||The Star Ocean franchise has been around the Japanese role-playing game scene for a long time. While it might not have quite the same infamy as Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, I've always had a sentimental attachment to the series. I can still remember the profound impact Star Ocean: The Second Story had on me when I played it on the original PlayStation, and I had the pleasure of reviewing both PSP remakes: Star Ocean: First Departure and Star Ocean: Second Evolution. So this marks the third time I've reviewed a Star Ocean game, as Star Ocean: The Last Hope International is now available for the PS3...Star Ocean: The Last Hope, the fourth game in the Star Ocean series, first hit the 360 in early 2009. Like other JRPGs before it (Eternal Sonata being a good example), Star Ocean: The Last Hope is now available for eager PlayStation 3 owners looking for another intergalactic quest. The "International" part of the title mainly refers to the very welcome inclusion of the original Japanese language track, as well as a minor but still appreciated option to change the HUD to its original design, which features stylish anime portraits...Some of the most notable differences between Last Hope and other Star Ocean titles include the Blindside system and the Bonus Board, both elements being huge improvements to the formula. By holding down the circle button, players can charge up their Rush gauge (which, when filled, boosts the character's speed and strength) but also enter a defensive state. In this state, hitting the left analog stick before an enemy attacks you will execute a Blindside, which confuses the enemy and causes your character to rush around to the enemy's back. This is an extremely helpful technique and it also adds a much needed layer of strategy to a system that traditionally just required the mashing of one or two buttons...Star Ocean: The Last Hope International is a great JRPG and the inclusion of the original Japanese language track is always a welcome addition, especially when dealing with very Japanese characters...Even though the game suffers from some visual issues, and save point infrequency can be a huge annoyance, I loved playing Last Hope. The battle system is tremendously entertaining, the cast is a charming ensemble of travelers and the Private Actions continue to fuel proper character development and demonstrate the beauty of optional antics. Although Final Fantasy XIII is right around the corner, Star Ocean: The Last Hope International is a must-play for all you JRPG nuts.