Star Ocean The Last Hope International recently received a re-release that included a visual upgrade in the form of Star Ocean The Last Hope 4K and Full HD Remaster. This title includes all of the features bundled into the PlayStation 3 release of Star Ocean The Last Hope International and is a good introduction to the series for newcomers looking to explore earlier installments of the franchise.
While elements of the story haven’t aged remarkably well, Star Ocean The Last Hope 4K and Full HD Remaster offers itself to be a good entry point to the series and to scratch the itch of those looking for a lengthy JRPG to fill their time.
I sunk a good amount of time into Star Ocean The Last Hope 4K and Full HD Remaster. While the base game is wholly the same when compared to Star Ocean The Last Hope International, I found the upgrade to the game’s visuals to be the most stand-out part of this re-release.
This port to both PlayStation 4 and PC provide a handful of new visual features that can be accessed through the menu. I quickly turned these new settings on and found that the environments were crisper, cleaner, and benefited from the extra bloom. Environments were generally brighter and more immersive. Character models also benefited from these enhancements. While there were some stray shadows due to unclean renders of bangs for certain characters in very specific lighting, this is something that can be easily overlooked. The highly detailed outfits and designs of Star Ocean The Last Hope’s main cast look great in 4K and the game functions exceptionally well.
The combat is far more fluid than the versions on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, allowing for battles to fulfill their true potential. Combat effects are especially vibrant and add to a greater sense of enjoyment even while trudging through a tedious amount of grinding. Even these small additions made revisiting Star Ocean The Last Hope all the more enjoyable.
Additionally, the inclusion of content packaged with Star Ocean The Last Hope International, such as the Japanese voice acting, contributed to an overall better experience. I found myself swapping to the Japanese voices fairly early on and eventually made use of the selective muting feature found in the system menu. The ability to mute specific characters during combat was something I did frequently throughout the game. It wasn’t that the voice acting was particularly bad on the Japanese side of things, but their victory dialogue quickly became tedious after hours upon hours of grinding.
That being said for those unfamiliar with the Star Ocean series it falls into mechanics typical for a game of it’s time. Players are expected to spend upwards of forty hours grinding for stats and enhancing skills in order to truly realize the potential of specific party compositions or characters. I felt like Star Ocean The Last Hope 4K and Full HD Remaster could have greatly benefited from some kind of “speed up” system similarly seen in Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age. This would have helped break some of the tedium of grinding which becomes necessary for story progression on even the easiest level of difficulty.
While certainly not the strongest entry of the Star Ocean series, I was left with strong feelings of nostalgia. For those new and interested in the series I would say this would be a good place to start if you are willing to look over some fairly dated storytelling elements and character archetypes. Old fans who enjoyed the original release of this title will surely enjoy the 4K and HD Remaster and will find it to be a great port of a game they previous experienced.
Disclaimer: A PlayStation 4 (digital) version of Star Ocean: The Last Hope 4K and Full HD Remaster was provided to Nova Crystallis by Square Enix for review.