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Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete - Review

Lunar remake was worth the wait

By Ryan Amos, RPGamer Writer


Review Breakdown
   Battle System9.0
   Gameplay8.5
   Music9.0
   Originality9.0
   Plot9.0
   Replay Value7.0
   Sound8.5
   Visuals9.0
   DifficultyMedium/Hard
   Time to Complete20-30 hours 
Overall
9.0
Criteria

   At last, the long awaited remake of Game Arts Sega CD classic has arrived. I never had a Sega CD, so I never got a chance to play the original, but from looking at FAQs, it's a totally new game. The plot looks to be fundamentally the same, but the dungeons and even the world don't seem to be.

   Now, while the graphics are much better than the Sega CD version, they should be. But, when compared to other 2D games Lunar's graphics look quite simple. There is no 3D at all here (sans a few short, prerendered pieces mixed in with the anime,) just some better than average sprites. They're not incredible and astounding, but they get the job done and are much better than the Sega CD version.

   The sprites are on the overworld, in battles, etc, but frequently (very frequently) the game breaks off into anime scenes. These are well done, and while the voice dubbing gets a little bit off at times, it's nowhere near as bad as Xenogears (or most dubbed anime tapes, for that matter.) The artistry in these scenes is great, and the voice selections and acting for the characters is good (though Nall sounds like a chihuahua on helium.)

   Ah, yes, Nall. Without him, this game would be a little dull. Nall is Alex's trash-talking, wise cracking pet flying cat (though if you call him either of these, he'll gnaw your ankles off.) Nall is often the butt of jokes from your party members, and he frequently makes sarcastic comments off to the side. Nall is also functional, he heals your characters in battle should they die, and he holds items for you.

Anime galore
Anime scenes galore  

   As for battles, you need Nall frequently. Why? Because if you make one slip up, it can cost you the battle. Needless to say, save often. Most battles will pit you against 4 or 5 enemies, even if you only have 2 people in your party. If that wasn't enough, these enemies are tougher than you and do more damage. Though this is usually counteracted by the fact that anyone who is any good with magic has ungodly amounts of MP, and you need it, because you have to cure your characters after almost every battle. You will need a lot of magic cures (and of course, you can't afford enough until the end of the game, when you can't carry enough.) As long as you save a lot and make wise choices, however, you shouldn't have much of a problem.

   One of those wise choices is to never, I repeat, NEVER use the "AI" option. While it means Artificial Intelligence, it's more like Pure Stupidity. While many games have this, in Lunar it's default every time you load a file. Basically it uses your most powerful spells even on the weakest enemies, wasting your MP. If you can think of common sense, AI would do the opposite. Just use Command mode and you'll be okay. I mean, you don't want your ultimate spell being cast on some weak enemies, do you?

   So, we move to the music. In an act of generosity to their fans, Working Designs has included a 2 disc soundtrack of Lunar: SSSC with the game. Now while you'd never catch me listening to it (video game music just isn't my favorite type of music to chill to,) the tunes in the game are pretty catchy, and I even found myself humming along to some of them. There are some vocal parts, though they don't seem to translate well from Japanese (you know, some words are rushed into a line while the next line is held.) The best songs, in my opinion, were the ones sung by Luna. Even though there are no words (other than "la,") they portray a great sense of emotion.

Difficult battles
Battles are difficult  

   As for the plot, this is one of the more creative ones in a while. While the basic story is nothing incredibly new, an excellent job is done with the several sub-plots within the story. At its heart, Lunar is a love story. The tale is told well, in fact, I believe it to convey the theme better than Final Fantasy VIII. You actually start to feel for the characters, and I believe the frequent and well done anime cut scenes make this more possible.

   The thing I like most about the game is it starts out very lighthearted, almost Earthbound-esque, but progresses into a very serious game. This transition is quick, but you can see it coming. In fact, you can see most of the major plot twists coming a mile away (the voice actors do TOO good a job,) but you're still affected when they happen.

   The main shortfall of the plot is that it's short (ha ha, I make funny!) This is probably because the original game was for Sega CD, and the compression was not as good as the PlayStation, and hence, you couldn't fit as much game into the same space. It's only about 25 hours, much shorter than recent epics like the mammoth Xenogears.

   Myself, I am a fan of linearity, so I liked Lunar a lot. However, for the last 5 hours or so of the game, there is a long sequence of events which cannot be escaped from, and there's not much warning of this so I was a little disappointed when I couldn't go back to some places I wanted to go.
Jessica talks some smack
Jessica beats up on Kyle  

   Be aware there's a decent amount of almost-nudity in the game, both male and female. One of them is so almost-nudity it's "fuzzed" out, and others have hair or armor in very strategic places. Now while I'm sure many of our fans don't mind this at all, it's just a warning for those of you who would prefer not to see such things.

   Other than a little nudity, not much else seems to be censored. There's some mild language there (though a certain four-letter-word seems to have been obviously censored) and Working Designs seems to have left the script pretty much unaltered from the Japanese release of this game. The translation puts other games by a polygonally-named RPG company to shame, as it makes perfect sense, and the localizers have even thrown in some inside jokes and American sayings and cliches.

   Of course, it wouldn't be a WD game unless there were outtakes. And there are plenty, almost 15 minutes worth after the credits roll. The voice actors make some pretty amusing blunders, some of which have to be honked out. You also get to hear the real voices of the actors as they curse and crack up over their lines, and even break out into song once or twice. A little amusing reward at the end of the game.

   All in all, Lunar was worth the wait. If you're looking for a lighthearted, albeit short, but entertaining game, Lunar is your choice. It feels like an oldschool RPG, very reminiscant of the Lufia series, with nicely interwoven anime scenes. With one of the best translations in a while, Lunar is worth the price, because you not only get the game, but also its soundtrack, a color art book and a cloth map of the world of Lunar. You'll probably enjoy them.


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