New to the series, but did not disappoint!

User Rating: 9 | Star Ocean: The Last Hope International PS3
I am new to the Star Ocean series and "The Last Hope" is my 1st entry, I'll start off by talking about it. The game starts with a war torn Earth, it's inhabitants setting off into space after the nuclear devastation of their homeworld, the USTA (Universal Science and Technology Administration) is founded in 2065... its purpose? To explore the depths of space and *hopefully* find another planet to call their own. Then the player starts off in the shoes of Edge Maverick, a reckless but motivated young man along with his best friend Reimi Saionji, they are given their first task under the SRF (Space Reconnaissance Force) to explore a local solar system for signs of planets to colonize, on their journey they meet new friends and find something bigger than the universe itself...

Firstly there's the story, which is not too shabby and actually had me motivated to watch each and every cutscene, but it's high frequency of annoying characters, corny dialogue, and cliches lead the story in the wrong direction. It has multiple story arcs for each planet you visit, and then a grand plot, with the sub-plots sometimes connecting or having no relevance at all.

It's soundtrack is really fun with a lot of songs that I loved hearing "time after time" but sadly their implementation was poor, with "sad songs" in happy places or the other way around or just songs in the wrong place entirely (insert Welch's theme).

The gameplay is absolutely top notch, with a simple gameplay design that is fun to master and adapt, but never gets old.
The gameplay is completely real time (unless you access a menu) and you can either attack head on with any of your 9 characters, use their special arts and symbology to unleash devastating attacks, unleash Rage, blindside your opponents and hit them where they're weak or sit back and support. There are lots of possibilities for each and every battle with your bonus board making it even more unique.

The visuals are somewhat mediocre, with constant screen tearing and lagging in large scale battles, the character designs IMO are somewhat annoying, and the Edge seriously looks like the guy from Team America (they move alike too, with those static faces, blinking or not blinking at odd moments, unnatural lip/joint movements).

The majority of the characters in this game will wreak havoc upon your head, making you want to claw out your eyes and rip off your ears whenever you hear them speak (Lymle, Meracle, Serah, Reimi, Edge, 90% of the supporting cast) then ridiculously corny dialogue (Crowe, Arumat, Bacchus) and then the small majority who are actually likable (Faize, Myuria, Giotto, Lutea). Well, that pretty much sums up the characters of Star Ocean: The Last Hope.

The replayability of this game is off the charts, with one of the lengthy-est platinum trophies I know of, vast worlds to explore, tons of quests to explore, battle trophies, creating all the items, bunny racing, *gladitor* esque battles in the colosseum and much more.

Pros :
- Amazing gameplay
- Exciting soundtrack
- Fun story
- Tons of things to do
- Nice scenery

- Poor implementation of soundtrack
- Annoying/corny characters & dialogue
- Visual issues, such as screen tearing and lag
- Little (if any) character development

Overall: Star Ocean: The Last Hope is an awesome game that I recommend to anyone wanting a lengthy and scenic stroll about the universe, and is willing to overlook a few flaws. I guarantee if you can Star Ocean will be an enjoyable experience *given you like the battle system*.

4.5 Stars out of 5.