Star Ocean - The Last Hope - 4K & Full HD Remaster

Game review by
David Wolinsky, Common Sense Media
Star Ocean - The Last Hope - 4K & Full HD Remaster Game Poster Image
Update for aging RPG is little more than new coat of paint.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Characters fight for what they feel is a noble cause; plot also tackles subjects of racial integration through a sci-fi lens.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Constant focus on combat and the not fully positive portrayal of female characters detract from story's aims.

Ease of Play

Despite seemingly simple controls, variety, and depth of strategy, the menu navigation required only gets more complicated as you progress.


Combat usually consists of magic spells, ranged attacks with weapons (swords, lances, bombs, laser guns, etc.). Blood is very occasionally seen but isn't excessive.


Some female characters wear revealing clothing that exposes cleavage, exaggerated proportions, while camera angles occasionally pan on jiggling breasts, under skirts.


Some suggestive dialogue, occasional mild profanity (e.g., "bastard").


Since it's a remake of an earlier entry in a 30-year-old gaming franchise, players may be motivated to investigate, purchase other titles.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

During one scene, a character is shown intoxicated as she mentions she's "not quite sober" and she "drank too much."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Star Ocean - The Last Hope - 4K & Full HD Remaster is a downloadable Japanese role-playing game (RPG) set in a sci-fi universe. It's also a graphical update of a game that originally came out in 2009. As a Japanese RPG, the game is primarily all about combat to level up your characters to gain more skills and fight tougher enemies, using swords, guns, and magic to kill them, although there's very little blood and gore. Many of the women you encounter in the game dress suggestively, and the camera will intentionally pan to highlight different parts of their anatomy. Additionally, there's suggestive dialogue, mostly demeaning to women, and in one scene, a character is shown to be inebriated.

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What's it about?

In STAR OCEAN - THE LAST HOPE - 4K & FULL HD REMASTER, Earth has been decimated by World War III, and now humanity must turn to the stars in search of a new home. Although it's the fourth installment in the series, this game is a prequel to the original, showing how Earth escalated tensions, triggering intergalactic use of weapons of mass destruction. With everyone in the galaxy believing the apocalypse was upon them, a ceasefire was reached while everyone was picking up the pieces to see what remained. The countries that survived have joined together to form the Greater Unified Nations and have turned their eyes skyward. You explore the galaxy on your quest, make allies and enemies among the alien races you encounter, and uncover a danger so great that it threatens all of creation.

Is it any good?

Unfortunately, for all its efforts to update a decade-old game, it's hard to overlook how poorly this 2009 RPG hangs together. While it's always tempting to compare and contrast this older game with its descendants, which is usually unfair, it's actually pretty tough to do in Star Ocean - The Last Hope - 4K & Full HD Remaster's case, because Japanese RPGs are, in many respects, a thing of the past. They simply aren't being made anymore, and The Last Hope is a reminder of why: With bland characters, a stilted story, and an emphasis on "grinding" (requiring players to do tons and tons of battles to level up to then face tougher enemies), this game doesn't stand out from the pack. Even if you're able to overlook that, there are other dated elements like its treatment of women. With all the battling you'll be doing, you'll only grow more and more embarrassed of how the camera pans over your female characters' butts -- or scoff when non-player characters encourage you to "check out the girls." This game is from another era and it shows in a lot of ways.

Another detraction is the game's many systems to manage, especially how you're just thrown in at the beginning and expected to handle an intimidating number of menus, character choices, and combat flows. Some of this can be side-stepped by figuring out that you can change how leveling affects each character. Instead of distributing skill points like most RPGs, you can elect to choose which ones you want to be boosted by default. Two of the three styles have their own perks, but those are only unlocked if you know how to use them, meaning all of these nuances can be meaningless. Simply put, it takes a lot of work and homework just to get your footing. That's mind-boggling, considering how much of this game is spent in combat, fighting the same handful of enemies over and over and over. Japanese RPGs have always been an acquired taste, but even with the graphical updates, The Last Hope is very much stuck in the past.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in games and all media. When does combat help further a narrative and when does it not? Are the "rules" different for different media? How would this game be different if there was much less combat? 

  • How do you think the depiction of female characters in this game makes a young girl versus a young boy feel? Is it OK to let people play this game, or to just write it off as inappropriate? Why might these attitudes be different in Japan, where this game was created? What does that mean for figuring out your own feelings on it?

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