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Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete - Review

Something old, something new

By: Jake Alley


Review Breakdown
   Battle System 5
   Interface 5
   Music/Sound 7
   Originality 4
   Plot 10
   Localization 10
   Replay Value 6
   Visuals 6
   Difficulty Hard
   Time to Complete

20-30 hours

 
Overall
9
Criteria

Title Screen
 

   Lately, nearly every RPG developer has taken to remaking their longest running series on new platforms. And what started this trend? Game Arts' Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete, a remake of the sleeper hit, Lunar: The Silver Star.

   At first glance, Lunar doesn't seem to offer much. The character sprites are simplistic even by the standards of the 16-bit hardware the game first appeared on, the gameplay offers nothing new, and the story is completely linear and rather cheery. When one actually plays the game however, it's many virtues make themselves known.

   The story of Lunar is the most noteworthy aspect of the game. While nearly all other RPGs begin with the hero being thrown into a quest to save the world, Lunar's protagonist is simply a boy from a small town who leaves to see the world and seek adventure. While this relaxed approach means it takes longer to hook the player, it makes for a very fresh change of pace, and allows for a greater focus on character development. By the end of the game, the player really gets to know each of the characters.


Beautiful Anime
Beautiful Anime  

   As fresh as the plot is however, the combat is about as traditional as it gets. Each round, you tell each character to attack, cast a spell, or use an item, then all the characters and enemies execute their actions in an order determined by their speed. The only things that separate this from the very oldest RPGs are a grid in which characters and enemies move about, occasionally making it impossible to reach the enemy for a short range attack, and Nall, a winged cat which occasionally revives your characters with 0 HP for free. While this would normally make for a very easy game, Lunar revives the long dead concept of having normal random monsters do significant amounts of damage, leading to a very challenging game despite the free revivals.

   While the unique story and challenging gameplay keep the seasoner RPGamer wanting more, the simple graphics can still be a turnoff for some. That is until they realize how frequent the cut scenes are. Lunar features a high quality anime cut scene at absolutely every possible moment. At times, they bombard the player, coming every five minutes. So, while the in-game graphics may be a bit simple, there's still plenty of eye candy to be found.


Classic Gameplay
Classic Gameplay  

   Still another of Lunar's virtues is the amount of care that goes into the little details. In addition to including high quality anime portraits of all the female characters to collect, almost every random person in every single town has three full lines of dialog, each given a humorous translation from Working Designs. Every piece of equipment has an equally funny description. If that wasn't enough, Working Designs also included a hardbound full color manual, a full soundtrack, and a Making of CD along with the game.

   While other RPGs may span more discs, and have more sophisticated graphics, Lunar's traditional old school gameplay, challenging battles, endearing story and gorgeous anime cut scenes win it a place on many a player's list of favorites.





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