Review: Star Ocean: The Last Hope International

PlayStation 3’s Star Ocean: The Last Hope International has been out and is probably being played by eager RPG fans who own the console right now. Although the core game remained the same as the Xbox 360 version released last year, the PlayStation 3 version has made some welcome improvements.

I’m not going to review the game twice. I’ve already done a Star Ocean: The Last Hope review on 360, which you can read here. What I’m going to do here is compare the new PlayStation 3 features and tell you whether or not it’s worth your new or repurchase.

It’s a solid role-playing game, that’s for sure. It was solid in February 2009 and it’s solid now. That means there are going to be problems, obviously, because it’s not perfect. One problem that was frequently brought up when the game released last year was its terrible English voice acting. The lip syncing was off, the lines were corny and listening to them was just a nightmare at times.

Example: There is a scene in the game where Reimi wants Edge to go down a jump last. Edge is confused and wants to go first to ensure their safety. Reimi then calls Edge a pervert because she thinks he wants to look up her skirt which was in no way implied at all to begin with.

Those corny lines are still there, however, it’s a little less bearable now thanks to the power of Japanese. Yes, now you can turn off the English and listen to the sweet sound of the Japanese language whilst reading along. Every time Lymle says the word “Kay”, you can also just stop your sentence before it. It’s great — what a change of language can do.

The PS3 version of Star Ocean has changed the art decor a bit, including proper anime character portraits and a classic menu style. How else could you please a JRPG fan than by allowing him/her to see Japanese character and menu artwork in a Japanese game? The CG character portraits and menu style featured in the 360 version where dull and bland compared to the new colorful portraits and menu. The image above represents the PS3 version (top) and 360 version (bottom). While the 360 version can only choose one menu style, the PS3 version has a choice between the two.

However, it’s not all dandy improvements in the PlayStation 3 version. As it always seems, with ports there’s always a downside. This time, it’s a visual downgrade. Most of the environment from the Xbox 360 version boasts more shine than it does in the PS3 version as well as more detail. It’s not really that big of a difference. You won’t notice it unless you play it side-by-side, to be honest, which I had to do to really see for myself.

A couple of screenshots speak for it (obtained from this source, don’t have the proper equipment to take them myself):

Battles are pretty much the same. However, the PlayStation 3 version of the game sports anti-aliasing on the battle field while the Xbox 360 version does not.

Here’s a final comparison, this time in video:

There is one other thing I’ve yet to mention that really makes this game much less a hassle than it was on Xbox 360. It’s only on one disc. The Xbox 360 version had players switching multiple times during the story, and even more if they wanted to go back to other planets. PlayStation 3 owners can enjoy the RPG seamlessly.

Star Ocean: The Last Hope International is the same experience Xbox 360 owners had last February. There are a couple of new additions, but nothing too great. If you’re a fan of Japanese voice acting, then definitely pick it up. If you have yet to play it but enjoy RPGs, then pick it up. It’s an RPG, it’s on one disc, and it’s a good game. The battle system is enjoyable and you’ll definitely get a kick out of some of the extraordinary environments in the game.

8.5/10

Star Ocean: The Last Hope International was reviewed on a PlayStation 3. The game was played for twenty-two hours on normal difficulty. Star Ocean: The Last Hope International launched for PlayStation 3 in North America on February 9, 2010 for an MSRP of $59.99.

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