All right, so I've decided that this time around for review, I'd actually keep a staff blog. Actually, the request by Paws, so I figured why not? I'm not sure how interesting my thoughts about the game will be to you guys, but maybe I'll be able to provide some insight as to what newcomers and old timers can expect from the PSP version.
A little background about Lunar and I: Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete was the first RPG I played and completed on the PlayStation, and until I had played Valkyrie Profile a few years later, it was my all time favourite RPG. Lunar had everything I liked in a good story: it was chalk full of humor, had a very sweet and heartwarming story to tell, and it was full of memorable characters who I felt I could connect with. Each character has their own inescapable flaw, and something about their flaws were something that made them feel so human. Lunar is a very emotional game. It's a game that wants you to invest in the story, love its characters and show you something more. While Valkyrie Profile may be my favourite RPG, Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete will always be one of those games that has shaped me, and it will always be a game I'll look back on with very fond memories.
Anyway, onto some initial impressions of the game.
02/05/10 - 1 hour, 30 minutes
Okay, so what's there to say about Lunar PSP? Well, for starters let's talk about the new lyrics to the intro song, formally known as "Wings." Let's do a bit of a comparison, shall we?
Original Working Design Lyrics
vs. XSEED's version.
I admit, when I first heard the new lyrics, I found myself remembering the lyrics of the original Working Designs version. Yes, I'm a huge nerd, I know the lyrics to "Wings" word for word. That being said, I actually adore the XSEED version a little bit more, if only because the lyrics make a lot more sense and show a lot of maturity. Unfortunately, the lyrics of the old Working Designs version just seem very dated. Again, nothing wrong with it, I'm just finding that the XSEED version is really growing on me. To be honest, I'm just happy to hear Jennifer Stigile's beautiful voice again.
The songs are and likely will be the biggest change for all the old timers, and while I haven't gotten to the boat song (tonight I'm determined to get there!) I think I'm giving the opening to Silver Star Harmony props just for the more mature lyrics. Yes, for the record I still like the WD version, mostly because it is the song I grew up with, and I think I'll always know the lyrics to that one.
One thing I'm enjoying about Silver Star Harmony is the newer scenes that weren't in the original WD version. It's really cool to have an impression about Dragonmaster Dyne that isn't just through the thoughts of the game's protagonist, Alex. That being said, I can't say much on that further, but for those who have played Lunar: TS and SSSC, this will be new and probably very interesting for you.
Let me also touch on the voice acting - while I share Macstorm's sentiments about the lack of John Truitt as Ghaleon, I found that the new voice actor really isn't half-bad. It's weird not to hear his distinctive
voice. On the other hand, it's oddly refreshing. The other VA I'm sad to say who I miss hearing was yes, Ashley Angel (from O-Town!) who was the original voice for Alex. Alex has always been this dorky, sweet boy with a sense of adventure, and in some ways he's bit on the bland side (for me any ways) compared to his companions. However, I really like Alex's new VA. In general I feel as though the VAs of the characters I've encountered are pretty good! I have yet to hear my two favourite character's in action yet, but rest assured I'll probably make some comments about them when I get to them.
Oh, and also while I'm use to Nall being high-pitched, his new VA seems too mellow by comparison. It's something I suppose I'll have to get use to.
As for the localization, so far I like the changes I've seen. It definitely has its own unique sense of humor and it's good to see the WD quirk that was out of place (like the the Wheaties reference) gone. The translation has a very good flow, and it's quirky in its own right. I've laughed outloud a few times actually, mostly because I've always been a huge fan of Ramus' opening lines and just some of the things he says cracks me up. This was a gem I read this morning that made me giggle:
Ramus: "That's the thing about girls, girls exist only to prevent men from having fun."
Yes, I died laughing there. Nall's reaction of "Luna's gonna kill us!" also scored a snort!giggle out of me. The characters just have fantastic chemistry.
How does the combat hold up? Well, this is one of the few things I'm noticing... this style of turnbased combat was fantastic years ago, but it's a shame for the remake that they really didn't tweak it in any way. It doesn't bother me too much, as I've always liked the combat system in Lunar. For those who have played TS and SSSC, this will not be foreign to you. The updated battle animations - now those are really awesome! I also love the graphics. In fact, I adore them. They look clean, but incredibly detailed. So much so that you can see the little details in Luna's dress. Also Chubby Ramus! Chubby Ramus! He's so adorable.
I've completed the first Dragon Trial, and now I'm on my way to the Ghoto Woods. More Lunar love once I've progressed a little further. I'm hoping to hit a specific point tonight, which I can't say, but my inner fangirl will probably come out when I get there.
More soon! And feel free to ask questions and I'll answer them the best I can. Hope you enjoy this blog!
2 hours, 40 minutes
02/08/10 - 7 hours
I'm officially seven hours into Lunar, and I can definitely say that this is a good remake. XSEED made a lot of changes to the script, and I'm finding a lot of what didn't make sense to me before, has made a lot more sense now. Also, I'm happy that the pop culture references are gone, mostly 'cause as much as WD had great humor, they shouldn't have been there in the first place. But the localization truly is a lot stronger than the WD text, and I appreciate XSEED's work at trying to keep the game truthful to its themes.
So where am I now? <span class="spoiler">Just getting ready to be betrayed.</span> I won't say much on that, so how's about we discuss the voice acting?
At first I wasn't sure how I felt about the voice acting, but now after hearing all the important character's voices, I have to say I actually like a lot of the voices. The only voices I'm not so keen on are Nall and Ghaleon. Nall, while not as high-pitched in the WD version, still sounds somewhat awkward to me. Ghaleon, I actually don't dislike the voice, I just keep wanting to picture John Truitt's very eerie voice, and I keep getting a more well-culture gentleman. Again, not a bad thing, but nostalgia dictates things that no longer are.
I absolutely love the new voice for Mia. Mia was a character I wasn't terribly fond of the first time I played the games, but I think I've come to appreciate her character now that I am a lot older. There isn't really a significant change from the original WD voice actress, but the new VA certainly keeps Mia's girlish charm in tact. Nash's voice is all right, but I sort miss hearing him say "Hello, kiddies!", but the change to peasants works a lot better. Kyle's VA retains the humor from the original game and has made me chuckle. Finally, Jess's is pretty good too. All in all the voices are great, although no one really does an outright standout performance. That might change once I get to some of the more difficult scenes in the game.
I've been pondering a lot lately as to whether I think this game has aged well. The combat system in some ways was so unique for its time, and for newcomers to the series I wonder if it's something they will be able to enjoy without feeling that it's old. I think for me personally, the story, while cliche and heartwarming still doesn't feel completely outdated, because one of Lunar's strengths is its characters. As I said before on the RPG Backtrack, while the characters are somewhat cliche, they are people whom players can easily identify with because these characters feel and act very human. Each character has a specific flaw that lapses their judgment, or causes them to be a certain way that hinders them from feeling any sort of strength. One of the best aspects about Lunar is that it's a game that wants the player to grow along side the cast.
So yes, this is something I've been thinking about. I still absolutely adore the combat, and it does certainly feel a lot more refined. I'm still getting use to fact that a few of the spells have been renamed. I keep thinking Riot as still being Thunder Cloud.
Any ways, more soon!
02/09/10 - 9 hours
The <span class="spoiler">Kyle in drag</span> scene made me snort on the bus so loud this morning I had people turning and looking at me funny. Can't help it, he's just so funny and I love him to pieces. Anyway, progress, progress.... I'm finally on the Marius Continent, and I finally have my full party. I am off to find a dragon - just not the Divinity II kind.
Here's the game's new quote of the moment:
Kyle: "I'm going to become the greatest sex symbo- I mean hero!"
More soon. Also, I want Tempest and Francesca now. They were super hot.
02/12/10 - 14 hours
Long time no update! I've been really busy lately, but I've still managed to put into lots of hours into Lunar. I'm on my way to Myght's Tower in search of the Black Dragon. I finally got to see the sexy couple, Tempest and Francesca. I know I keep saying that, but seriously, those two are hawt.
A few points of interest:
- Went to the Athena Spring's and got the male bath scene. The male who's bath scene I got? Nash! And it's a hilarious two second clip 'cause in the background Nall goes "EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!" while makes this smug grin. I love Nash. So stuck up. He also has terrible hair as it looks like something outta Grease.
- The Shrine of the Blue Dragon is awesome looking in the remake. One thing in particular I liked about it is when you warp to the next area, a small geyser takes you to the next room and all you hear is this "tunk" sound.
- <span class="spoiler">The singing scene to open the Blue Dragon Temple. Kyle's new VA is simply HILARIOUS. What I love is he just makes up the words as he goes along and totally sounds like he's broken a couple of windows. I was laughing so hard at that, that I must have disturbed the gentleman beside me on the bus. Jess and Kyle sounded awful, Nash and Mia have no harmony (Nash's singing voice is funny too).</span> Easily this is one of the best scenes of the game.
- Localization keeps getting better and better.
Things That Sadden Me:
- After much pondering I've decided that yes, the combat in this game is very outdated. While it's not a bad thing (it's still very solid, especially with the addition of the super moves), because of how old the combat is, slogging through battles is starting to feel like a chore. It also doesn't help considering that the encounter rate in this version i probably on par with the WD version. For newbies that means it's very HIGH.
- Dungeons are a lot shorter. This isn't necessary a bad thing, but because of how small and cramped they are, it makes it difficult to move around or avoid encounters. Also, despite the high encounter rate, the game is surprisingly easy... which saddens me considering I'm use to the game being far more difficult than this and am use to having a few game overs by now. I've had a total of ONE game over, and it was because I went into the Forbidden Forest too early and the enemies smacked me good.
- Lyton Cave still sucks.
- Royce's voice is dreadful. Xenobia on the other hand, sounds hot. Maybe it's because she sounds like a certain redhead I love...
More soon. Hopefully by the next update I'll be in the Frontier.
02/15/10 - 21 hours
I roughly have about two to three hours left to go in the game. I just finished <span class="spoiler">Althena's Ascension </span> and I'm on my way to uncover the last major mystery of the game... which I already know.
Seriously, the final scene in the Grindery is always really cool. Especially with the *spoiler* moment. It's a very powerful scene, and it makes you want to cheer on Alex and Co. even more.
I really can't get over the graphical changes and just all the movement in the backgrounds. It's simply stunning to look at. I also got to Tabin and my favourite Nash scene. Nall and Kyle always seem to be in competition for me for the best lines in the game. Also drunk!Kyle continues to say some of the most brilliant things. I wish i could remember more of the lines word for word, but considering I've been working the Toronto Autoshow all weekend, I didn't have time to write any of the lines down.
Anyway, I am a Dragonmaster now! It's time to go save the world, finish the game and write the review. The last time you guys hear from me, I'll have finished the game. Sorry for such a quick post.
02/16/10 - 23 hours
The game is completed, and it still gives me that same sweet feeling I felt nearly ten years ago. Even after this fourth time through playing Lunar, it still seems to have the same effect on me as it did long ago. There's something sweet, beautiful and romantic about this game that always seems to keep drawing me back in.
Anyway, I'm not going to say much else. The game is great, though it's going to be a big challenge to write the review. I'll leave the blog open in case anyone has questions. Look for thereview on March 2nd!