Parents' Guide to

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

By David Wolinsky, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Update for aging RPG is little more than new coat of paint.

Game PlayStation 4 , Windows 2017
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What you will—and won't—find in this game.

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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.

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