Star Ocean: The Last Hope (PS3, Xbox 360)
The Last Hope chronologically take place the earliest in the Star Ocean series, and it details mankind’s journey to find a new hospitable planet after World War III. The game follows Edge Maverick and Reimi Saionji, members of the Space Reconnaissance Force, who are sent on an expeditionary mission to save humanity. The two meet a cast of alien beings who end up joining their crew, and as you’d expect become embroiled in a battle for the fate of the universe itself.
Building Edge’s relationship with each of the party members can even unlock additional scenes at the end of the game. Not all of the characters and voice performances are pulled off perfectly, but the party is still a likable cast that grow together as the game progresses.
The real star of The Last Hope, however, is its stellar battle system. Four character participate in battle at once, and you have the option of controlling any one character at any time. You have standard attacks as well as special skills, in addition to new features like blindsides that let you instantly slip behind an enemy for a surprise attack. It’s an incredibly fast battle system that’s easy to pick up, but difficult to master.
Luckily, you don’t need to have any experience with the Star Ocean series to play The Last Hope. It’s the perfect spacefaring, planet-hopping adventure to tide you over for a month or so.