NEWS - Thursday, January 29, 2009

Star Ocean: The Last Hope Details

One of the hallmarks of the Star Ocean franchise is the Private Action event system. These small, optional dialogue sections have allowed the player to flesh out the story -- particularly the characters’ backgrounds and personalities -- and ultimately have affected which ending the player would get at the end of the game. Private Actions are back in Star Ocean: The Last Hope and recent information sent out by Square Enix indicates that the system will be more accessible and deeper than ever before.

The Last Hope will have over 100 Private Actions and they won’t be as ridiculously impossible to find as they have been in past games. In fact, most will be accessible simply by talking to party members inside of Calnus, your starship. Once again, some Private Actions are only triggered by meeting specific hidden conditions and some only take place at limited times. Some Private Actions will trigger chains of Private Actions that can lead to special scenes, unique items, or even battles.

The big news, though, is that Private Actions will once again determine which of the game’s endings you will see. No word was given on how many endings The Last Hope will have, but it will be related to hidden affinity levels. In many Private Actions, you’ll be given a choice of dialogue or actions. What you do will change how the rest of the party views both the main character and each other. These affinity levels will affect which game ending you see.

Affinity levels will also affect battles. If two characters are especially close and one falls in battle, it will cause the other’s Rush Gauge to go to the max. This will allow players to enter a berserk mode with speed and attack levels skyrocketing.

The Last Hope will also feature a new Crew Quarter assignment feature. On board the Calnus, you have the option of choosing which squad mates will share quarters. Up to two party members can share a room and opposite genders can sleep together if their affinity levels are high enough. Some of these room pairings will even trigger Private Actions and affect affinity levels, so Square Enix encourages players to test the waters with a variety of room assignments.

Star Ocean: The Last Hope is due out on February 24 for Xbox 360.



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