Star Ocean IV: The Last What?A Chapter by Haeshin
World War III (you know it was coming) has turned the Earth into a lifeless planet on which no life can live on. Ironically this also leads to world peace, but then the possibility of human extinction can have that kind of effect. Humans have no choice but to explore outer space and beyond to find a new place they can call home. A long-legged dude with a weird battle posture is set on a spaceship with his obvious romantic interest childhood friend and a new alien pal as a trio of futuristic frontier explorers.
Overall, I'm disappointed to say that most of this game's story gives me nothing to complain about. When a game says things like having entire planets and universes to explore, an overwhelming experience is expected. In this case Star Ocean 4 makes everything manageable. Worlds are explorable without taking away the awe and curiosity that comes with exploring a new planet, and an intricate environment isn't stuffed in the face either. The cultures living on those planets, despite all being under-civilizations that haven't gone past the Middle Ages, are clearly different instead of revolving around the same general design. The entire cast of characters, main protagonists or even side characters that are nothing more than filler NPCs, are hard to dismiss. They each have their own purpose and well drawn personality that differs from one another yet interacts nicely.
And the ending! Yow. Expected yet not expected. It's always those well-mannered quiet guys you have to watch out for, and in this case it was heartbreaking. A person can't exactly hate a guy for losing it when his entire race is being picked off in clumps like weeds and the bad guys were the weed whackers just doing their thing. The plot twist where a main protagonist becomes the main villain takes the exasperating edge off a classic science fiction villainy theme: 'We're a highly evolved god-like race and the rest of you are just worms who either get with the program or become space dust'.
The only possible flaws to this plotline was that some characters had a 'Why is this guy even here?' attached to them further along the game. I just have to know why the character Arumat was thrown in like a temporary party member, his story never told and his relations with the other members barely set in. In the cast of main characters, who had their own stories told and set, he stood out like a faded piece of artwork.
That's about it for flaws in the story of Star Ocean IV, unless you're looking for tradition. At least since Star Ocean III, there is a little note of mentioning exactly three characters who gained big mysterious powers through some sort of experiment or surgery. There is a big cutscene in which these powers are explained and their origins revealed, yet other than that they seem to have little use throughout the rest of the story. These powers are hardly mentioned, rarely displayed, and mostly forgotten. If a player expects or notes anything about them, they'll watch the end credits and think 'Huh. What about the three big superpowers?'.
Flaw or not, nothing seems to downplay the game's worth, and as a human being I find that disappointing. Humans are not happy unless there's something to complain about! Present company exluded....
© 2010 Haeshin
Game Plot Reviews
About*Please provide feedback! Pick a story, any story, and try it out. I dabble in various genres, mostly in action and adventure with comedy thrown in, I do attempt to diversify on occasion with roman.. more..