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Star Ocean: The Last Hope
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As a big fan of the Star Ocean series, I hoped this would continue to build and improve on the quality of the previous titles. I wasn't disappointed. I'll begin with the pros: The graphics are everything you'd expect from a game on a next-gen console like the 360 and more in some places. The storyline is brilliant, packed with clichés as we all expect and love from JRPGs! You can expect to get around 60-80 hours gameplay if you include the trademark bonus dungeous. The replay value is there for hardcore RPG fans as there are several possible endings to achieve depending on how you interact throughout the game with other characters. Finally, the best thing about this game and previous Star Ocean games - the real time battle system. Lots of fun can be had with it and you will always be looking forward to your next battle. There are no "random" encounters like in Final Fantasy games, instead you run into enemies to fight them.
Now, the inevitable cons. The voice acting - like in SO3 - is pretty poor. One or two characters in particular can start to become annoying very quickly. Also, the necessary disc-swapping can become a chore. It isn't noticeable until you reach the end of the game and have to start travelling back to previously visited worlds which happen to be on previous discs. Finally, at times in the game it seems like there is little direction to help you discover which way to go. It's almost as if the developers had an agreement with the walkthrough guide authors to make certain parts of the game very difficult to navigate through. It is possible to do so without a guide.
5/5 stars from me. On a par with Lost Odyssey, I'd rate SO: The Last Hope as the joint-best JRPG on the 360. If you're a Star Ocean fan and you haven't played this game, you know what to expect and it doesn't disappoint. If you haven't played a Star Ocean game before, I'd advise you to try this out simply for the unique battle system and the epic storyline.