User Reviews: Star Ocean 4 - The Last Hope (International) PS3 User Review

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Star Ocean 4 - The Last Hope (International) User Review

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Graphics:

 

8.0

Gameplay:

 

8.0

Sound:

 

7.5

Control:

 

7.5

Replay Value:

 

6.5

Overall Rating:       7.5

 

 

Online Gameplay:

Not Rated

Star Ocean 4, looks like a pretty typical Space Opera JRPG. Tri-Ace succeeds in producing a game that will satisfy many lovers of JRPGs.

Overall, I like this game, it's not without it's problems. Nothing that is enough to stop me enjoying it though. Let's talk about the upside first.

The characters are pretty standard. We have our Hero, Edge, and his childhood sweetheart/friend Reimi. Then there is Faize the aloof alien friend, and Lymle the slightly off-base Loli. The full list rounds out with Bacchus, Meracle, Sarah, Myuria, Arumat and Crowe. Character voices are mostly alright, though Sarah can grate a bit, Lymle's voice is annoying until you realize that it's actually right for the character. Japanese audio is available as well if you desire.

Graphically the game is an upgrade from the Xbox360 version. The game is vibrant and lively, although the color palette can be a little rough on the eyes at times. Character models are good, and Myuria is positively eye-popping. I was mildly disappointed that changing a character's armor did not alter their appearance. The game's cutscenes are nicely rendered. The graphical style of the environments often involves highly contrasting color choices that make the environment look a bit cartoony such as inside the space craft. I wouldn't say that the game looks like a PS2 title, but this style certainly hearkens back to a time when games were colorful and did not try for full realism in all things.

Sound is good. The music is a little 'typical' of Space Opera RPGs. Voice are generally good, although Sarah's voice will grate on many.

Combat is not turn based. If you've played Star Ocean before you know what to expect. You control the leader and can move around the battle as much as you wish. Everyone else is on auto-pilot. You can switch characters at will, and carry out specific actions as much as you want though. Combat is presented in a very turn-based manner with your enemies arrayed before you and your comrades. A word of advice, learn to blindside your enemies. Tri-Ace added the Bonus Board for the PS3 release. This makes Combat a bit more entertaining because you want to build the bonus board to gain additional multipliers on experience points, money, skill points and HP recovery at the end of a battle. If you build a good set of bonuses you can be earning double experience, or extra gold each time you enter battle. Beware though, if your leader is critically hit, it breaks the bonus board losing you half of your bonuses. If your leader is repeatedly critically hit in one battle, you can lose the entire board ad have to re-build it. This extra element of strategy during battle adds a dimension to the combat. You will want to level grind, but with a properly populated bonus board, leveling should not present a problem.

In addition to the basic elements of a JRPG, there are towns to explore, shops to purchase things at, and side quests. You can revisit places you've already been simply by traveling there in your ship, the Calnus. Some environments cannot be revisited, but it's clear during game play which these are. There are numerous 'private actions' some of which are cut-scenes for you to enjoy and some are interactive. Item creation is a element of the game, though it's not necessary to get through the game. The private actions you view and the choices you make will affect which personal endings you see when you finish.

Save points are few and far between in some places which can be an issue. The game is not too difficult, though I am not playing on the most difficult setting. If you keep your characters properly leveled up, you really should have no problems.

Now the downside. This game has some freezing issues. It seems like after 3 or so hours, the game will lock up and you have to use the PS button to exit. It had them on the 360, and they have not been fixed. The game is also particularly sensitive to data corruption of it's installation file. In fact I think that it freezes occasionally, causing corruption of it's own files. I ended up reformatting my PS3's HDD before I could play this game through. It froze so often that it was unplayable for me. I'm glad I persisted, it is an enjoyable game.

Enemies are repetitive clones of each other with slightly different colors. You'll see the same basic enemies on all the planets with only a few changes and a new color. After a while the sheer number of battles becomes a grind. Although the Bonus Board and your character's special attacks help break up the monotony.

The game's plot is a little fragmented as you spend your time completing seemingly separate stories on each planet. Of course they are interconnected, but it's not like there is one story driving you through the entire game.

Is it worth playing? Yes, if you like a good JRPG, especially in the Space Opera genre, then this is for you. It's no Xenosaga, but it's still an entertaining science fiction JRPG. The graphics are petty good, the sound is OK, the game play while not turn based is good.

On the downside, there are freezing issues for some, the story isn't as strong as it could be, and the variety of enemies is lacking.

Replay value isn't there for me. I've worked hard on this game, but it isn't currently dragging me back for another play through. All in all the game is 'good', but not outstanding.

If you like JRPGs and Science Fiction based story lines in RPGs, then this may be worth your money.

This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.

User review by Highlander

5/19/2010 3:15:02 PM

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Comments (18 posts)

jdt1981
Wednesday, May 19, 2010 @ 4:26:55 PM
Reply

Wow those freezing issues sound horrendous, I'm not sure if I could put up with that. Thanks for this review.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Highlander
Thursday, May 20, 2010 @ 1:02:38 AM

The freezing issue was very bad before I reformatted. There was some low level corruption that was probably caused by a improper power down at some point (during a storm no doubt). After the reformat, the freezing was tolerable with it only locking up every three hours or so. Before I formatted the disc, I couldn't play past certain parts of the game at all. Like I said though, I think that some of the problem was my own PS3. The game does have it's own freezing problems, and they are tolerable.

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jdt1981
Thursday, May 20, 2010 @ 2:40:38 PM

Yeah that would cause corruption if the power goes out in the middle of saving a game or updating the firmware. That's why I have my PS3 plugged into an uninterruptible power supply.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Highlander
Friday, May 21, 2010 @ 10:24:29 AM

I *have* to get a couple of UPS for the house...

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maxpontiac
Wednesday, May 19, 2010 @ 6:22:27 PM
Reply

Nice review Highlander. Might give this one shot a few months.

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sawao_yamanaka
Wednesday, May 19, 2010 @ 6:34:01 PM
Reply

Very good review. I agree with the issues and am very glad I didn't have to reformat my hdd while trying to finish it.

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coverton341
Thursday, May 20, 2010 @ 10:55:39 AM
Reply

Ugh! I really do want to play this game but unfortunately the freezing issues are a major downfall for me. I don't know if it is a streak of impatience I have or what but if a game is constantly freezing on me I will just pop it out and not play it. Something I can't see being good for an RPG.

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Highlander
Thursday, May 20, 2010 @ 2:48:03 PM

If you can remember to save and keep your sessions shorter than 3 hours you should have very minimal problems. Any actual corruption on your hard disc will magnify the issue like crazy though. On the other hand, at least I found out that there was real corruption and corrected it before the thing decided to YLOD because the HDD wasn't readable.

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Masry_XI
Thursday, May 20, 2010 @ 11:03:18 AM
Reply

i played the game for over 67 hours and it didnt freeze on me not even once.
but i agree with you man , i really didnt like sarah's voice.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Highlander
Thursday, May 20, 2010 @ 2:43:20 PM

The freezing thing is weird. I read all over many different forums and there was really no rhyme or reason to it. Generally the folks having the issue had no problems with any other game.

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Masry_XI
Thursday, May 20, 2010 @ 6:32:58 PM

i Know i did however have some kind of a glitch with the game , whenever the game is loading , there is like a line at the left of the TV of the game environment, i dont know how to explain it , its like part of the game environment sticks to the tv on the far left side of the TV when the game is loading , but during the playing of the game itself , there was no problem .
I really liked the game though after playing FF XIII i still think star ocean was a better game , just the combat was a lot of fun , yes recycling the monsters was a lot , but the same is a fact with all RPG .
But that was a real nice review , i gave the game an 8.7 in my review though :D

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Highlander
Thursday, May 20, 2010 @ 10:22:28 PM

I read your review, it was a good one.

On the score, for me anything 75% or better is a good game worth purchasing.

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johnld
Friday, May 21, 2010 @ 12:18:01 AM
Reply

Great review Highlander, just one thing though. I believe that the bonus board was also in the 360 version. thats because i saw it shatter time after time when i watched my brother play it. I was planning to pick this up but since i already saw my brother play it, i cant justify picking it up full price. Theres one thing that i saw from my brothers playthrough that i want to know if its on the ps3 version. I noticed that at some parts of the game, my brother wouldnt have any problem taking out enemies but the next fight, he was completely out classed.

On a side note, i hate how my mind keeps trying to figure everything beforehand when playing games. it kinda ruins it for myself. not even halfway through the game, i figured out what was going to happen in the end. it was a good game though even if i only watched it played.

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johnld
Friday, May 21, 2010 @ 12:26:41 AM

by the way, i'm glad the japanese voices are in the international version. I didnt mind serah at all. what got to me was all the damn M'kay from that little girl.

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Highlander
Friday, May 21, 2010 @ 2:55:01 AM

Thanks for the update. I don't have a 360 so I can't compare. I remembered that several things were added for the PS3 release, and for some reason, the bonus board came to mind as one of them.

I've seen that sudden jump in the difficulty of enemies a few times as well. It wasn't very frequent, and usually seemed to be when the game got tired of me having a full bonus board.

Last edited by Highlander on 5/21/2010 2:56:17 AM

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pyro117
Friday, May 21, 2010 @ 8:34:58 AM
Reply

I have not experienced the freezing or data corruption that you are referring to. I am 50+ hours in to the game (at the last planet) and I have not had any game freezes or corruption of the installation files - not yet at least. I am using the PS3 slim and not one of the older models - I wonder if that is a difference?

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Highlander
Friday, May 21, 2010 @ 10:23:35 AM

I hate to say it, but that was a trend among the comments I read elsewhere. There were occasions when a slim owner complained. But I'm almost certain their problem was actual HDD corruption other than anything the game was doing.

I have also found that if you save frequently, the game does not seem to lockup as often. I've also wondered whether it might have something to do with a PSN timeout? I must try playing while logged out of PSN.

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Mog
Wednesday, April 13, 2011 @ 10:33:01 PM
Reply

This game was fantastic, one of the best parts was that it was so colorful! (along with the story and gameplay)

But overall i loved it except for the voice acting, that was terrible. I just played the game with japanese voices and english subtitles, it sounds much better that way.

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