Monthly Archive: April 2017

Examining Star Ocean 4 Part 2 – Hopeful Beginnings

The most punchable face in the universe.

After the opening cinematic, in which we’re introduced to the newly-formed USTA – the Universal Science and Technology Administration – as well as the SRF, Space Recon Force, we have our first run-in with the slimy piece of flubber known as Deputy Director Shimada.

Everything about this man is designed to repulse, from his looks, to the silly way he moves, his voice and mode of speech, and especially his personality. In a game where the main antagonist is an incomprehensible entity from beyond the void (or whatever), it’s a really good idea to have a human sub-villain for the player to hate first, before the Big Bad is introduced. And boy oh boy does Star Ocean 4 deliver.

Not only is Shimada himself a thoroughly detestable piece of unripe manure, he also has three yes men with him, as if he couldn’t get any nastier. He’s the sort of man who only thinks of himself, doesn’t care about the mission or humanity or the SRF, and is literally only in it for his own personal self-aggrandisement and gain. Bravo, Tri-Ace, this is pretty much the perfect example of a drama first bad guy. (more…)

Examining Star Ocean 4 Part 1 – Sailing the Star Ocean

After SO3, this really was my last hope for the series…

Star Ocean: The Last Hope (henceforth known simply as either Star Ocean 4 or SO4) is probably one of my favourite games of the last console generation. Despite it having a number of pretty serious flaws, not least of which taking place in the same universe as Star Ocean 3 (I’ll have a post on that game soon…), I have an immense fondness for this game.

Maybe it’s the characters, most of whom are varying degrees of fun and interesting, if a little too stereotypical in a Japanese kind of way. Maybe it’s the hugely fun combat. Yes, even the battle trophies, though screw that final (PSN) trophy. Maybe it’s the overall setting and the fact we actually got to spend more time in the ostensible title of the franchise; the star ocean itself. Unlike Star Ocean 3.

In reality it’s all three of those things combined, of course. I’m a big ol’ Japanese RPG nerd in any case and can generally overlook some of the usual issues they have, which I’ll be going into in detail on over the course of this series, but beyond that Star Ocean 4 simply has a really fun gameplay loop combined with a workable story and fun characters I enjoy spending time with. (more…)