Like one of my friends said,Star Ocean The Last Hope(SO TLH)is fun because it feels like a PS2 style JRPG except with PS3 graphics.I must say I agree with him.SO TLH uses the formula that made so many JRPGs great and includes things such as an fast,flashy,over-the-top real-time battle system,a world map to explore,towns to visit,NPC interaction whilst being a very story driven game and has great CGI scenes for story telling,and like most JRPGs the story can be serious at times but goofy and funny at others and mixes Sci Fi with fantasy and has a lot of creativity in it's story/universe and epic plot twists.

The story for the game takes places before the story for some of the other games in the Star Ocean series,Earth has had a nuclear war and most of the human population has been wiped out and the planet's surface is uninhabitable.Survivors live underground and a decision has been made to send humans into space to search for new habitable worlds.
The main character in the game is named Edge,who is a blonde-haired ship technician who volunteers for the mission to search for other habitable planets and his friend since childhood named Reimi who is a pretty,female character also goes on the mission.The people on the mission do find new worlds and meet new characters including aliens and for a while it seems most of the story seems to be about the discoveries they make whilst exporing new planets but big plot twists come into the story and I doubt you will predict them.The story has romance and has funny scenes that can make you laugh(including some perverted scenes that are very funny).I also like how some worlds are shrouded in mystery because some of them have highly advanced technology that seems to have been left behind from another more advanced civilization whilst inhabitants of the world who look like they're at a medieval or maybe a steampunk technological level share the world and probably have little knowledge of space,highly advanced technology,other etc.
The battle system is fun and like I said has a fast,real-time feel.You'll directly control 1 party member and the AI controls up to 3 other party members.You can freely run around battle environments and try to get behind enemies and attack their blindside.Most of the enemies can be beaten with simple button mashing but against some enemies you'll need to be picky for when you time your attacks and for how you position the character you're controlling and against some of the tougher bosses you'll need to utilize various character abilities(your party members with ranged attack weapons are more effective against flying enemies but they're vulnerable up-close so you'll need to protect them by distracting enemies with your melee fighters).
You can give your party members orders to be aggressive or defensive or conservative with MP.You can chain combo attacks together too.

However,the AI for your party members can be dumb at times and they'll get themselves hurt of killed by making silly decisions and you'll need to heal them and it can make a battle which should be easy much harder than it needs to be.

SO TLH's equivalent of magic is named 'symbology' and can be used for attacking purposes or for healing,buffs etc.

I've mentioned how the game has world maps and towns,I also want to say they are quite large and you can spend a lot of time exploring them/
Some of the puzzles are frustrating and require you to walk back and forth too much.Thankfully this game doesn't have random battles.

The visuals in SO TLH have a nice blend of artistry and realism.Some environments are very colorful and you'll see beautiful ocean scenery,realistic tropical areas and the way the landscape blends with the ocean(such as how you'll see cliffs near the ocean and beachside areas)looks beautiful and there's grassy plains(with realistic looking vegetation)and you'll also travel through snowy regions and cave/dungeons with mysterious technology you'll travel to some futuristic cities that look amazing and of course you'll explore the interior of a starship a lot.

The CGI's make the characters and environments look life-like and show beautiful footage of Earth(even though earth's surface is uninhabitable you'll still see beautiful sunset/sunrise blend with a polluted atmosphere)and the footage of the other planets is stunning too and looks realistic too.

During regular cutscenes,the characters have faces like dolls.But Reimi is still pretty with her long,black straight hair and pretty face.I like how the characters dress in bright colors.I like how some of the alien-humanoid characters look such as Faize who has pointy ears like an elf and green hair and the cat-humanoid alien named Merry who has bright blue hair as well as aliens that are enemies which can be huge and some have tentacles or are giant insects or robots or reptilian humanoids.

The battle music uses the electronic style music that suits the fast-paced battles and futuristic theme and uses nice,relaxing music for when you're exploring lovely tropical environments but the game uses some nice eerie music for when you're exploring the more daunting landscape regions such as snowy areas.I like how the music for the futuristic city is very fast with a touch of piano and electronic sound.

Overall,I think Star Ocean The Last Hope is a great JRPG and it might seem cliche/generic at first but it has surprising plot twists and lots to learn about the worlds and it's very charming and beautiful and enjoyable.