Taedium Edax Rerum

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I can’t think of a good title for this Star Ocean: The Last Hope post

Posted by Doug on April 10, 2009

star-ocean-reimiAs I’ve said earlier, Star Ocean: The Last Hope is a good game—I’ve been playing for almost sixty hours at this point, and I have no intention of quitting any time soon.  That being said, there are three things that really detract from the overall quality of the game, and two minor issues that are slightly annoying.  While I will only address the negative in this post, I still feel that the positive in SO:TLH far outweighs the negative, and so the game easily deserves to be considered “good”…but I fear it will never surpass its weaknesses and be worthy of the appellation “great”.

First, the minor issues:

I wish they had left the Japanese audio in as an option—sure, for a North American release, make the default audio language be English, but why not go ahead and put the Japanese language track in as an option?  It can’t take up that much space on the disks (of which there are three to begin with).  I would have appreciated being able to compare the English voice cast to the Japanese voice cast.

Second minor issue: the in-game map is a little lacking.  You cannot see the whole map at once, and you cannot zoom or scroll it, making long-distance navigation a little hit-or-miss sometimes.  This would not have been that difficult to implement.

Okay, the major problems with SO:TLH:

Honestly, I do know why they do this, but, really, why did they feel compelled to make two of the female playable characters costume designs so stripperific?  I’m talking about Myuria and Meracle here.  Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for having female characters in video games be as visually appealing as possible, but giving them ridiculously revealing costumes does not accomplish that.  Not for me.  Really, if I wanted some softcore porn, I’ll go find me some softcore porn.

Second major issue: the well-known bug with the resolution settings of the game, which, if you have your XBox set to 1080i or 1080p, will cause SO:TLH to freeze up at inopportune times (there is no opportune time for a game to lock up).  If this bug is half as prevalent as it seems to be from my lurking around game forums, it should have been caught when they were testing the game.

Third major issue: the targeting system.  In battles, you control one character, choosing where to move and what attacks to use while the other characters are controlled by AI.  For all I can tell, you start each battle targeting the nearest enemy, and as the battle progresses, the enemy you’re targeting shifts in inscrutable patterns, unless you lock your target by pressing in the left analog stick, which will hold the target until it dies.  This wouldn’t be so bad, except there is no way to manually switch targets—that is to say, if you’re targeting the Big Ugly Insectoid Thing on the far left, there is no way to switch your target to the other BUIT who is performing a total mesorectal excision on the party’s very fragile new spellslinger. They should have used the D-pad to switch between the controlled character, and reserved the left and right shoulder buttons for cycling through the enemies.

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