Wednesday, September 06, 2000

Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete | 9.0

It's kind of hard to tell RPG players the appeal of Lunar when other games have more stellar graphics, more complicated storylines and deeper gameplay systems. While some of the older games from the SNES era are considered RPG classics despite very outdated looks, it's strange trying to do the same for Lunar since it wasn't quite as big or as mass-appealing. While yes graphically and storyline wise, this isn't exactly Vagrant Story or even Final Fantasy stuff, there was always an appeal to the Lunar games that made you forget about it and just enjoy it anyway.

Story: You play as Alex from the town of Burg who wants to become just like the Dragonmaster Dyne. But an encounter with a Dragon has Alex, his pet dragon Nall and friend Luna on a quest to save the world where they'll be taken to floating cities and different cities to save the world of Lunar. Again it's not the most deepest and complex RPG plot but like a lot of classic fairytales and fantasy stories, there's a wide appeal for the story simply because of the charming characters and just the general atmosphere of the game.

Graphics: You'll notice a difference between the new stuff and the "revamped" stuff. Basically the new is fully-animated cutscenes which help flesh out special events but usually they're served as character introductions. They're gorgeous with great character designs and they really stand out. Everything else is iffy since the overworld/town stuff is incredibly simplistic with mini-sprites and character portraits during dialogue. But if you love Final Fantasy VI or Chrono Trigger, than this kind of graphic style is nothing.

Sound/Music: Soundtrack was done by Noriyuki Iwadare who's quite talented at doing upbeat catchy themes and although music-wise it can get slightly repetitive, they're quite fun and the vocal tracks are quite stellar. Sound work otherwise is functional but not impressive as swords clang and enemies die with small groans but this isn't really one of those "immersive" sound worlds like Metroid or Bioshock where there is tons of ambience. The voice acting though is quite stellar and aside from the Metal Gear series, Lunar is usually mentioned among games that best use voice acting.

Gameplay: Lunar does something different (though not together uncommon) in that spells are actually gained when you obtain a certain level as opposed to finding them in the world, buying them from shops and the like. It encourages level grinding so you can obtain new spells though enemies can get just as bad since they can level up with you a little (mainly bosses though) but really it's just going through a dungeon, beating enemies - which are thankfully onscreen like Chrono series - finding item chests and making it to the boss and whomping them. There's also some collectables called bromides which are character artworks that show up as mini-cutscenes and since the ladies are quite lovely to ogle, I like collecting the things.

Since there was extra care in the making of the game, we get some added stuff like the cd soundtrack, an artbook with a readily-available walkthrough inside (complete with funny captions, character artwork and interviews with game developers) and a map. Might not be the absolute best RPG to many people but there's lots of fans, myself included of course, and Lunar is one to pick up, or at least try.


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