Published on May 6th, 2011 | by Jasmine1
Leave Luck to Heaven #15: The Lunar Series Wanes Fast
My two favourite RPGs on the original Playstation were Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete and Lunar: Eternal Blue Complete. The games were actually remakes of Sega CD games, updating graphics and additional music. I even went out of my way to play the Game Boy Advance’s Lunar Legend, which was an abridged version of Silver Star Story. The newest remake is for the PSP and supposedly has expanded storylines, but before this one Lunar: Dragon Song was released about five years ago for the DS.
Lunar: Dragon Song takes place 1000 years before Silver Star Story. From here the story struggles to keep focus. The previous games had story and depth and, yes, very predictable plot points, but this game seems to try and remove all but the staple plot points. This makes the characters exceptionally flat, I’m talking nearly subatomic flat. The game could have been a lot more if it had simply been longer and taken time to explain the characters’ motivations. By the end of this game dialogue became more of a chore and finishing the game seemed like just an end point rather than a real conclusion.
Unfortunately, the story isn’t the only shortcoming. The battle system was altered to a point that makes the game needlessly complex and sometimes harder. First going into battle makes you choose between two modes, virtue and combat. Virtue mode is the only way to gain experience from battles while combat mode is the only way to gain items from battle. Versus all other RPGs I’ve played this is really counter intuitive. In fairness, unless you want to collect all the enemy cards, virtue mode is what you will stay in during the game. Also the designers thought they would be creative and use the DS’s microphone allowing you to shout commands. Because there is nothing like yelling “run” at the top of your lungs, which on a sidenote if you leave this option on a lot of ambient noises can trigger the running away. Beyond this the game uses a lot of standard RPG controls including using enemy cards for extra effects.
Due to the previous games I expect a lot from the music and graphics. The good news is that the graphics maintain well versus the other remakes and improving the look. I could have done with more animated cutscenes but I accept that there are limitations to what handheld systems can do. The music however is lackluster and boring. The normal repeating loop is in the background and due to the limited story cutscenes there is no really dynamic musical portion. Now a part that I don’t mind is the lack of voiced dialogue. This could have been made even better had I been able to name the characters. It made sense in the previous games where I couldn’t name characters due to voiceovers, but this game has no excuse.
If you want an RPG that represents the DS then steer clear of this game. If you love the Lunar series also steer clear of this game. If you want an RPG where you need not pay attention to story, hate good combat systems, and/or hate yourself then and only then should you even think about touching this game.