Remember Me in the Stars: Star Ocean: The Last Hope – July 12th – 13th, 2009: Introduction

The box for the rerelease of The Last Hope, which features Reimi (left) and Edge (right) front and center. I chose this one because I like it better than the vanilla game's box.
The box for the rerelease of The Last Hope, which features Reimi (left) and Edge (right) front and center. I chose this one because I like it better than the vanilla game’s box.

Star Ocean: The Last Hope

System: Xbox 360

Developer: tri-ACE

Publisher: Square Enix

Released: 2009

Purchased: 7/12/2009

I purchased this game at Movie Gallery because Star Ocean is one of my favorite role playing games. When I heard of The Last Hope for the first time, I was excited but also cautious. I knew that Star Ocean: Till the End of Time let some down.

But that’s neither here nor there. The first VGJ for a tri-ACE game begins… now!

Journal Started: 7/12/2009

JULY 12TH, 2009: I didn’t have the time to start my new game. Not today, but that’s OK.

Mainly, it’s because I read that the game’s stingy with save points.

I look forward to Battle Trophies, Private Actions, and IC.

Battle Trophies

A feature introduced in SO: TtEoT, Battle Trophies are unlocked after accomplishing certain tasks in battle. In TLH, this feature was greatly expanded; each character had 100 Battle Trophies to unlock, making for insane replay value… and something to drive completionists insane. I shudder to think what Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness will bring to the table…

Private Actions

In earlier Star Ocean games, Private Actions were optional events that you could find when you entered a town and allowed your party to split up. Depending on the Private Action, characters’ feelings amongst each other would change for the worse or better. Unlike Battle Trophies, Private Actions were scaled back in TLH. Friendship and romantic values were no longer shared amongst all of the characters. Instead, you could only affect how the other characters felt about our hero, Edge Maverick (yes, that’s really his name). These values, when satisfied, enabled you to see their specific epilogue at the end of the game. A bit of a shame, but at least you could still see some character-developing scenes through PA.

Item Creation

This is a biggie. IC is exactly what it sounds like: the ability to create items and build your characters’ talents at making them. Unfortunately, this, too, was another feature that was scaled back from earlier games. My biggest letdown with IC in TLH was how they no longer showed raw material turning into the final item. It was such an exciting thing to watch in Star Ocean: The Second Story, despite the primitive 3D graphics. It could be quite suspenseful to watch a raw material stretch and change into the final result. I never got tired of it.

JULY 13TH, 2009: tri-ACE games always seem to have great introductory sequences, and The Last Hope‘s is a doozy. It moved me.

I remember a reviewer for play magazine getting hung up on and making a point of it to poke fun at how unrealistic it is that TLH‘s intro showed world monuments surviving a full-fledged World War III. Hey, not everything can be Independence Day. That was when I realized that some critics didn’t “get” the game. Not surprising. It is a JRPG, after all, and not the kind of thing that they get paid to promote and give kid glove reviews to.

The sound FX are exactly the same as the other Star Oceans. I love it!

The backstory feels plausible to me.

Reimi is voiced by Laura Bailey. Love her voice!

Commander Kenny?! The ancestor of Ronixis and Claude?!

Moonbase Commander Stephen D. Kenny is… handsome.

Space exploration? Sign me up!
Space exploration? Sign me up!

You hear of how zero gravity affects peoples’ looks? That doesn’t seem to affect Star Ocean‘s universe.

I kinda wish I had a choice between a male or female lead character, like in Star Ocean: The Second Story.

There’s a save point right at the start of the game! What was OXM whining about?

IC is down on the Calnus. For now… 😦

Isn’t the Calnus the ship from the start of The Second Story?

The save spots are actually really cool-looking.

I like Welch.

Welch Vineyard, also voiced by Laura Bailey
Welch Vineyard, also voiced by Laura Bailey

Welch appears in later games in the series.

Edge’s voice doesn’t match his pretty face. Or his name, for that matter.

But that wouldn’t be the last that we hear of this voice. 😉

Why does this series love middle initials so much?

The SRF-003 Calnus was headed for Aeos, but a gravitational anomaly forces the crew to perform an emergency warp-out. They wind up crashing onto a purplish planet in who-knows-what galaxy.

Hopefully it’s not Pandora. That would have made for a way different game. 😀

Turns out they were fortunate enough to land on Aeos. They need to rendezvous with the other ships. The SRF Aquila is missing.

I love Oxie, but did they pay any attention to the early part of the game?

Oxie” was my old nickname for OXM.

They said in their review that there are eight total party members. I thought there were more than the five listed in the game’s manual!

I guess these characters are kind of like Infinite Undiscovery‘s, which isn’t bad.

IU had its flaws, but I think that it was another underrated tri-ACE game.

Tri-ACE renders some of the best hair in the biz. I love it.

I must be getting more cynical because I rarely notice hair in games nowadays, unless it’s really awesome, or on characters that I really like that happen to have really great hair, such as Leon from Resident Evil

Or, say, Chrom from Fire Emblem: Awakening.

It was the last three hours of the game that OXM complained about. Oops. I’m sorry. I’ll blame my excitement. We’re still friends, right? I don’t know what I’d do if I lost you! OXM is one of my last hopes for gaming magazines.

Oh, dear. I later let my subscription to OXM run out, probably for some butthurt, petty reason, like them disliking a game or something else that I like. FWIW, they’re still on the shelves, unlike a lot of other game magazines that fell by the wayside.

The game is beautiful, with some gorgeous bloom effects.

Ha, remember when games were overdoing the bloom effect so much that people got annoyed with it?

But like IU, the lipsync is not adjusted for the English dialog. With a less realistic graphic style, however, the cutscenes don’t hurt as much to look at as IU‘s.

Hey, not every Japanese game can be bothered to be lipsynced into English, like Final Fantasy XIII.

Infinite Undiscovery. What the hell kinda name is that?

Tons of my vocabulary comes from games magazines. Terrifyingly, I know what “defenestrate” and its particles mean – but to what end?!

Opening treasure chests gets you experience points? Um… OK, awesome!

I never expected to find this game.

Tri-ACE and Tales Studio are two of the more underrated RPG devs around. And they have more in common than you think.

Star Ocean has very appealing, almost sim-like aspects, but they never intrude upon the RPG gameplay… unlike other games.

Star Ocean: TSS received an anime adaptation. It looked like a typically lame, cheap production from a cash-strapped studio.

I had some… hangups with the mid-2000s era of anime, it seems.

The design of certain menus seems to fight the clarity of the font. This is made worse by the fact that the game is made for HD televisions.