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Star Ocean: The Last Hope International - Staff Review

13

Comments

  • WheelsWheels RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    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.

    There's a lot of things in SO4 that are not excusable, did they just phone this one in?
    Ask Wheels- This Week's Episode
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  • Confessor RahlConfessor Rahl Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    omegabyte wrote: »
    Nyx is a girl, dude.

    Ok. My bad. Her. Was that really necessary to call out that particular part of my post? Mature.
    "Back when FF9 was coming out. People were rejoicing because it was actually a fantasy game and not a sci-fi game like 7 and 8. It's hilarious in modern context, with everyone wanking themselves to dehydration at the thought of a FF7 remake."
  • Anna Marie PrivitereAnna Marie Privitere Purr RPGamer Staff
    edited August 2010
    He beat me to it. Maturity has nothing to do with it, you erred slightly and the misconception was corrected. Don't fluff your feathers over it, you're not the first one to make that mistake.
  • Dice.Dice. Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    It only gets harder when some guys have the name Ashley, and some girls are named "alex" (for short).

    In terms of SO4's character design... well, hard to help the fact the main character looks like a knob anyways.
    Que Sera Sera
  • CofLSilkCofLSilk Full Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    I usually enjoy tri-Ace games. Unfortunately, they have yet to make something as good as Star Ocean 2 in recent years. RoF was probably the closest, but its obtuse plot and...unique...battle system kept it from being great. If I was writing a review (maybe I should, just to give SO a little loving) give SO4 a higher score, it still probably wouldn't get more than a 2.5...maybe a 3 with the fanboy-tilt. Don't get me wrong...I enjoyed the game and thought that it brought lot to the table, but the story was weak, the crafting was even more restrictive than in SO3, and it really left me with a feeling of disappointment in the was the series had gone. While both of our Star Ocean 4 (PS3 and 360) reviews threatened to make my inner fanboy rage, they really describe the game well; SO4 is really average at best, and it's strong points are negated by its downfalls.
  • Dice.Dice. Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    I love SO2 myself... but I can never explain why. Looking back, in fact, the storyline is complete garbage really; disjointed and pretty weak as well. The ten wise men bit is pretty good...if you take the time to do it's side quests.

    The combat is a bit button mashing as well.

    I guess its the simple charm and fun-factor to the game.
    Que Sera Sera
  • watcherwatcher Veteran RPGamer Full Members
    edited August 2010
    Blasphemy! "Tear into pieces!"

    Er, I mean...

    The combat requires no mashing of buttons. And lets not forget that for its time, it was ridiculously innovative and advanced. IMO it was the best RPG combat system until SO3 came out. Which is still my favorite and only rivaled by SO4 and ToV.*



    *As a fan that has spent something like 500-700 hours playing SO2 and SO3, I may be biased.
  • Dice.Dice. Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    Haha no no, I know how you feel. I think I beat SO2 like 4 times myself.

    Tear Into Pieces/ Dragon Roar. All I needed.

    ..tear into peaches as I liked to say.

    Actually - I'm always sad for the amount of flack Tri-Ace games get. All of their games are graphically impressive (for their time), the music is well done (Sakuraba, even if he does recycle, does a consistently good job), and the battle systems are unique to each title. It seems their inability to make an EPIC STORY turns many people off, or lowers scores for them. Some even for their games' learning curves. It sucks!
    I loved VP2; and I hate how people criticize it for its lack of "dead people plots". They were interesting for VP1, and a great aspect to the game... but they're a bore to watch on repeated runs.
    Que Sera Sera
  • RazaRaza Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    I dunno, i struggled through this one as well. Mostly for me outside of Reimi, the characters were dull and i never touched the item creation system. SO series hasn't adapted as well as i hoped to the newer gens after SO2. It seems like they nail the battle system more or less, but it's the navigating the world and dungeons that really put a hamper on the flow.
    A critic is someone who stands on the mountaintop high above to watch a battle, and then comes down to shoot the survivors.
    -Hemingway
  • Confessor RahlConfessor Rahl Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    I'm actually surprised at the reaction people have to the visuals. I think the games looks amazing. The anime character models are awesome, the visuals, while lacking in scope, are detailed and don't have the repetitious monotony of a game like Nier. Sure, its not Lost Odyssey, but it is beautiful. What do people want?
    "Back when FF9 was coming out. People were rejoicing because it was actually a fantasy game and not a sci-fi game like 7 and 8. It's hilarious in modern context, with everyone wanking themselves to dehydration at the thought of a FF7 remake."
  • HeeHoHeeHo Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    I don't know... Maybe it's a mindset thing. If you come into SO4 expecting a competent, dramatic storyline, yeah, it's very easy to be disappointed. But like someone said earlier, and this is how I honestly viewed it myself, it's like a cheesy d-list sci-fi movie. It's a tough pill to swallow past the VO and the dialogue at first but once you're over that initial hump, I found the game to be really enjoyable.
    .. Have you PLAYED Resonance of Fate? You call that intuitive? Granted, SO4's combat system was and still is one of the best among the current generation of RPGs. But considering that Infinite Undiscovery's combat was tedious and Resonance of Fate's was mind-boggling, I'd hardly call them masters. If anything, they got lucky.

    Well, I don't agree about IU's combat being tedious... It's kind of like Tales, actually, where you can do a short combo and link and link, AND it's in a full 3D space, except the difference is that it's seamless/no battle transition, which is rare for jRPG combat. Maybe you're talking about staggering and getting knocked down...? Anyway, the fact that the combat wasn't braindead mashy and with the seamless battles; I thought it was quite a feat for the genre and some of the most fun I've had battle system-wise the whole generation. But to say that Tri-Ace got LUCKY with striking that balance, is ludicrous. You think a game developer that specializes in combat just gets "lucky" like that? With their most treasured franchise? C'moooon. You're really selling Tri-Ace short here.
  • Dice.Dice. Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    HeeHo wrote: »
    I don't know... Maybe it's a mindset thing. If you come into SO4 expecting a competent, dramatic storyline, yeah, it's very easy to be disappointed. But like someone said earlier, and this is how I honestly viewed it myself, it's like a cheesy d-list sci-fi movie. It's a tough pill to swallow past the VO and the dialogue at first but once you're over that initial hump, I found the game to be really enjoyable.

    Haha bingo. I think that's why I liked it. I've kinda thrown my cares for a story away, and consider it a bonus if it is a good plot.
    Que Sera Sera
  • watcherwatcher Veteran RPGamer Full Members
    edited August 2010
    HeeHo wrote: »
    Well, I don't agree about IU's combat being tedious... It's kind of like Tales, actually, where you can do a short combo and link and link, AND it's in a full 3D space, except the difference is that it's seamless/no battle transition, which is rare for jRPG combat. Maybe you're talking about staggering and getting knocked down...? Anyway, the fact that the combat wasn't braindead mashy and with the seamless battles; I thought it was quite a feat for the genre and some of the most fun I've had battle system-wise the whole generation. But to say that Tri-Ace got LUCKY with striking that balance, is ludicrous. You think a game developer that specializes in combat just gets "lucky" like that? With their most treasured franchise? C'moooon. You're really selling Tri-Ace short here.

    Personally, I found UI's system a bit unresponsive and simplistic and it got boring after a bit. I did like that it was seamless, but it was tedious after a while. Not as bad as RS, where I could literally sleep through combat, but compared to the SO series and VP2...it lacked in entertainment factor for me. Let's be clear that it is only their premier development team, responsible for the SO series and core VP games, not the whole of tri-Ace that are the masters. The other, newer teams have shown themselves to be entirely inferior. I've actually started paying attention to which of their teams are primarily responsible for which games myself.
  • chaoticprimechaoticprime Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    Dice. wrote: »
    Haha bingo. I think that's why I liked it. I've kinda thrown my cares for a story away, and consider it a bonus if it is a good plot.

    EXACTLY!

    Story is a nice bonus. I care mostly about the way the game plays.
  • Confessor RahlConfessor Rahl Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    IU had an awesome battle system once you got used to it. It had a very FFXII vibe to me, which is a good thing in my eyes.
    "Back when FF9 was coming out. People were rejoicing because it was actually a fantasy game and not a sci-fi game like 7 and 8. It's hilarious in modern context, with everyone wanking themselves to dehydration at the thought of a FF7 remake."
  • NightfoxNightfox Member Berkeley, CAFull Members
    edited August 2010
    I'm actually surprised at the reaction people have to the visuals. I think the games looks amazing. The anime character models are awesome, the visuals, while lacking in scope, are detailed and don't have the repetitious monotony of a game like Nier. Sure, its not Lost Odyssey, but it is beautiful. What do people want?

    I'm with you here, I loved the general look of the game, the environments looked sharp and I loved the outdoor areas so much, I bought an HDTV halfway through Lemuris just to take it all in. I also liked how the characters were generally designed and rendered... I'm guessing it's some uncanny valley effect that's making everyone say the characters look bad.

    Of course criticizing anyone for their taste in art isn't very productive, I just wanted to agree at least some people liked SO4's graphics over other games being used to compare to it.

    As for the game itself, mostly I feel if they hadn't messed up the personal actions system and, even worse, got rid of alternate endings altogether giving a legitimate reason to improve character/character relationships, this would have been my favorite game in the series. Overall the story and dialog was on par with the entire series, barring a few of the supporting characters (Sarah being outright wth and Lymle's character probably would have been more interesting and less irritating if she was her "actual" age). Star Ocean has always been kind of dry for story with the exception of the well done build-up while Fayt is on the run in SO3. I'm not blind to any flaws in other changes they made from SO2 and 3, of which this game has its fair share, but I enjoyed the positives of the gameplay enough for me to overlook or understand the negatives as necessary for balanced gameplay enough to play through it twice. I'd at least consider the game average, but a 2.0 (Bad) is a bit harsh for a game that even the reviewer says has some fun parts - I've played plenty of bad games by this site's standards and they last a half hour in my console at most.

    Oh yeah and I agree, SO3's item creation system while cool once it got going was exceptionally unintuitive, it's one of the first faqs I ever HAD to look up. I didn't even realize how important those side characters were to it, they never once said as much in-game.
    http://www.shadowdawngenesis.com - follow progress on the upcoming RPG series Shadowdawn on Xbox Live Indie Games and PC (and wherever else we can take it)
  • watcherwatcher Veteran RPGamer Full Members
    edited August 2010
    Yeah, the graphics were fine except for the doll-face syndrome.
  • MasterChiefMasterChief I didn't learn anything! Full Members
    edited August 2010
    The problem with the graphics was, yeah, that doll thing. It wasn't just their faces either - everyone looks like an anime-tized Barbie doll.

    so4i42.jpg
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    "What the f--- is a Shakespeare?"
    -Rico Valasquez, showing off why no one likes him.
  • Confessor RahlConfessor Rahl Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    Looks pretty hot to me ;)
    "Back when FF9 was coming out. People were rejoicing because it was actually a fantasy game and not a sci-fi game like 7 and 8. It's hilarious in modern context, with everyone wanking themselves to dehydration at the thought of a FF7 remake."
  • watcherwatcher Veteran RPGamer Full Members
    edited August 2010
    Wait until she talks. :P
  • Adriaan den OudenAdriaan den Ouden Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground RPGamer Staff
    edited August 2010
    watcher wrote: »
    Wait until she talks. :P

    I still don't get why they changed the character design from the one they used in SO3, SO1FD, and SO2SE... Especially to THAT.
    Maybe I'll log out and check my e-mail or something...
  • ClixClix Listmaster Full Members
    edited August 2010
    Or changed her voice actress... THEY RECORDED SO1 AND 2 JUST A FEW MONTHS PRIOR.
    ClixPsi.png
  • Dice.Dice. Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    The problem with the graphics was, yeah, that doll thing. It wasn't just their faces either - everyone looks like an anime-tized Barbie doll.

    so4i42.jpg

    But they're detailed at the very least. Environments especially.
    I'm surprised everyone so easily goes to hate SO4's story. The game's script is no better in Japanese. So if you want to blame anything, don't blame the Voice Acting, blame the script. It's made of CHEESE.

    And why SO4? The "fan-favourite", SO2, has a pretty crap story as well.
    Let me recap... SPOILERS AHEAD...
    -Claude on mystery planet, never explained for more than that, get transported across the galaxy
    -Wakes up in forest, meets Rena, have to save planet from "evil meteorite" causing problems world-wide
    -Meet Celine, get mysterious "writings" from Crosse Cave... explained only if you see Bowman's Alone ending..sorta
    -Head to Klik, catch a boat to get to the source of meteor, town gets tsunami'd, walk on back
    -Head to Mars, save some kids
    -Head to another port to get some medicine to get a linguist to read your mystery writings
    -Participate in a fighting tournament instead for a bit
    -Eventually help the continent's kingdom to develop a weapon to use against meteorite's spawn of monsters
    -Weapon is destroyed, let's go up the tower where evil-meteor is anyways
    -Find meteor, 12 bad guys there, hurt you and take you to their planet
    -Go to new planet, get your "airship"
    -Collect virtues (love, power, int, and courage) for... some reason
    -Go fight last bosses - but lose
    -Go to cave to collect super mineral, rest at an amusement park city which is a few hundred miles from where evil wait in it's lair
    -Go to tower, see stuff blow up, and win!!

    The only Tri-Ace game that really get's good story awards is the VP series (though many seemed to hate the 2nd one... I didn't).
    While I don't want to say people should look at story, its a fact that some do (and yes, it does make playing more enjoyable), people should lower their standards when it comes to Tri-Ace.

    In my opinion, the story could be worse... you could be playing Trinity Universe...
    2n6zog8.jpg
    Que Sera Sera
  • Confessor RahlConfessor Rahl Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    People are blinded by nostalgia and charm factor.
    "Back when FF9 was coming out. People were rejoicing because it was actually a fantasy game and not a sci-fi game like 7 and 8. It's hilarious in modern context, with everyone wanking themselves to dehydration at the thought of a FF7 remake."
  • watcherwatcher Veteran RPGamer Full Members
    edited August 2010
    Nostalgia? I played it (SO2) again just last year. It's got fun factor that SO4 just doesn't have.
  • Confessor RahlConfessor Rahl Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    watcher wrote: »
    Nostalgia? I played it (SO2) again just last year. It's got fun factor that SO4 just doesn't have.

    Yes, nostalgia. When was the first time you played SO2?
    "Back when FF9 was coming out. People were rejoicing because it was actually a fantasy game and not a sci-fi game like 7 and 8. It's hilarious in modern context, with everyone wanking themselves to dehydration at the thought of a FF7 remake."
  • HeeHoHeeHo Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    SO4 has a fun factor, but more so in the addictive, constant combat with upgrading your bonus board and keeping it. I think people initially get super burnt on the VO and the seemingly cheesy character motives, which at first, do seem a little flimsy, but it starts to pick up definitely, IMO. Although, like I said, that's when the game turned into a corny sci-fi flick and you realize maybe you aren't supposed to be taking everything seriously at face value.
  • reionprementereionpremente Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    Maybe its just me, but I LIKED SO4 and I was highly hoping that we would ACTUALLY see the PS3 remake... It's just a shame that it's nowhere near what it should have been. If nothing else to get rid of the damn English Dub! God that was annoying. Now let me get this straight, the remake was HORRIBLE? How so? If you just disliked the game, that's one thing, but if you're bashing it simply because it WAS a TERRIBLE remake then that's a reasonable excuse. I never got to play 2... yet. I'm still waiting for it to come down to $20 before I pick it up. I got the first one a couple of months ago, and I really enjoyed it what little of it I played of it, but it was a tad on the easy side for me. Am I alone on this?

    Now, there WERE reports that they had put in the original Japanese track in... did this happen or did they jump ship AGAIN and stuck it with that God-awful dub and nothing else. I thought that was the MAIN reason FOR the reboot of the 360 version in the first place-- to get the ORIGINAL Japanese voice track into the game. I take it this didn't happen...
  • watcherwatcher Veteran RPGamer Full Members
    edited August 2010
    HeeHo wrote: »
    Although, like I said, that's when the game turned into a corny sci-fi flick and you realize maybe you aren't supposed to be taking everything seriously at face value.

    Anyone that has played a prior game in the series could have told you that. I mean, just spend some time looking at random NPC names and you should know not to take things too seriously. This is a game series where riding on the backs of giant bunnies is a valid mode of transportation.
  • reionprementereionpremente Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    Unfortunately, I've never gotten to play SO 2... YET. I want to, but I'm still not done with SO 1 for the PSP... I got it late so that's my excuse. SO 2 as far as I know has NEVER left the $30-40 mark and it's a real shame. I REALLY want it.
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