Monday, March 22, 2010
Review: Lunar: Silver Star Harmony
Okay, show of hands for anyone who’s ever wanted to but never had the time to play the oft-remade, Sega CD classic, Lunar: The Silver Star. Well, here’s your umpteenth opportunity if you weren’t able to catch it on the original Playstation or the Game Boy Advance because it’s out yet again in the form of Lunar: Silver Star Harmony on the PSP. I must say, I’m both disappointed and highly impressed at the same time.
Anybody who’s been a fan of RPG’s in the past twenty years or so will tell you that they’ve at least HEARD of the Lunar saga before, and I’m no exception. But what I wound up finding when I popped in the disk is a pretty standard JRPG that really is as old-school as you can possibly get. You take on the role of Alex Noa who idolizes a former Dragonmaster (Yes, that’s right, I said Dragonmaster) named Dyne. I don’t mean to bore you, but the aforementioned Alex goes on an adventure involving dragons and evil forces and it’s very much in the same vein of any JRPG you can remember reading about in countless video game magazines when you were a kid and obsessed with Final Fantasy. And speaking of Final Fantasy, this game definitely feels very much like the older games in that series, minus the steam-punk flying airships and crazy hair. It contains the standard hero who was destined to be something bigger than just a small town bumpkin, and if that’s what you’re looking for in this day and age in an RPG—an old-school quest with warriors and dragons—then you can’t get any better than Lunar, as it definitely harkens back to that era.
But I’m probably not the best person to tell you about this game because like I said before, I’m NOT one of the obsessive types who played the original back when it first came out on the Sega CD, so I can’t nitpick about every little detail about this remake. Instead, I’m looking at the game as a newcomer, and I must say, even though the story is forgettable as all get-out, Lunar: Silver Star Harmony is still a pretty damn good RPG. The characters, while generic, are actually pretty interesting once you allow the cliché story to take a hold of you (especially Kyle). You begin to accept them as you would a Cid or a Sabin, which is quite impressive given how old the game is (titles like Arc the Lad or Wild Arms don’t hold up nearly as well).
Also impressive are the graphics on this baby. Now, I’m told by various parties who have played the original that the graphics on this version are either “a nice upgrade” or “entirely unnecessary,” but I personally found them to be quite appealing for a PSP title. However, I must admit that load times are certainly a problem with this title, as screens usually takes a few seconds to load from area to area. Now, being that I grew up playing RPGs mostly on the Playstation (I stopped on the SNES after Chrono Trigger), I’m used to load times in my RPGs. But this game seems to go a little overboard with it as I found myself sitting impatiently many a time. Seriously, it became so frequent after awhile that I began playing games on my iPhone while I waited for the screen to change.
Still, Lunar: Silver Star Harmony is a pretty good game as a whole. The battle system is old school but fun, the story is old school but tolerable, and the quest is old school but satisfying. This is a pretty good game but not the masterpiece I’ve always heard it was from raving fanboys and the like. I guess I just had to have been there, huh?
Players: 1 Player
Developer: Game Arts
Publisher: XSeed Games
Rating: Three and a half stars out of five