Star Ocean: The Last Hope International (Playstation 3)

Star Ocean is a franchise that is going on fifteen years since the original title for the Super Famicom (Japanese precursor/version of the Super Nintendo) was released. Seemingly on every console since then, Star Ocean is a title that has taken almost as many twists and turns as Square Enix’s other franchise, Final Fantasy. Owing much to the current generation of graphics and memory, Star Ocean: The Last Hope International may just be the most impressive of efforts ever made in the line to this point. The title itself begins in a future version of Earth, where a number of wars have made the Earth populace send out a spaceship in the hope that it can find a suitable planet to recolonize.

The title is made more impressive since this is the second time that Square Enix has released the title, tightening it up considerably since it originally made its way to the Xbox 360 last year. For those that are more fluent in a different language, players can render the text in French, Spanish, or German, while the vocal options provided players are English and Japanese. The game itself represents an evolutionary step forward in regards to RPG in terms of sheer specificity. This is due to the ease in which the fantasy and science-fiction elements of the title are married together, where individuals can use different types of magic along with piloting a space-faring ship.

Where it has always been a hallmark to include great FMV and artistic renderings and pass them off as normal gameplay, Star Ocean: The Last Hope International benefits from some stellar graphics at all points of the game, no matter whether individuals are walking or flying around or are in battle. The graphical displays / menus are clear and concise, and while there are a number of different features available players, they are couched in a straight-forward manner. Overall, the title adds a number of new and re-cast ideas into the RPG memory, in the hope that future games will be able to adopt them. Take, for example, the blindside approach – it allows disruption of an attacking mob in a way few titles have successfully captured. In a few short words, Star Ocean: The Last Hope International is one of the best RPG titles of the last year, and fans of the PS3 will be now able to see that.

Rating: 9.2/10

Star Ocean: The Last Hope International (Playstation 3) / 2010 Square Enix / http://www.square-enix.com / http://na.square-enix.com/starocean

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