Remember Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete on the PS1? Wasn’t it awesome? Yeah it was. Remember Lunar: Silver Star Story for the Sega CD? That game wasn’t as great, but still light-hearted and fantastic. Remember that Lunar remake on the GBA? That wasn’t so great. Are we done with versions of Lunar now? Are you sure there are no more remakes of this damn game? You absolutely certain? There may be a fan-remake for Texas Instruments scientific calculators, but I have honestly never checked. Ah! PSP, damn you! Sneaking out another version of this game, you should be ashamed of yourself, especially after that poor showing on the GB…wait, this version, it’s good? Fuck. Guess it’s time to play Lunar, AGAIN.
Then again, there are far worse games I could be playing. Like Final Fantasy 13, or Superman 64.
Or WoW. Hell, at least this isn’t WoW.
At least it’s good. Damn good actually. While I thought the graphics of the PS1 version of Lunar were colorful and had character, it did kinda look like it was made in RPG maker at times. Harmony decided to make things just as colorful, but add that 2.5-d depth to the whole affair, which makes towns and dungeons alike damn nice to look at. All the characters have a silly amount of detail to them, Alex even wearing the Dragonmaster Helmet in his battle sprite this time around. This is a welcome bit of change, despite the move to a portable, smaller screen. Doesn’t hurt the PSP has a big, portable and purty screen.
The battle system is the Lunar of old. It doesn’t bother changing things like the GBA version did. It is the same, movement, lightly-position based fight mechanics that leave the battles quick and fun. A few improvements are even made. The limit-break style attacks make a return from the GBA version, giving some nice variety to the battles, and allowing you to blow through the dungeons rather quickly if you know how to wait and use the attacks. Also it appears the strength of enemies have been increased, while boss battles have been made blessedly shorter. It balances things a bit better, which is also helped by naturally easing out the leveling curve, making it where stopping to grind endlessly is never really something you need to do, as long as you tackle each dungeon well, and not trying to avoid every battle you can.
However, as much as I loved the games, there are issues. The load times. Oh the fucking load times. Everything takes time to load, even rounds between a random encounter. The loading extends the fight time by so much that my PSP screen dims if I don’t hit any of the buttons while the enemies are doing their thing.
While the loading thing is annoying, it is by no means the gravest sin of this game. Now before I get into this, I have to say this complaint may be because the fine folks of the former Working Designs nailed this part a little too well. The bar may have been set too high, and I get that. But the sound, and more specifically, the songs are not nearly as good in this game. The re-done lyrics are not as good, and hearing the new songs does nothing but make me want to play the PS1 game. A remake should not be doing that.
To that end, this game, who is it for? It isn’t the crowning achievement the PS1 remake is, nor is it the pile of cobbled together crap of the GBA. It is a step forward, and two steps back. I had fun with it, and is certainly worth the time if you want to get more mileage out of your PSP; but really you have the PS1 remake, go clutch your cloth map and pop that into your PS3. But before you do that, go stick the disc in a CD player, fun stuff.
Final Score (That’s right, I am doing scores now): 7/10.