Thursday, September 07, 2000

Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete | 8.0

TThe story of Eternal Blue is pure classic. It's the simple story of a brash adventurer who falls for an enigmatic girl with a mission. Quite simple, but monolithic nonetheless. Unlike many current RPGs, the simple charm of the love story is not buried under reams of dross. Yes, an epic adventure unfolds, but Eternal Blue never loses sight of its greatest strengths: its characters, simple romance, and a sense of lighthearted adventure. Working Designs knows what they are doing: their script is witty and proficient, underscoring unique personalities and heightening the emotional impact of any given scene. The villains are more interesting this time around, the plot hardly ever runs off track, and there's a few plot twists you'll never expect.

For those who didn't experience this wonderful story in the Sega CD days, you owe it to yourself to play it through. It ranks among the greatest stories ever, and in many ways is surpasses the original telling (which had too much humor for its own good).

The graphics are very 16-bit, so the game lacks graphical titillation. (The FMV is gorgeous, though.) The gameplay, likewise, is archaic, and actually a step down from the Sega CD original. The magic system, which was one of the greatest merits of the original, has been simplified to the point of mindlessness, which is ridiculous and dumb. Actually, the gameplay seems more tiring than I remembered, the dungeons being particularly exhausting. The game is a little tougher though, which creates a sense of urgency not often associated with many RPGs these days.

While the gameplay hasn't aged well, the story is as timeless as they come, and that makes the game worth playing.

All the extras are a nice treat as well. I personally found the "Making Of Lunar 2" CD very interesting, and while I have no use for the amulet or the character standees, they are nice bonuses. The map is a nifty keepsake, and the full soundtrack is great. I don't listen to the soundtrack, because I don't really enjoy the Lunar music outside the context of the game, but I appreciate the gesture, and there are still several good tunes included (Lemina's theme is fookin' catchy). Hopefully other publishers will include soundtracks with their games in the future.

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