Reviewed: April 15, 2010
Released: March 2, 2010
Role Playing Games are an ever-changing breed as seen with titles like the Final Fantasy series. While these changes can be good there is nothing wrong with good old-fashioned turned based RPGs. Case in point is the Lunar series. Back in the early 90s, it was one of my favorite titles when it made its appearance on the Sega CD. Though my experience with the title required several trips to a friendís house it still remains one of my favorites due to its story and animated cut scenes. Lunar was so popular it warranted a direct sequel as well as several remakes over the years including the title Iím covering here today, Lunar: Silver Star Harmony.
Lunar: Silver Star Harmony is brought to us this time by Game Arts, who worked with the now gone but not forgotten Working Designs before on the original Lunar. Publisher XSEED has stepped in to bring this classic RPG back with a rather flashy and more literal interpretation of the source material for a new age. For those old enough to remember Working Designs or at least played one of their games, youíll remember that they liked to take liberties with the source material blending in current pop cultural references and more that a few bodily jokes along the way which in the case of Lunar gave the characters a lot more personality.
The story follows a young boy who dreams of nothing more than becoming like his idol, Dragonmaster Dyne, and going adventures. After being coursed into exploring a nearby cave by his friend Ramus, they seek to find the White Dragon that is rumored to reside there. The results of that small adventure lead to greater things as Alex, his adopted sister Luna and mysterious flying pet Nall, seta off to find the other dragons and eventually end up saving the world along the way.
The core gameplay mechanics are that of your standard turned-based battle system featured in many RPGs of that era. Players can have up to three members at a time in their party including the non-playable Nall that will revive players at times and heal abnormal states that occur during and after battles. One of the things that I really like about Lunar: Silver Star Harmony is the fact that the monsters are visible out in the world, which does away with random fight encounters which can be a big nuisance in RPGs. Although many of the several ďdungeonsĒ that you travel through are usually filled with tight corridors and paths you can still evade combat if you want though more times that not you canít avoid them.
Silver Star Harmony contains an AI function for those players that become bored with fight after fight. This feature is nice and propels the title into a new generation for players who are accustomed to something a bit more modern. Being an old school player I tend not to go for the AI controlled shortcuts since I like to be in complete control of my characters. The AI function is great and works effectively for the most part except when a character missed or overkills an enemy with magic.
Lunar: Silver Star Harmony unlike many new and some old RPGs has one feature that I absolutely love. There is no need to senselessly grind for hours on end in this adventure. Players can get through from beginning to end just by fighting anything in their path from point A to B. While this sounds boring I can assure you it beats spending hours on end grinding to just take out ONE boss. The story is fast paced enough to avoid boring drawn out travel times but long enough to get you hooked and enjoy the game. Lunar: Silver Star Harmony doesnít feature side quests that have you traveling to one side of the world and back to complete.
One of the things that I really liked about Lunar: Silver Star Harmony is the graphics. While the developers changed up the overall viewing angle of the title, going with an isometric view, Lunar: Silver Star Harmony looks great. The characters are beautifully redrawn; the environments look great and are nicely detailed. Iím also impressed that they managed to keep the animated scenes intact which is something that I loved about the original title. The whole experience really pops on the PSPís LCD screen.
Lunar: Silver Star Harmony along with great visuals features some awesome voice acting and sound effects. I love the opening song as well as the song that you hear Luna sing throughout the title. During combat the sound effects used every time the characters use their weapons or pull off a special attack is just awesome. I still particularly love Alexís Zephyr Blade attack animation as he wipes enemies off the battle screen most of the time.
Lunar: Silver Star Harmony took me over 30 or so hours to complete from start to finish which is not bad at all for a tile with no side quests or menial task to perform. The adventure is straightforward and enjoyable. The biggest reason for this is that Lunar: Silver Star Harmony features memorable characters and a great story featuring romance, betrayal and humorous trimmings. You can pick up Lunar: Silver Star Harmony on the PSN store for around $30 dollars via download. You can also find it in most retail stores for around the same price if you prefer a hard disc copy.
At the end of my adventure into my childhood, I came out loving Lunar even more than I already did. Lunar: Silver Star Harmony is a testament to how great stories transcend time and keeps getting better as time wears one. A lot of newer RPGs could learn something from Lunar and the people at Game Arts, I recommend new and old RPG players to pick up Lunar: Silver Star Harmony as soon as possible you wonít regret it.