Star Ocean: The Last Hope HD warps onto Steam

Star Ocean: The Last Hope

It’s a sign of the times that the PC debut of a JRPG series as venerable as Star Ocean isn’t met with enormous fanfare. We’re long past the days when Japanese publishers thought of the PC as a strange and distant frontier, and now we’re seeing more and more titles released in parallel with consoles.

It’s for that reason, perhaps, that PC gamers can now play Star Ocean: The Last Hope, fully remastered in ultra-HD. Part of Square Enix’s plans to fill in the blanks of the PS4 release calendar with a few games from the past generation, it seems to have spread to PC just as a matter of course. It’s just a shame they picked this particular Star Ocean to introduce PC gamers to the sci-fi/fantasy RPG series.

If The Last Hope has one thing really going for it, it’s the combat. Tri-Ace are a studio famous for their exciting and non-standard JRPG mechanics. In this case, it’s a blend of third-person hack n’ slash and squad tactics, encouraging you to switch control between multiple characters. One especially nice touch about this particular game is that it lets you switch out active party members for your bench-warmers at any point, even mid combat, meaning that a full wipe isn’t necessarily the end of a fight.

Sadly, good combat probably isn’t enough to carry the game. Star Ocean: The Last Hope was notorious even at the time for its awkward writing, leaden English voicework and some utterly cringeworthy scenes that somehow manage to combine every single awful anime trope imaginable and mash them into one horrifying nightmare blend. And I say this as a regular watcher of anime, Crunchyroll subscription and all.

Plus, the protagonist is named Edge Maverick. You just can’t make it up.

Still, even though their choice of game was weird (Resonance of Fate HD next, please – tri-Ace’s best, in my opinion), the high-definitionizing seems to have done the game good, with environments looking significantly improved, and combat gameplay feeling significantly nicer thanks to the faster loading into and out of the battle screen, as well as the upgrade to 60fps, as opposed to the wildly fluctuating performance of the original console release.

Still, my personal advice is that if you’re looking for an Extremely Anime JRPG to play with a real-time/action-oriented combat engine, you’re far better off wishlisting Tales of Berseria, the PC release of which seems to have flown oddly under the radar.

Star Ocean: The Last Hope is out on Steam now for £16/$20, minus a 10% launch discount

24 Comments

  1. TheAngriestHobo says:

    Something about that header image reminds me of Thunderbirds.

    • durrbluh says:

      Probably has something to do with both series involving dead-eyed marionettes flailing about in a semblance of “how a human would act, probably?”

  2. Person of Interest says:

    Thanks for your thoughtful news blurbs today, Dominic. I’m learning a lot about game genres I’ve been too intimidated to dive into.

    • SaintAn says:

      If you’re going to start Star Ocean I recommend starting from the first one’s remake on PSP (or PSP on PC) called Star Ocean First Departure and working your way through the series. It’s a masterpiece and one of my favorite games, plus it’s also the best of the SO series. All the games are contained stories, but they’re all linked with characters or their family members and random references.

      I actually had just got SO First Departure and was just testing to see if it worked before doing some other stuff and ended up playing it for a week nonstop with only bathroom breaks and sleep breaks. It’s so good and deserves to be everyone’s first entry into the series. I also recommend going in blind without knowing anything about the game like I did.

      • vorador says:

        Star Ocean: First Departure and Star Ocean: Second Evolution are PSP remakes of the first two games and really good titles.

        Then you can get Star Ocean 3. Either on its original form or the digital “PS2 Classic” version for PS4.

        And thats it. SO4 had pretty good combat but everything else was bad, and SO5 i heard was decent, but very limited in scope and budget. And it tanked badly so the franchise is dead ATM.

        • Ashabel says:

          Integrity and Faithlessness sold better than The Last Hope. Not by much, mind you, but it hardly “tanked badly”. It sold within the same scope as the rest of the franchise, and within the scope of its glaringly limited budget.

          They also released a Star Ocean mobile game a year after it, so evidently it’s not particularly dead.

          • vorador says:

            In what world sold better? Because SO5 sold less than half a million. In Japan in less than a month it was at clearance sale price.

            In comparison, SO4 sold 1.5 million between 360 and the later PS3 port.

          • Ashabel says:

            In a world where you don’t pull numbers out of thin air. There is easily available data online that indicates Star Ocean 4 sold 800K copies across its entire 9-year lifespan.

            There is similarly data available online that Star Ocean 4 sold all of 230K copies in Japan across its entire lifespan, with 166K copies being sold in the first month. Star Ocean 5 sold 175 copies in the first month.

            Stop inventing numbers. Their sales are roughly the same.

  3. Spuzzell says:

    I watched a bit of the linked Youtube vid, and I’m fairly sure I’m now on some sort of register.

    Hard pass on this one for me.

  4. Towerxvi says:

    Yeah, when I saw this on steam I was curious, but “Edge Maverick” was when I noped out during preliminary investigations.

    • Werthead says:

      Indeed. Ironically, I’d have been more tempted if the name had been Maverick Edge, which just scans better.

    • 5parrowhawk says:

      I see “Edge Maverick” and raise you “Katana Faraway”. No kidding.

      The parallels between Project Sylpheed and this Star Ocean are striking: surprisingly good combat (Sylpheed turned out to be a pretty good Wing Commander-analogue), soulless animesque character models, Worst-Of-Anime story, and of course a protagonist with an agonizing name.

  5. malkav11 says:

    I’m not that surprised there hasn’t been much fanfare, personally. It’s an uprezzed port of an 8 year old game that was widely regarded as being pretty bad at the time. Still, if it’s a sign that Square plan to bring more of their extensive JRPG back catalog to PC I certainly won’t complain.

  6. sandineyes says:

    I was happy to discover this game was ported the other day. It is good to see more Japanese games getting ported to PC.

    We also got World of Final Fantasy, out now.
    And in a few days, we are getting an HD port of Okami.

  7. Chillicothe says:

    It’s very odd that it’s took to The Year Of Our Lord 2017 that such a PC-ass developer like tri-Ace finally actually gets one of those PC-ass games to PC.

    Uuuuuuuuuuuuuunfortunately it’s this particular one. Everyone hold out hope for Valkyrie Profile 1!

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      At least we’re getting Indivisible, which is basically the Skullgirls devs doing Valkyrie Profile 1, but based on south-east asian mythology instead of norse.

      According to those with the kickstarter backer demo released recently, it is REALLY good.

      I still want an HD, 60fps Resonance of Fate update with near-zero load times.

  8. NuclearSword says:

    You’re right Dom; people should just buy Tales of Berseria.

    That game is legit. Shame that people, for the most part, slept on it when it released earlier in the year. I know some people were so turned off by the super mediocre Tales of Zesteria that they purposefully ignored the follow-up (which is, I dunno, really dumb? Not only did Berseria seem far more inspired from announcement, but it clearly was coming together better the whole time), but Bandai-Namco has to market those games better in general.

    SO4 is such a turd. Somehow it’s not as bad as SO5, but this one shouldn’t have been “remastered” nonetheless. Square should just go back to the first 2; everyone knows Star Ocean peaked with The Second Story. They should remaster the PSP remakes of those original games for modern platforms.

    • Aaron W says:

      I just want to confirm that Tales of Berseria is well worth playing, and much better than Tales of Zestiria.

    • digital_sneeze says:

      Berseria was probably the first time a Tales game had a compelling cast and story (even though I love Symphonia that’s just out of nostalgia mostly) but they really need to up their game regarding the level and dungeon design. So dull for 90% of it, like most Tales games. I felt the combat was one of the weakest of the series too, though it was functional.

      Last Hope was wall to wall balls though. Some of the worst dialogue and characters ever to grace a game. SO2 is where it’ll always be at, despite the original’s dodgy translation.

  9. Ghostwise says:

    Plus, no kitties.

  10. LW says:

    I’m pretty sure all the budget for this game went into Meracle’s battle animations, because it sure as heck didn’t go anywhere else.

    But yes, I would love Resonance of Fate on PC. Wonderful game; neat setting, decent characters, an entertaining combat system and an extensive fashion catalogue.

  11. Core says:

    >Resonance of Fate HD next, please – tri-Ace’s best, in my opinion

    Yes! I really hope this trend of bringing old console exclusives to PC continues. There are some really interesting titles that deserve a wider audience.

  12. suddenstorm8 says:

    This may be the worst of the Star Ocean games but if fans of the series turn their noses up and don’t buy it because “I’d rather they did Second Story” or other similar arguments, then they can kiss any hope of the other Star Ocean games getting the same treatment goodbye because do you think we would have seen the FFXII remaster if the FFX remaster had sold poorly? In fact SE may have never started making the FFVII remake.

    This feels like SE testing the waters to see how receptive the fan base is to them remastering the games. “Why this one rather than one of the more popular ones?” simple it would have been the easiest to remaster because it is the newest by far and would have required the least manpower and resources so had the lowest cost. “Why no fanfare” because this is aimed at 2 certain groups of people, Star Ocean fans who don’t don’t need marketing or hype to find out about the release because they already have their ears to the ground for Star Ocean news and people who play JRPGs on steam to whom steam already does a really good job of letting them know about new releases for genres they play so any more promotion was unnecessary expense.

    So while I understand you saying “Get something else instead” I think you’re wrong.

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