Published on January 29th, 2010 | by prime0
Star Ocean The Last Hope: International – Preview
Final Fantasy not enough to get your heart racing? Then maybe a tour through space with Star Ocean will. Launching just three weeks prior to the thirteenth episode in the Final Fantasy saga, the return of Square-Enix’s ‘other’ mighty JRPG franchise should provide us with a double bill of fantastic follow-ups to two of the greatest JRPGs of all time – and lead the way for one of the biggest showdowns in role-playing game history.
Star Ocean is somewhat the underdog when it comes to chart superiority of course, what with the series’ specialist roots and lower production values, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the worst of the two games.
Star Ocean’s real-time battle system is fast and fluid, comparable more with a hack & slash title than the slower, turn-based likes of Final Fantasy
The Last Hope’s setting should be more immediately appealing to more than Final Fantasy’s at least, which sees the remnants of humanity jetting off into space after World War III turns Earth into a ball of glowing green dust. And so we catch up with our two main heroes Edge and Raimi aboard the SRF-003 Calnus, both of whom will charm the pants off you and – thanks to their woeful English dubbing – drive you to distraction in equal measure.
But the clue is in the title of course, and this Playstation3 revamp of last year’s 360 title is thankfully set to feature support for both English and Japanese voiceovers (as well as a range of international subtitle, too), as our heroes journey skyward to find a new home among the stars. That the original Japanese voice acting is superior is somewhat a given in the JRPG world, and it’s certainly no different here, providing a more enjoyable and truer experience to those hardcore Star Ocean fans.
And those fans will also be pleased by the return of Star Ocean’s battle system, which you’ll get your head around quicker than you might think. Though intimidating upon first glance, in reality The Last Hope’s real-time battle system actually feels fairly conventional. Comparable more with a hack and slash title than the slower, turn-based likes of Final Fantasy’s Active Battle System. The Last Hope’s BEAT system places you inside an arena in which you get full control of all four characters in your party, dictating whereabouts they move, which combos they unleash and when to pull of counter moves. It’s fast and fluid, and while random battles are frequent, that you’re always at the center of the action rather than watching from the sidelines should help defeat the frustrations often associated with the mechanic.
But should you ever bore of beating up bugs, beetles, monsters and dungeon masters, the variety of tasks on offer should keep boredom at bay as you travel the universe in your spacecraft. Similar to Mass Effect, as captain of the ship it’s uo to you which planets and corners of the galaxy you’d like to explore, as you’re able to travel to the far corners of the galaxy and visit multiple planets, all while basking in some of the most beautiful FMV sequences that we’ve ever seen.
But while Star Ocean may be out of this world in a literal sense, we’re still not sure whether it has what it takes to stand up to the might of the king of the JRPGs. We’ll find out for certain when Star Ocean The Last Hope: International launches across the globe next month.