Customer Review

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Top marks for battles, as for everything else...?, 15 Jun. 2010
By 
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Star Ocean: The Last Hope International (PS3) (Video Game)
Star Ocean 3 was one of the highlights for PS2 RPGs for me. Although having a poor storyline, it was fast, fluid, had some cool characters and a nice learning curve with hundreds of hours of gameplay.

Some would say that this game is sort of similar. The gameplay is certainly polished, and there is a typically 'Star Ocean' colourful cast of characters. The story is pretty lackluster, and I (and i'm sure you would) find 'liking' most of the cast quite difficult with some characters ranging from rock-bottom depressing to listen to, and others having such unbelievably annoying voices that you'll be muting the screen every few minutes.. >_>

...that said, there are many comic relief areas in the game and it feels far more lighthearted overall than the heavy seriousness of some of the dialogue in other Star Oceans.

The battle system is this games main seller. Nine playable characters, each with individual abilities and styles - some that are more 'beginner friendly' than others. There are four difficulty options to be played/unlocked. The harder it is, the more damage enemies give and the longer it takes to kill them. Your choices are: fight close range, long distance archery, magic, or using Blindsides.

"What are Blindsides?"
This is the new aspect of Star Ocean. In a 'Dragon Ball Z' fasheeon, your character will squat down when holding down the 'O' button. After about a second, you are a ready to blindside. What this means is, when an enemy is targeting you, you have the opportunity to dodge the attack, run behind them, and maul them from behind. This not only whacks out the damage, but also looks stunning! In different situations, blindsides can either save your neck or send you to your doom.

If you hold down 'O' for to long, your character gets so tense that they seize up and become temporarily stunned, leaving you wide open for a bruising. Blindside the 'wrong attack' (if you're being targeted with red crosshairs rather than flashing ones) and your enemy will spot your attempt, counter your attack and make you look like a complete idiot. Fun, fun, fun. In addition to blindsides, there's the old favorite, the bonus board.

"What is the bonus board?"
Fourteen blank tiles on the right of the screen allow for aiding your battles/training. Similar to the last game, there are a number of benefits you can recieve, however, in SO4 you have to meet very specific requirements in battle to get these rewards:
+ %Experience
+ %Fol (currency)
+ %HP/MP resoration
+ SP (points for raising abilities)

These are the two most important new additions to battles. The only other thing to point out is the sheer amount of things to do. I would personally say there is too much. There are 100 battle trophies (not to be confused with PSN trophies, but they do link) PER CHARACTER! So that's 900 battle trophies to collect O_o

Some are rediculously mundane and show no respect for you, the gamer, whatsoever. For example 'stay airborn for 60minutes' or 'run x number of km in battle'. I don't know what the designers have hoped to achieve by putting things like this in... Okay, some might argue that gaming in general has a 'pointless' quality to it, but for those of us who are playing for enjoyment... well, do you think jumping up and down in battle for over an hour is fun? This is why the game sort of falls flat. There are far too many 'pointless' tasks outside and inside of battle. It's as if they are trying to detract us from the poorly concieved story by giving us brain-numbingly boring tasks to sap our brain cells.

Sorry to leave this review on a low, but it has just hit me how badly some aspects of this game treat the player. So as a summary:
Battle System = excellent and fun.
Everything else = pretty much an abhoration.
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4.1 out of 5 stars (54 customer reviews)
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