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Star Ocean: The Last Hope International - Staff Review

NyxNyx Staff Girly GirlRPGamer Staff
edited August 2010 in Latest Updates
RPGamer loves Star Ocean: The Last Hope, 'kay? That Adriaan den Ouden sure was a meanie about it, 'kay? Nyxie loved it, 'kay? She's a good reviewer lady, 'kay?

Staff Review
«134

Comments

  • WheelsWheels RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited August 2010
    Wait....I thought you said you loved it? :P
    Ask Wheels- This Week's Episode
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  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited August 2010
    The blurb is a lie! The blurb is a lie!
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
    Twitter @FinalMacstorm
  • Adriaan den OudenAdriaan den Ouden Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground RPGamer Staff
    edited August 2010
    Wow, even crueler than I was. You go, Sam! Stick it to those tri-Ace fanboys!
    Maybe I'll log out and check my e-mail or something...
  • watcherwatcher Veteran RPGamer Full Members
    edited August 2010
    Basically, it's the Unlimited SaGa of the Star Ocean series.

    My biggest beef with the game was the item creation system for which they provided little to no resources. Many of the raw materials can't even be gotten until late in the POST game.
  • WheelsWheels RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited August 2010
    watcher wrote: »
    Basically, it's the Unlimited SaGa of the Star Ocean series.

    My biggest beef with the game was the item creation system for which they provided little to no resources. Many of the raw materials can't even be gotten until late in the POST game.

    wo wo wo, first of all Unlimited Saga has a lowercased G for a reason! Let's not bring that misunderstood classic into this either :P
    Ask Wheels- This Week's Episode
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  • Dice.Dice. Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    Now, now. This review isn't all that fair.
    The game certainly isn't a "2" bad - otherwise you're completely missing what's to be expected out of a Tri-Ace game.
    This game does something that many games barely do, especially many of the JRPGs being unleashed.

    The game play mechanics are deep, difficult, complicated, and rewarding; and that's what you need to focus on. Xenosaga does the exact opposite, focusing on story, and sacrificing possible gameplay elements and lacking proper exploration.

    You can skip the cutscenes at the very least (with summaries! best feature ever!!), and the story is about as deep as a puddle. And not even the Japanese track really saves the story you have to listen to. If you want to blame the story for anything, blame the script - it's made of pure cheese. It's even cheesier than macaroni and cheese with extra cheese on it! I know many people hate English voice acting, it has had reason to earn a bad rep every so often; but at least the International version proves that even Sarah sounds just as bad.

    The graphics are highly detailed, again, something not many JRPGs have had a hand in lately. NieR was fairly bland, Nippon Ichi has had a difficult transition into 3D, and only the real gaming juggernauts (Capcom, Squeenix) have been top of the tier.

    For a score of 2, not even a passing grade, I'm not too sure what you're looking for in an RPG. Quite frankly, playing a game for it's story can be a very unrewarding experience - because in the end there is little to "play".

    I don't mean to sounds like a fan-girl; but I do have to defend a game that needs a bit more appreciation. Naturally, preference is also a factor. I never really "LOOOOVED-OMGOMG" Persona 3 as much as the rest of the RPG world raves about it. I know this game isn't a 5 either... but at least Tri-Ace delivers more intuitive gameplay than many publishers do nowadays... especially with the struggling RPG genre.
    Que Sera Sera
  • NyxNyx Staff Girly Girl RPGamer Staff
    edited August 2010
    Truthfully, I don't hate the game. Far from it - the dialog is trite and terrible, but when I started to treat the game like a D-rated sci-fi movie, I found a lot of enjoyment. My biggest issue with the game is that there's so much potential, but so many things were executed poorly. Like I said int he review, this game will be an acquired taste for some, and for me, if I had truly hated the game, I wouldn't have bothered to get most of the achievements and the special endings. :)

    I adore tri-Ace, and I appreciate there constant efforts to innovate and make deep and strong combat mechanics. In fact, SO4 has one of my new favourite battle systems of all time - it's amazingly complex, which is why it got a five. For me, story is very important to me and I will often heavily focus on that in a review, especially when things aren't up to snuff. Also no matter which way ya swing it, and I agree with you here, Sarah doesn't sound good in either language. English, Japanese, it doesn't matter -- someone needs to shoot her.

    The visuals were a huge problem for me, so we can agree to disagree there. I don't like them, I think they are very awkward, and there's nothing worse than only being able to play a game in small bursts because it hurts your eyes. This happened to me quite a bit, as I found my eyes were really sore looking at the visuals. To me, that's not good, but to each there own.
  • TGBarighmTGBarighm Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    Huh. I didn't mind the graphics at all. Certainly not enough to impact an overall review score. Personally, I tend to favour the thing video games are supposed to be about: fun. Sucky story, yes, but still fun. Granted, I don't think you can skip the cutscenes, so it's not like you can avoid the suckiness. Maybe if you could the story wouldn't be a big deal. But then, I went into the game expecting the story to be awful, so it was easy for me to enjoy its strong points. Certainly better than Infinite Undiscovery.
  • watcherwatcher Veteran RPGamer Full Members
    edited August 2010
    Wheels wrote: »
    wo wo wo, first of all Unlimited Saga has a lowercased G for a reason! Let's not bring that misunderstood classic into this either :P

    Oooh, lower case g, that makes it more excusable. /eyerolls Anyway, I see several parallels. Primarily they both have great combat systems, but fail hard in other gameplay mechanics.

    Also, to be fair, I've been the biggest tri-Ace fan on the board for years, and I'd rate SO4 a 3 overall. But let's face it, tri-Ace has been dropping the ball big time with their resent offerings. They desperately need a good writer.
  • WheelsWheels RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited August 2010
    watcher wrote: »
    Oooh, lower case g, that makes it more excusable. /eyerolls Anyway, I see several parallels. Primarily they both have great combat systems, but fail hard in other gameplay mechanics.

    It's actually an important distinction, but this is the wrong place to go into depth about Unlimited Saga :)

    Re: Star Ocean Last- at least its better than SO3!
    Ask Wheels- This Week's Episode
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  • Revan986Revan986 New Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    One of the only RPGs I've played that I didn't make it all the way through. Flat out could not stand the story, or lack thereof. You play as the potential savior of humanity with the only functioning ship and you're running around on alien planets trying to find some girl's wallet....
  • Adriaan den OudenAdriaan den Ouden Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground RPGamer Staff
    edited August 2010
    Dice. wrote: »
    The graphics are highly detailed, again, something not many JRPGs have had a hand in lately. NieR was fairly bland, Nippon Ichi has had a difficult transition into 3D, and only the real gaming juggernauts (Capcom, Squeenix) have been top of the tier.

    So I guess you missed out on Enchanted Arms, Eternal Sonata, Tales of Vesperia, Lost Odyssey, Valkyria Chronicles, Final Fantasy XIII, Demon's Souls, 3D Dot Game Heroes... for the love of God, even tri-Ace's last game, Infinite Undiscovery, and their more recent game, Resonance of Fate, looked better than SO4. If you honestly think SO4 has highly detailed, quality graphics, you really, really need to play some current-gen games. They're awful. As for Nier, yes, the environments were quite bland. But the characters look a thousand times better than SO4's.
    For a score of 2, not even a passing grade, I'm not too sure what you're looking for in an RPG. Quite frankly, playing a game for it's story can be a very unrewarding experience - because in the end there is little to "play".

    They should have thought of that before they put in over six hours worth of cutscenes, shouldn't they? SO4 TRIES to be a story-driven RPG and fails miserably at it.
    I don't mean to sounds like a fan-girl; but I do have to defend a game that needs a bit more appreciation. Naturally, preference is also a factor. I never really "LOOOOVED-OMGOMG" Persona 3 as much as the rest of the RPG world raves about it. I know this game isn't a 5 either... but at least Tri-Ace delivers more intuitive gameplay than many publishers do nowadays... especially with the struggling RPG genre.

    ... 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.
    Maybe I'll log out and check my e-mail or something...
  • reionprementereionpremente Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    Maybe they should've just kept it in Japanese... maybe it won't be that bad then?
  • Dice.Dice. Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    omegabyte wrote: »
    So I guess you missed out on Enchanted Arms, Eternal Sonata, Tales of Vesperia, Lost Odyssey, Valkyria Chronicles, Final Fantasy XIII, Demon's Souls, 3D Dot Game Heroes... for the love of God, even tri-Ace's last game, Infinite Undiscovery, and their more recent game, Resonance of Fate, looked better than SO4. If you honestly think SO4 has highly detailed, quality graphics, you really, really need to play some current-gen games. They're awful. As for Nier, yes, the environments were quite bland. But the characters look a thousand times better than SO4's.

    Some people hate Resonance for the recycled graphics. And it DID have detailed graphics, most games do. It depends on the look. Star Ocean goes for a Space-Anime adventure, giving characters a bright composition, with lotsa flashy-futuristic gadgets and all that whatnot. THe two are tough to compare. Plus, dad-Nier is probably one of the ugliest men alive. Kaine could be in porn (I'll admit I like her outfit). And most of the games you list prove my point - only bigger companies have really escalated to high-tech graphics. I'm pretty much yelling at Nippon Ichi for having trouble keeping up with standards. Are you really just mocking the character graphics??? I mean, the environments are some of the most amazing, vivid, and full of life I've ever seen (certainly cap-sizing Nier's, boat, and at least offering more interaction than FF13's did).
    omegabyte wrote:
    They should have thought of that before they put in over six hours worth of cutscenes, shouldn't they? SO4 TRIES to be a story-driven RPG and fails miserably at it.


    You can SKIP them! It didn't feel like it tries, it feels more like they provided one. They let you travel planets, save the world, see some cameos and interesting stuff on the way. No one said you had to watch them, and why would you put yourself through a long cut-scene if not just to hate it more. Most Tri-Ace games fall short in the story department... I know it is not something you want to think as a standard to their games, but Tri-Ace focus on GAMES is their GAMEPLAY. They fit a story in that some find either charming, or a waste (usually lacking in the praise department).
    omegabyte wrote:
    ... 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.

    IF you went head-first into Resonance of Fate, then yes... you will die. If you take the time to read a tutorial, it's as easy as pie. If anything, I want to thank Tri-Ace for not giving a game so mind-numbing as options like: "Attack" to hurt enemy, "Defend" to waste some time, "Magic" to hurt enemy, and "Item" to make me all better! Instead, you're given a field to decide based on more than such simple factors, and optimize your characters in more fields than ATK. Power.

    This game deserves WAY more than a 2 based on gameplay alone - otherwise I think we've missed the reason we play games for.
    Que Sera Sera
  • Anna Marie PrivitereAnna Marie Privitere Purr RPGamer Staff
    edited August 2010
    If you feel that strongly and have completed the game, submit a review.
  • Dice.Dice. Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    Haha I feel like a jerk for sounding so...well, passionate when I have less than 10 posts. But flattered to hear from someone with over 5k. =/
    Que Sera Sera
  • Anna Marie PrivitereAnna Marie Privitere Purr RPGamer Staff
    edited August 2010
    We hid post counts for a long time because we feel they're irrelevant; there's little judgment on relative contribution. Being passionate is encouraged around here as long as you respect everyone's viewpoint. That and I've been here a looooong time :oh:
  • TGBarighmTGBarighm Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    Good thing too, because then I'd technically deserve more respect than Paws, and heaven knows nobody at RPGamer wants THAT. Pretty sure my total post count between this and my old account is in the 6k range. I say they should be hidden again.
  • Anna Marie PrivitereAnna Marie Privitere Purr RPGamer Staff
    edited August 2010
    If memory serves, probably closer to 7k actually. I've been mulling it over, but I don't recall if this software has an off/on switch or if one of the guys would have to hax0r it. However, this is quite off topic, so let's get back to the review :blush:
  • NergalNergal The Don Full Members
    edited August 2010
    The only thing about SO4 that disappointed me as a tri-Ace fan was the fact its story wasn't as crazy as SO3's. I was expecting some major tweeests!

    Funny thing is I have pretty much the same praises and complaints as those explored in the review, yet my score would be somewhere around the 3.5 mark. Guess it depends what you focus on.
  • Adriaan den OudenAdriaan den Ouden Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground RPGamer Staff
    edited August 2010
    Some people hate Resonance for the recycled graphics. And it DID have detailed graphics, most games do. It depends on the look. Star Ocean goes for a Space-Anime adventure, giving characters a bright composition, with lotsa flashy-futuristic gadgets and all that whatnot. THe two are tough to compare. Plus, dad-Nier is probably one of the ugliest men alive. Kaine could be in porn (I'll admit I like her outfit). And most of the games you list prove my point - only bigger companies have really escalated to high-tech graphics. I'm pretty much yelling at Nippon Ichi for having trouble keeping up with standards. Are you really just mocking the character graphics??? I mean, the environments are some of the most amazing, vivid, and full of life I've ever seen (certainly cap-sizing Nier's, boat, and at least offering more interaction than FF13's did).

    Personally, I didn't have a problem with SO4's environments. The environments were quite attractive. The characters, though, were atrocious. You want a space-anime adventure? THIS is what a space-anime adventure should look like: http://www.rpgamer.com/games/other/ps2/rogalaxy/screens/rogalaxy209.jpg And that's a bloody PS2 game. RoF and IU's characters looked better. Nier's characters are about the same level of technical proficiency as SO4's, but the artistic quality is significantly higher. The facial expressions are much more realistic, as are the animations, and the character designs are infinitely more imaginative. Finally, for the record, most of the games on my list probably had roughly the same budget, or a smaller one, than SO4. Tales of Vesperia is in the exact same niche as SO4, but it looks a thousand times better. The same goes for Eternal Sonata. Enchanted Arms, 3D Dot Game Heroes, and Demon's Souls are an even smaller niche from a much smaller developer, and the first was released several years prior, and still looks nicer. Lost Odyssey was from a start-up company by Sakaguchi with limited funding from Microsoft. Valkyria Chronicles was from SEGA, which has fairly limited resources now as well. These aren't bigger developers than tri-Ace. Not by a long shot. While we're at this, why don't we throw in Atelier Rorona and Ar Tonelico 3 into the mix. Surely you wouldn't suggest that GUST of all developers is better funded than tri-Ace?
    You can SKIP them! It didn't feel like it tries, it feels more like they provided one. They let you travel planets, save the world, see some cameos and interesting stuff on the way. No one said you had to watch them, and why would you put yourself through a long cut-scene if not just to hate it more. Most Tri-Ace games fall short in the story department... I know it is not something you want to think as a standard to their games, but Tri-Ace focus on GAMES is their GAMEPLAY. They fit a story in that some find either charming, or a waste (usually lacking in the praise department).

    Just because you CAN skip a cutscene doesn't somehow make the game better. No story is just as awful and a bad one. If they just wanted to "provide" a story, there would be absolutely no reason for the amount of cutscenes they have. Make no mistake - this is them TRYING to have a compelling story. Absolutely no question about it. And they failed.

    Second, tri-Ace games have NOT always been lacking in the story department. Quite the contrary, in fact. Their first three games were LAUDED for their stories, specifically their approach to nonlinear storytelling. SO1 and SO2 both allowed you to choose your party from a larger cast, and the story changed and evolved based on who you had with you. Valkyrie Profile is also very much loved for its story. It's only in the last 3 years or so they've truly become terrible storytellers. Radiata Stories had an excellent cast of characters, and SO3, despite a bizarre plot twist, was also quite solid in the story department. Even Valkyrie Profile 2 at least had a terrific localization. I didn't finish that game so I can't speak as to how it turns out towards the end.
    IF you went head-first into Resonance of Fate, then yes... you will die. If you take the time to read a tutorial, it's as easy as pie. If anything, I want to thank Tri-Ace for not giving a game so mind-numbing as options like: "Attack" to hurt enemy, "Defend" to waste some time, "Magic" to hurt enemy, and "Item" to make me all better! Instead, you're given a field to decide based on more than such simple factors, and optimize your characters in more fields than ATK. Power.

    This game deserves WAY more than a 2 based on gameplay alone - otherwise I think we've missed the reason we play games for.

    My point here was simply that Resonance of Fate is in no way intuitive. It's an overly complicated game that is certain to turn away many gamers who attempt it. It falls into the same niche as their Valkyrie Profile games, which have similarly frustrating learning curves. SO4 is an example of intuitive, enjoyable combat, and it stands out as some of tri-Ace's best work in that field, if you ignore the rest of the game.

    As for why we play games, I play games for the whole experience. If I wanted nothing but combat, I'd play a fighting game. If I wanted nothing but story, I'd read a book. Games, and RPGs especially, are a balance of storytelling and gameplay, and SO4 failed to maintain that balance. One side is strong, while the other is horribly weak, and it devastates the game.
    Maybe I'll log out and check my e-mail or something...
  • NergalNergal The Don Full Members
    edited August 2010
    omegabyte wrote: »
    Even Valkyrie Profile 2 at least had a terrific localization. I didn't finish that game so I can't speak as to how it turns out towards the end.

    VP2 is tri-Ace's magnum opus. :)
  • Gold_guardianGold_guardian Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    Man this game needs a price drop bad. It's still pretty much full price which sucks
    ~Shining Nova~
  • Dice.Dice. Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    Used is $35...if you can find it, its pretty justified (provided you do the extra dungeons especially)
    Que Sera Sera
  • chaoticprimechaoticprime Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    I loved every minute of both versions of this game.

    I thought the voice acting was fine. It certainly was better than the majority of voice acted RPG's I have played.
  • Confessor RahlConfessor Rahl Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    I have to agree that I do not think the reviewer's score accurately reflects the content, nor his feelings of enjoyment of the game that have been made clear in these threads. Call me confused, but so it goes. I liked SO4 to some degree, the combat was fantastic, but I doubt i'll finish international.
    "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."
  • Adriaan den OudenAdriaan den Ouden Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground RPGamer Staff
    edited August 2010
    I have to agree that I do not think the reviewer's score accurately reflects the content, nor his feelings of enjoyment of the game that have been made clear in these threads. Call me confused, but so it goes. I liked SO4 to some degree, the combat was fantastic, but I doubt i'll finish international.

    Nyx is a girl, dude.
    Maybe I'll log out and check my e-mail or something...
  • Gold_guardianGold_guardian Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    Dice. wrote: »
    Used is $35...if you can find it, its pretty justified (provided you do the extra dungeons especially)

    Not in Canada it isn't. It's still $60 used at the local gamestop which is outright outrageous
    ~Shining Nova~
  • SirusjrSirusjr Member Full Members
    edited August 2010
    omegabyte - I am not sure how you can possibly suggest that Star Ocean 4's characters look worse than Infinite Undiscovery's characters. When I was playing IU for the short 5 hours I could stand before I gave up, I remember thinking how horrible the characters look like low res PS2 characters compared to other next-gen games. Sure the characters in SO4 are a bit doll-like but I really thought Reimy was hot and the other characters looked great to me. Plus, I enjoyed the majority of the storyline and dialog. It wasn't exactly high brow literature but it kept me engaged and I never felt compelled to skip a cutscene. Although, most of it was the character development I enjoyed, especially the various interactions between the characters at major points of the game.
  • Adriaan den OudenAdriaan den Ouden Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground RPGamer Staff
    edited August 2010
    Sirusjr wrote: »
    omegabyte - I am not sure how you can possibly suggest that Star Ocean 4's characters look worse than Infinite Undiscovery's characters. When I was playing IU for the short 5 hours I could stand before I gave up, I remember thinking how horrible the characters look like low res PS2 characters compared to other next-gen games. Sure the characters in SO4 are a bit doll-like but I really thought Reimy was hot and the other characters looked great to me. Plus, I enjoyed the majority of the storyline and dialog. It wasn't exactly high brow literature but it kept me engaged and I never felt compelled to skip a cutscene. Although, most of it was the character development I enjoyed, especially the various interactions between the characters at major points of the game.

    I never said they were good, I said they were better. Yes, the texturing was less fancy, and that's what made it better, because it made them look more like anime characters rather than weird, glossy anime/realistic hybrids. The animation in IU was still atrocious, but at least the characters didn't creep me out.
    Maybe I'll log out and check my e-mail or something...
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