Star Ocean Series Retrospective

Tri-Ace's upcoming Star Ocean: The Last Hope jumps back to the beginning of the series to describe how humans made their way to space. We thought we'd also travel back in time to look at how this series began--on a little system called the Super Famicom, way back in 1996. For those who are new to...

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Tri-Ace's upcoming Star Ocean: The Last Hope jumps back to the beginning of the series to describe how humans made their way to space. We thought we'd also travel back in time to look at how this series began--on a little system called the Super Famicom, way back in 1996. For those who are new to the series, The Last Hope takes place before the events of the original game, so it makes a good starting point if you're curious about this space saga. There are several other games in the series to check out as well, and we're here to provide a quick overview in this series retrospective.

Star Ocean
Released:
July 19, 1996 Japan
System: Super Famicom
Remake: Star Ocean: The First Departure
System: PlayStation Portable
Released: October 21, 2008 North America

Science fiction fans will recognize that Star Ocean borrows many elements from Star Trek, given that some of the developers were huge fans of the show. This game was not released outside of Japan until the remake came in 2008. The original Star Ocean follows Roddick Farrence and his friend Millie Chliette, members of the Fellpool species from the planet Roak. Fellpool look similar to earthlings, except that they have tails and pointy ears. Members of their village start contracting a strange disease that turns them into stone, so the two young Fellpool decide to go off in search of a cure. They eventually meet up with Ronyx J. Kenny, captain of the Terran Alliance starship Calnus, and Ilia Silvestri, earthlings who beam down Star Trek-style and offer their assistance.

Guts?! Ahh... 1996.

Star Ocean's battle system stands out with its real-time, fast-paced battles in which you control one character (at a time) in your party. Another feature that stands out in the series is "private actions," which can change the storyline depending on how your characters interact with one another. Crafting is also a major part of the series and a great way to pass the time while benefiting from new items. These features carry over from one game to the next, with minor changes, so once you've played one, the rest should feel familiar.

Less guts, more action!!

Star Ocean: The Second Story
Released: May 31, 1999 North America
System: PlayStation
Remake: Star Ocean: Second Evolution
System: PlayStation Portable
Released: January 20, 2009 North America

The original Claude Kenni.

The Second Story was the first Star Ocean game to come to North America, taking place 20 years after the original game. It begins on planet Expel, and you can choose to play as Claude C. Kenny (son of Ronyx) or Rena Lanford (a Nedian, which is another pointy-eared race). Claude somehow gets himself teleported to this underdeveloped planet, and he arrives just in time to save Rena from getting pummeled by a wild beast. A bizarre globe had landed on her planet, so the two of them decide to head in that direction in hopes of finding some answers. Claude needs a way home, and Rena wants to find out more about her past.

It may be tough to track down a used PlayStation copy, but the remake includes new content that is worth checking out on your PSP.

Claude C. Kenny... with a Y.

Star Ocean: Blue Sphere
Released: June 28, 2001 Japan
System: Game Boy Color

Note: Don't read this if you don't want to know any details after The Second Story.

Good ol' Game Boy Color graphics.

The one game that will probably never be seen again (but you never know!), Star Ocean: Blue Sphere was a direct sequel to The Second Story and was released only in Japan on the Game Boy Color. The story takes place two years after The Second Story, and Claude and Rena are now living on Earth. All the characters from the previous game have moved on, but Ernest and Opera manage to get into some trouble when their ship crash-lands on planet Edifice. There's something fishy going on, but it's unfortunate that most of us will never find out what, unless you can read Japanese.

Star Ocean: Till the End of Time
Released: August 31, 2004
System: PlayStation 2

Jumping ahead about 400 years in the Star Ocean timeline will bring you to Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, which follows Fayt Leingod and begins on Hyda IV. Fayt and his childhood friend Sophia Esteed are on a family vacation when a hostile alien barges in on their lovely holiday. Fayt is separated from his family and friend and lands on an underdeveloped planet (notice the trend here?) and must find a way to reunite with his loved ones. The battle system doesn't evolve too much over the series, but in this game, instead of random battles, you can see the enemies onscreen and run into them to initiate a fight. Till the End of Time is worth a look since this is the game that wraps up the series. The developers have stated that the story can't continue from here, so here's a game where you can get some closure--assuming you aren't completely confused by the twist.

Back in 3D.

This game made it to the greatest-hits list for the PlayStation 2, so if you're lucky, you can probably find a copy floating around somewhere.

Star Ocean: The Last Hope
Release: February 24, 2009
System: Xbox 360

Fans may be wondering why it's not on a Sony console, but the developers have stated that there are currently no plans bring it to the PlayStation 3, though that doesn't mean never. Regardless, The Last Hope goes back in time to when humans messed up big time and nuked the entire planet. The remaining survivors band together and look toward space because Earth cannot sustain them after so much destruction. You play as Edge Maverick, a member of the Space Reconnaissance Force, whose mission it is to explore new planets and find a new home for humankind. The Last Hope makes a few minor adjustments to the battle system, private actions, and item creation; however, it's really just more of the same only better.

And now in glorious HD.

For more info on the upcoming Star Ocean: The Last Hope, please see our latest hands-on as well as our video preview(or see below). If you want to know what the developers have to say, take a look at the latest Q&A. Be sure to come back soon and look for our full review when the game is released on February 24.

Feel free to leave your thoughts about Star Ocean below. Let us know what you love about the series, where you hope it's going and whether or not you think the name "Edge Maverick" is totally awesome.

Discussion

159 comments
deathknightleo
deathknightleo

i would like to play star ocean the las hope on ps3. i was playing it on the 360 but my 360 kept freezeing up and other things. + i hate to have to switch disc's just to go back to another town wtf. that is kinda crappy haveing to go back disc's to do other things at the end of the game. i really hope this goes to ps3 for the one disc...

Lucas-Kane
Lucas-Kane

Let me ask ... Is there any Version to be created for the PS2 Game ... I hope that it will be ....

Zathic
Zathic

@MC_Firebat - Ugh dot hack? I'd prefer something a little less..... bad :P

bleach1st
bleach1st

I'd sooo play this... if it was on PS3 ;)

MC_Firebat
MC_Firebat

what that guy said. I love my PS3. But I want to play some good RPG's damnit. I can only play fallout for so long. Anyone want more dot hack games?

IMagnusI
IMagnusI

I'm sure SOtLH will eventually come to PS3 as both systems are badly in need of good rpg's. One of the reasons i got a ps3 is because sony tends to have alot of good rpg's. I digress, in short there is alot of money to be made on both sides of the ball with so many fps games.

1425678786655
1425678786655

star ocean the last hope is an amazing game... definently the rpg for the xbox until FF comes

SyedMoeed
SyedMoeed

wow man thats one RPG game history....nice..

vash101
vash101

i want to try out the new game but i am broke so i just get to watch it

CloudXentar
CloudXentar

I agree with z827. Graphics are important but should not be the main thing the game has, especially RPG where story, presentation, gameplay and overall atmosphere counts first. And the character interaction which is always important. Many developers should check out Namco Bandai's ''Tales of'' series, especially Vesperia to see how the things should be done. And yes I'm thinking of great English dub too.

Lord_Havoc_
Lord_Havoc_

And this is why l will not play this game untill it's on Sony platform, l absolutely loathe Microsoft and anyhing thats acompanied with them, so xBox 360, UP YOURS!

nova-dragon
nova-dragon

I'd love to see a Star Ocean game for ps3. I hate when games like this only come out for one system.

ricasdo
ricasdo

one of hte best games rpg ever made

game-junkie
game-junkie

I might try this one....seems interesting

ayhokkuu
ayhokkuu

i think what he means is that gameplay and storyline are more important than graphics. graphics may be a lot, but it's still nearly at the bottom of the list. besides, i still love my snes. but it is kinda anoying when graphics are hard to understand and comprehend or when the cutscene graphics are the same as the gameplay graphics but up close (which looks terrible). but i have all of these games and there all quite enjoyable, yet it takes a little while to get used to them (the game picks up at about lvl 10 so don't give out on the game when you first start.

irlux
irlux

z827 how can you say that graphics does not matter?? Graphics matters a lot, otherwise we will still be playing snes, do not say foolish things like that.

z827
z827

The ironic thing is that the gameplay is generally the same.Select characters to use in the battle itself,fighting in a certain amount of land etc. But with enchanced graphics and all...but then again,RPG gamers like myself should know well by now that graphics is nothing in RPG,the real thing is gameplay,storyline,music and characters you know and love...oddly enough,all of the Star Ocean is about accidently going into a Underdeveloped Planet and finding something sinister in there.

Kiriyama12
Kiriyama12

I haven't played one before and i call myself an RPG enthusiast, such a shame, maybe i'll get the latest X360 version it looks really cool...

Amnesiac23
Amnesiac23 moderator

Edge Maverick...this is why I would MUCH rather play the Japanese version...

twilightlullaby
twilightlullaby

Wooow. I've been wanting to play this forever and know I KNOW I have to get a copy of one of these games. And yes, the name "Edge Maverick" is pretty cool.

Penguins20
Penguins20

Ahem...*You play as EDGE MAVERICK*....That is all. Other than the fact that New Hope would seem to have exactly the same plot as all other star ocean games (based solely on this preview, mind).

8smokes
8smokes

This looks like a pretty interesting series, though that's probably a big understatement.

Fyuu
Fyuu

last hope has a great story

bishopphoto
bishopphoto

this game has some potential, though I know I will never play it ever, as there are too many other better games I am behind on.

moda00zz
moda00zz

star ocean the last hope got 8 out of 10 in ign.com :(

LeoGoBezerk
LeoGoBezerk

Till the end of time is actually one of my favorite game. I hope that The last hope will be with the same atmosphere and everything because last rpgs on xbox not so enjoyable as it was on ps2, dont know why.

acerpg007
acerpg007

I always liked the Star Ocean RPG series, and i know the developers of this game is the same as the FF series.. now im marveled at the way they remaked the past games to the new consoles, i wish they'll make a remake of FF7 and 8 at xbox360 or ps3 consoles..

uglypinkmoose
uglypinkmoose

i didn't like star ocean till the end of time... and animated RPG's are totally my thing so i dont understand why its considered so great... the story didn't suck me in.... it was even cheesier than most jap RPG's which would be extreamly cheesy... i didn't care much for most the characters... and the dificulty went up way to fast... not saying it was to hard but the lvling got anoying.... the battle system also seemed crappy to me and i love "Radiata stories" which has pretty much the same battle system so i dont get it.... i thought maybe the game started slow... but i got pretty far and was still forcing myself to play...

KwiteShi
KwiteShi

It all looks awesome, I just hope the difficulty levels can live up to 4D and that the post-game play is as massive as I'm used to. Yeah, "Edge Maverick" will go down as one of the most desperately funny "young hero" names of all time. Did they focus group that or did some marketing guy just tell them the main hero had to be "edgy" and do things his own way?

Venom_fx86
Venom_fx86

AWESOME!! I've never played any star ocean before, but this one is amazing! Final Fantasy Graphics + "Tales of" Battle Sistem OMG!!!

fullemeatal
fullemeatal

FINALLY!! @ enzo2606 you won't be.. but if i were you, i'd try first SO:Till the End of Time [ps2], so you'll get the hang of it. its my second best rpg game of all time after Valkyrie Profile II : Silmeria.

enzo2606
enzo2606

I pre-ordered this game... I've never played any star ocean before... but I think and hope this is not going to disappoint me... First time I'd play a RGP game..... To be honest, I'm going to try this game due to the fighting system in real time... Who knows... maybe I become a RGP fan after playing this game....

Raad78
Raad78

@ibanezdropd I just don't know what is it with this game, it is as you said, the art style, but it is so more captivating than the other games, ease one of the most beautiful games in 2009, migth even win a title for arts, or graphics.

simonsworld
simonsworld

this game looks sensational (the most modern one) if this is star ocean: the last hope then am delighted, roll on feb24th

Kenji_Masamune
Kenji_Masamune

Sony needs to re-think their stance on 3rd party titles and how they don't shell out cash to secure them. Yes dumping money into inhouse game studios is all fine and dandy, but god of war 3 is not > assassin's creed, all jrpgs, dmc4, re5, tekken, gta4, ace combat.

ibanezdropd
ibanezdropd

@raad78 I even put into words how pretty this game looks. I don't know if it's looks better than FFXIII, because they seem to have different art styles. But yes, sar ocean looks simply amazing. After I play though The Last hope. I want to try to get through the others as I have not playing any of them, but am very ionterested.

Raad78
Raad78

I don't know if it is just me but this verion of Star Ocean actually looks more beautiful than FFXIII. What are your opinions my fellow gamers?

Raad78
Raad78

Just to let it clear, I have the 3 consoles of this generation, and I like all of them. Although 360 has its hardwear issues, it is a good console, ancd it deserves good titles. What drives me carzy is to see teh PS3 going completely under used in processing power and size, when it comes to games. I want peace, not console war!

Raad78
Raad78

To Romant1x Well, I happen to agree with you man. It is ok to have FPS and other games on the ps3, BUT NOT TO HAVE RPGS, what a crap!! I keep wondering how cool it would be to have an RPG game that fully utilizes PS3's supposed power. Imagine a stelar 50 gigabyte game specifficaly writen for PS3. Please Sony wake up!!! I played Oblivion and I found it to be ok: gorgeous graphics, big scenario, nice weapons, races, ..., but when I realize it is a DVD game, man I get sick. Just like you, I both PS3 because of huge games expectation, with a lot more to offer, but no, Sony keeps making this dvd sized games. You see, I wouldn't mind to see this games going multiplataform if they were proportionally produced: let's take FFXIII for an example: the ps3 version should be bigger, at least 3 times bigger, and with more interaction, possibilities and enhanced physics. And this should be a standard for all multiplataform games on the market, like GTAIV for example. Imagine: if that game is already awsome, remember it is a DVD sized game, not a BD Cell Processor sized game. Is there anything we can do about it? I don't know, maybe creating a specific forum with PS3 users only, just to gather strengh an ideas, then, game developers and Sony migth start to notice that if they make games like this, games that every hard core games wants, they start making this more refined games for PS3, and then, of course that it eould end up selling a lot more consoles.

Quinzark
Quinzark

i will most certainly be playing this

Saije
Saije

@Romant1x I just read your comment and it brought a tear of joy to my eye. Its good to see there are people out there who can honestly admit to being selfish, ignorant, jackasses. I applaud you sir.