SO3's battle system better. It was more streamlined and generally faster. In a game where I fight thousands of battles, that's generally nice. Once you figure out how to "cancel" special attacks, it becomes much easier. And maybe it was just me but the AI in SO3 was better. Freezing and shattering enemies or paralyzing them also makes things easier. Plus item creation was actually useful throughout SO3, whereas in SO4 it really had no place outside the post-game.
  • Adriaan den OudenAdriaan den Ouden Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground RPGamer Staff
    edited August 2010
    watcher wrote: »
    I actually liked SO3's battle system better. It was more streamlined and generally faster. In a game where I fight thousands of battles, that's generally nice. Once you figure out how to "cancel" special attacks, it becomes much easier. And maybe it was just me but the AI in SO3 was better. Freezing and shattering enemies or paralyzing them also makes things easier. Plus item creation was actually useful throughout SO3, whereas in SO4 it really had no place outside the post-game.

    Don't get me started on SO3's item creation system. That thing was fundamentally flawed on almost every level. It's certainly one of the most robust crafting systems in any game ever, but it is so incredibly user-unfriendly.
    Maybe I'll log out and check my e-mail or something...
  • Dice.Dice. Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    I agree with that, actually, Watcher.

    I think that's one of the BIG problems with these next gen games. Graphics in PS2 were...um, I guess extremely optimal. Making alright looking settings, but plenty of them. It seems making HUGE HD dungeons in RPGs are pretty difficult; there must be a lot more to make and work on if *everything* must require just that much more detail.

    I think SO4 was limited by it's hardware in the way that there was a lot else to create than just dungeons. Develops said 'enough', made a big world to roam around, and only... like... 6-ish big dungeons in the main game, and 3 optional. I remember Wild Arms 3 (on the PS2) had almost around 30 dungeons! SO3 demanded Item Creation - I don't know how you'd clear the game without it... SO4, it was crumpled up mostly for post game... not like it was really needed anyways until then (and many stronger items were saved for then).

    No wonder Squeenix is hesitant to do FF7 on the PS3... that'd be one HELLUVA big world to animate (and since squeenix has a reputation of quality to hold up, Tales of Vesperia-cartoony-styled graphics, though good, wouldn't hold up to the look).
    omegabyte wrote:
    Don't get me started on SO3's item creation system. That thing was fundamentally flawed on almost every level. It's certainly one of the most robust crafting systems in any game ever, but it is so incredibly user-unfriendly.

    Oh man, you must hate me by now, but again I have to disagree. User-UNfriendly? Definitely. Flawed? Not really. IMO, it lets a lot of creativity come through when it comes to character customizing and provided many unique aspects to obtaining victory (elemental damage, fol/exp grinding, obscene amounts of HP damage)

    I hate to give advice, especially to staff, but take the time to read more. Resonance of Fate is a lot of fun when you learn to get through it. And SO3 synthing, although technical, can ultimately be rewarding when you make something amazing and see it played out. =)
    Que Sera Sera
  • Adriaan den OudenAdriaan den Ouden Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground RPGamer Staff
    edited August 2010
    Dice. wrote: »
    I agree with that, actually, Watcher.

    I think that's one of the BIG problems with these next gen games. Graphics in PS2 were...um, I guess extremely optimal. Making alright looking settings, but plenty of them. It seems making HUGE HD dungeons in RPGs are pretty difficult; there must be a lot more to make and work on if *everything* must require just that much more detail.

    I think SO4 was limited by it's hardware in the way that there was a lot else to create than just dungeons. Develops said 'enough', made a big world to roam around, and only... like... 6-ish big dungeons in the main game, and 3 optional. I remember Wild Arms 3 (on the PS2) had almost around 30 dungeons! SO3 demanded Item Creation - I don't know how you'd clear the game without it... SO4, it was crumpled up mostly for post game... not like it was really needed anyways until then (and many stronger items were saved for then).

    No wonder Squeenix is hesitant to do FF7 on the PS3... that'd be one HELLUVA big world to animate (and since squeenix has a reputation of quality to hold up, Tales of Vesperia-cartoony-styled graphics, though good, wouldn't hold up to the look).



    Oh man, you must hate me by now, but again I have to disagree. User-UNfriendly? Definitely. Flawed? Not really. IMO, it lets a lot of creativity come through when it comes to character customizing and provided many unique aspects to obtaining victory (elemental damage, fol/exp grinding, obscene amounts of HP damage)

    I hate to give advice, especially to staff, but take the time to read more. Resonance of Fate is a lot of fun when you learn to get through it. And SO3 synthing, although technical, can ultimately be rewarding when you make something amazing and see it played out. =)

    I spent more than enough time with the item creation system to talk at length about it. It's user unfriendliness is its fundamental flaw. It is completely opaque to the user. Without a guide, you have zero idea of what you're making or even what you CAN make, and that is not the sign of a good item creation system. It's the only game I've ever played where there was an element of it that absolutely required the assistance of a strategy guide in order to be useful. The core of the system is brilliant. But the way it was implemented was beyond idiotic.

    As for ROF, I'm not really going to say anything beyond it being needlessly complicated (because it is. Every single review of this game I have read has said exactly the same thing.) I stopped playing after 3 hours and I'm not going to try to pass judgment on the game as a whole after that limited amount of time. It's just not my type of game. I gave it a shot, I didn't care for it, I put it aside.
    Maybe I'll log out and check my e-mail or something...
  • TGBarighmTGBarighm Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    Well, I thought the system was easy enough to understand.
  • Adriaan den OudenAdriaan den Ouden Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground RPGamer Staff
    edited August 2010
    And this, right here, is why I don't accept review scores anymore. This isn't even a criticism: it is a totally, 100%, without a doubt, uninformed rant. Everything said in this quote is flat-out wrong. Thankfully, I have both a brand new save and a end-game save to double check everything here, so I also double-checked how the game deals with players who haven't even used the item creation system.

    Buddy... we were talking about Star Ocean THREE's item creation system.

    SO4's was user-friendly. I loved it. Aside from having to backtrack to your ship to use it, it was great.

    Figure SO3's out without a guide. I dare you. It's doable, but it'll probably take you several months of effort.
    Maybe I'll log out and check my e-mail or something...
  • TGBarighmTGBarighm Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    I just noticed.

    Well, I'm screwed. Nice knowing you folks.
  • watcherwatcher Veteran RPGamer Full Members
    edited August 2010
    Yeah, for SO3 I spent an hour or two compiling IC info from a few gamefaqs guides and condensing it down to 4 pages of actual useful info. It wasn't really flawed on every level, just the one where you don't know for sure what you're making.

    Of course, SO4's IC has its own brand of user unfriendliness...obtaining materials. The time and effort required to get the rarest materials just to make only one of everything is obscene.

    If they could just slap a clear/friendly user interface on the SO3 system, it would blow both of them away.
  • MeoTwister5MeoTwister5 Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    Am I the only one who prefers SO2's basic item creation system and maybe coupling it with the way items are distributed and sold in SO3? While I still found SO2's system the best, you could easily break it in the second disc when you get Orchestra and start rampaging through the items at will, especially since materials start to get so cheap.

    Ideally for me I would have preferred that Item Creation be based on the way you skill up your characters ala SO2, so that you could groom each one to specialize in different fields based on skill allocation, but at the same time not not make it easy for you to make hundreds of the same item and instead get them at stores half priced ala SO3.
  • Adriaan den OudenAdriaan den Ouden Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground RPGamer Staff
    edited August 2010
    Am I the only one who prefers SO2's basic item creation system and maybe coupling it with the way items are distributed and sold in SO3? While I still found SO2's system the best, you could easily break it in the second disc when you get Orchestra and start rampaging through the items at will, especially since materials start to get so cheap.

    Ideally for me I would have preferred that Item Creation be based on the way you skill up your characters ala SO2, so that you could groom each one to specialize in different fields based on skill allocation, but at the same time not not make it easy for you to make hundreds of the same item and instead get them at stores half priced ala SO3.

    Not at all. While SO3 and SO4 both innovated on the item creation systems in different ways, SO2/SO1FD's item creation was simple and easy to use. It was also helpful that you could use it anywhere, as well. As a whole, SO2's is easily the best of them, even if SO3 and SO4 are more robust.
    Maybe I'll log out and check my e-mail or something...
  • MeoTwister5MeoTwister5 Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    omegabyte wrote: »
    Not at all. While SO3 and SO4 both innovated on the item creation systems in different ways, SO2/SO1FD's item creation was simple and easy to use. It was also helpful that you could use it anywhere, as well. As a whole, SO2's is easily the best of them, even if SO3 and SO4 are more robust.

    I also found it telling of the system that in SO2, Item Creation could easily mean the difference between success and defeat, given that the vast majority of the things you could do with the item and skill system vastly outweigh anything the stores could ever hope for nearing the end of the second disc. Consider the following:

    1. The best weapons in the game.
    2. All the best healing, support, defensive and offensive consumables. Food for in-between combat, bombs, statues, accessories etc.
    3. You could BUY whole inns, make shops cut prices, create machinery, skill up with books, increase relationship levels, make actual financial investments, affect the starting and ending of combat, buy items in the middle of a dungeon run, etc.

    The possibilities of the SO2 system was mind blowing, which made the restrictions in SO3 feel so pointless. SO3 item creation felt more like a sidetrack than an integral part of the game. I managed to finish the game proper without using a single item from creation.
  • TheAnimeManTheAnimeMan Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    I still think the whole you die when out of MP in SO3 was idiotic that was one of the changes I was super happy with
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  • watcherwatcher Veteran RPGamer Full Members
    edited August 2010
    Yeah, I spent hundreds of hours on SO2, so I mastered the system. By the 2nd continent (not disk) I could abuse orchestra and unlock every character's hidden talents and level them to 100 with ease thanks to copied Forged Medals and much, much more. Pretty much everything that doesn't require the Magical Rasp or whatever it was called can be made by that point. I believe you can even make the Eternal Sphere, if you're a bit lucky.

    Oh yes, and being able to use item creation anywhere definitely needs to come back, regardless of anything else.
  • demonsoulsmasterdemonsoulsmaster Banned Banned Users
    edited August 2010
    Nergal wrote: »
    VP2 is tri-Ace's magnum opus. :)

    My thoughts exactly. You know, Nergal, if I lived in Australia and not America, I think we would be awesome gaming buddies because from the posts I've read of yours, you think almost the exact same way I do and we like the same games. By the way, Phantasy Star IV rocks and I love your avatar.
    FFXIII doesn\'t have deep mechanics (the lauded \"Paradigm Shift\" is just a set of six different Gambits that you can\'t alter), and the \"story\" degenerates into two trainwrecks piled on top of each other.
    -Jeffrey
  • MasterChiefMasterChief I didn't learn anything! Full Members
    edited August 2010
    I'm gonna say it right now - there's NO excuse for this game's level design or graphics. Even if we ignore western games like FO3 and Oblivion, Japanese games like Enchanted Arms have intricate dungeons and castles, as well as gorgeous graphics. Demon's Souls isn't exactly a plot tour de force, but the environment is stupidly detailed, with stuff to look at in all sorts of nooks and crannies. Big, empty spaces aren't fun, and those characters look freaky. We know Tri-Ace is capable of more.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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