Most helpful critical review
63 of 87 people found the following review helpful
This is 3.5 stars, but without that option...
on February 24, 2010
...I'm forced to average the two. I commiserate with another reviewer about the "This was on the X-Box, so it's worse here by definition!" reviews, but I can't co-sign on grade inflation.
And honestly, while this game has a lot going for it, its flaws can be severe. The average player probably wouldn't notice (i.e. the one that plays the game one time through), but I would guess that most people buying this game are hardcore (and the developers believe the same - look at all of the postgame extras, and the ridiculous PSN trophies associated to the game).
- I really like the battle system in this game. There is one major flaw (targetting), but all in all, I've enjoyed fighting (which is good for a game of this length). The "blindside" and "rush combo" systems are magnificent, IMHO. The characters clearly have different personalities on the battle field (including the fighters - Faize's rapier combos act much different than Edge's, e.g.).
- The story. While the cutscenes are a major pain (they are too long, and poorly written), I'm a sucker for a space exploration story. No, this isn't "Mass Effect 2," but I think the plot synthesizes much of what is good about various Japanese sci-fi animes (ridiculous science, absurd character interactions, a universe-threatening enemy, etc.)
- The extras. Tri-Ace has ALWAYS given the player more for completing a game, and this is no different. A huge battle arena, two long and rewarding post-game dungeons, billions of battle trophies to test your skills and patience (OK - there are only 900, but it will feel like billions by the end). SO:TLH delivers. However, there is one major flaw here, as I will state below.
-Battle targeting is atrocious. The computer NEVER fixes on the proper target; your character will often run the length of the battlefield to attack another enemy, instead of the one in front of him. In order to change targeting, you have to use the start button (who in the world thought of that?)...but this is a pain in the heat of battle against an enemy such as, say, Kokubei (who has about 10 other small enemies constantly circling her). Ugh.
- Where are the save points? It takes FOREVER to get to one! I've heard that autosaving doesn't work in JRPGs (with citations of other 360 RPGs as evidence). I don't buy it. There HAS to be something better, and if we ARE fixing ourselves to this archaic system, at LEAST make it reasonable. At time, you will find yourself going an hour or more between save points in dungeons. At the end of the game, adding together the cutscene time, the credit time, and the battles, it took over 2 hours before I could save my game! That's ridiculous.
Also, when you finally do save, the game asks you, "Do you want to keep saving?" The default answer is "YES" the first time this question is asked. What the heck? I guess even the game realizes that saving is a luxury that you never want to end. :-P
- While battle trophies carry over to different playthroughs, battle trophy progress does not. What are you thinking, Tri-Ace? So, if I kill 29,999 enemies with Edge in one playthrough, and don't get the trophy, I STILL have to kill 30000 in the next playthrough. All I can say is, if you care about these things, keep your old save files intact.
- The cutscenes. They are WAAAAAY too long. Now, I'm not a fan of cutscenes in general, but when the writing is as bad as it is for these, it's particularly atrocious. In fact, I would suggest just skipping them entirely (the game is nice enough to provide you a synopsis of any scene you skip, and the synopsis is both short AND well-written).
- Missable trophies. OK - I can accept that some games should have PSN trophies that require work. But this is ridiculous. For example, there is one trophy for completing all the quests in the game (and there are hundreds, plural, by the way). The catch? Near the beginning of the game, some quests simply...disappear. Forever. There is nothing telling you that this might happen, but it can. Later on, other quests disappear. Forever. So, what do you do? YOU HAVE TO PLAY THE ENTIRE GAME AGAIN. Clearly, this is implemented solely to sell strategy guides. There are other egregious examples (what, I can't make every item in the game because one of my party members left permanently?), but you get the point. Everything about the trophies is meant to anger you. I kid thee not.
Anyway, there you have it. If you are going to play through once, I would rate this from 4 to 5 stars. It's pretty fun. But if you are like so many others that requires that platinum trophy, expect lots and lots of frustration. Happy gaming!