Star Ocean: The Last Hope
The latest chapter in this often overlooked role-playing series is a sprawling epic, standing comfortably alongside the best the genre has to offer. In a clever move by developer Square-Enix, this new game acts as the opening chapter of the series, a way of introducing first-time players to the rich word of Star Ocean.
Sometime in the not too distant future, mankind triggers World War III and with it, renders the planet near-uninhabitable, and so the human race prepares for the first galactic expedition to find new planets to live on. Lead character and all-round good guy Edge Maverick is part of this first mission into the uncharted depths of space in a sprawling journey to save mankind from destruction.
Star Ocean favours real-time combat as opposed to random encounters and turn-based menu systems. This format only works in some cases, such as the exemplary Lost Odyssey, but here the fighting system works well, whilst still retaining a tactical edge. The game is an aesthetically stunning and thoroughly enjoyable experience that makes other, more recent Square-Enix releases pale in comparison. With likeable characters, an engaging plot, and production values that are through the roof, it never gets tiresome: something that any role-playing game with staying power must achieve and The Last Hope pulls off with finesse.