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Platform : PlayStation

Developer : Game Arts

Publisher : Working Designs

Players : 1

Format : 4 CDs (2 game CDs, 1 soundtrack, 1 making the game CD)

 

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Review

The RPG world today is lacking old-fashioned RPGs. What with all the new hardware being introduced these days, there's no room for good ol' school RPGs. Fortunately, there are some old school RPGs still being sold and made. One example out on the market today is Lunar 2: Eternal Blue. Lunar 2 and its predecessor made their first appearance on Sega's long defunct console, the Sega CD. The Lunar series caught the eyes of Working Designs and were soon ready to make their second, and hopefully, more popular release. Let me start the review by discussing the game's ELABORATE packaging. I bought the game for roughly $64 (that's plus tax) and what I got was more than a jewel case and CDs. First of all, the game comes in a heavily decorated box, filled with screenshots and character art. The box also has a tab which you can unstrap (yes, the box has Velcro straps!) so you can take a look at even more screenshots. Once you open the ridiculously heavy box, you're in for some more surprises. You get: the game's jewel case, which contains three CDs (2 game CDs, 1 making the game CD) ,a hard cover manual and over 160 full color pages, the Lunar soundtrack, a cloth map, little cardboard character stand-ups, and a full size pendant. Isn't that package something? No wonder it costs well over the price of an average RPG for any gaming platform. There's no way to buy the game without the package (at least in retail) so if you're interested in the game, you'll have to make the commitment. Is the game worth buying all that extraneous packaging? Let's find out..

The story begins with a lengthy anime FMV that shows scenes of drawings on walls and the Blue Star. Here we see a little bit of naughty action (the intro is just one of the places to find naughty scenes ^_^ ) We see Lucia, one of the main characters of the game, walking around a fortress of some sort on the Blue Star with no clothes on! While there is no actual nudity (the real naughty parts aren't drawn), it is something you don't see in your average RPG. She senses something amiss and we are transferred to the other main character of the story, Hiro. We see him hanging upside down with his annoying flying cat, Ruby, who claims she is a dragon. Hiro is off to steal some treasure and when he finally nabs it, traps spring out and we are treated to a run-from-the-boulder scene. Then the story begins with Hiro introducing himself. Once he gets outside, the player is given control of Hiro and you get to guide him back to good ol' grandpa. They later find out that the "treasure" Hiro found was actually a key into the Blue Tower, where Hiro meets Lucia (fully clothed this time :). This is where the story actually begins. Lucia was sent to Lunar to save it from an evil presence. Hiro decides to help her and they both go off on their adventure. The game's story is nothing out of the ordinary. Some bad guy threatens to destroy home planet, all hell breaks loose, and the heroes have to save the world from utter destruction. Yawn.. Nothing new in terms of story here. Character development is where Lunar 2 really shines. The game has over 7 useable characters. The game develops each character in his or her own separate scenario in the game. For example, when you first meet a character, you are greeted with a FMV of the character. Each character has his or her own mini-section, where we learn about them a bit more. That gives the game extra points in my book because I value good character development. 

The game plays like any run of the mill RPG. Kill monsters, level up, kill some more, eventually meet the bad guy, get your ass kicked by him, swear bloody vengeance, etc. The game mechanics differ a bit from the newer RPGs of today though. The mechanics are overly generic. There are no inns to recover hit points in, just a statue in which to pray on. The locations are small and simple. The towns and cities contain just the bare necessities: item store, weapon store, armor store, and statue. There are no mini-games, sub-quests, or secrets in this game. The only thing that's interesting is the bromide (portraits) collection. The game itself is too repetitive as well. First you go to a town, get weapons and items, go to a dungeon, clear it out, and repeat. The whole game is presented in that monotonous manner. Sometimes you'll meet a new character or see some FMV, other than that don't expect anything surprising. Even with all the repetitive gameplay, Lunar 2 provides over 20 hours of play. The game also offers an epilogue episode to play after the main quest has been completed. 

Since Lunar 2 was originally made for the Sega CD, it has nothing exciting to offer us graphics-wise. The game uses a primitive 2D graphics engine, similar to the ones used in RPG Maker. Despite the simplistic graphics, the game slows to almost a crawl when the area you're in happens to be foggy or when there are several effects onscreen. That's unacceptable for this type of engine, not to mention the platform it's being used on. The game uses the usual sound effects and employs plenty of voice acting. I'm no music critic, so as for the game's soundtrack, I'll have to say, "not bad". Lunar 2's use of voice acting tops Star Ocean's, but were still sub-par. You can tell the voice actors were reading from a script. While the anime FMVs were nice, the lip-synching was a bit off and the voice dubbing was piss poor, to say the least, rivaling Cartoon Network's horrible Tenchi Muyo. 

So is the game really worth buying? It's not all bad, it's just outdated. People's tastes in RPGs has changed since then, so you'll have to deal with some inconsistencies. 


Highs: Elaborate packaging; great character development and lots of core gameplay.


Lows: All that extra packaging raised the price; gets tedious and repetitive; so-so voice acting; faulty graphics engine.


Score : 73%


Final Word: There's better games for the price, so unless you're a Lunar fanatic, you may want to look somewhere for your nostalgia fix.

 

                                                                                                               - Toma