Lunar: Silver Star Story Review
by Lassarina Aoibhell
Lunar Silver Star Story is a game that has been through a few transformations to get where it is. As it evolved from the ill-fated Sega CD to the Playstation, a number of features changed, but the basics stayed the same. All that said, on with the review.
As anyone who has read my reviews knows, I put the most stress on character development and storyline when I play a game. So, I'll start with characters. The characters in Lunar are well developed and interesting. They seem a bit young to me, but that's okay. Each character has conflicts to resolve, both outer and inner--such as the, uh, tempestuous relationship between Jessica and Kyle . . . Also, something else I appreciated is the fact that the characters were mainly original, and not stereotypes. I have to say, Nall is my favorite--the flying furball just cracks me up. But I digress. Overall, I would give the characterization an 8--it's good, but it just didn't grab me the way some games have.
The plot of this game is also well-developed. It has all the basics of an RPG storyline--young hero versus evil mastermind, and in the end, we all know that the young hero will triumph (if, that is, one beats the final boss.) That storyline is pretty much standard for RPGs. The hallmark of a good RPG--in my opinion--is one that keeps you guessing about the OTHER developments in between. Lunar SSS does this very well. I usually managed to guess the plot developments before they happened, but not MUCH before. The hooks were usually fairly good, and kept me interested, so I would give the plot a 9.
Music is another part of RPGs that I consider important, because in an RPG--as in a movie--music sets the mood for the events. The music in Lunar is fairly good--I'm fond of the vocal pieces, but that's just me. However, most of the music in Lunar is built around two central themes, if you will, that are repeated in most of the pieces. That gets annoying after a while--I prefer video games where the music is always different. I'd give the music about a 6.5--good, but not great.
And now, moving on to graphics . . . The anime sequences are, in my opinion, the best part of the graphics. The other graphics are good, in that it's pretty easy to figure out what's going on in the game. Personally, I wasn't overly fond of the graphic style . . . and as far as the anime goes, I can take it or leave it. There's nothing actually WRONG with the graphics, but they just aren't my thing. I'd give the graphics an 8.
Finally, there is gameplay. Personally, I was irritated by the gameplay. The characters were too individualized--Alex and Kyle were good at physical attacks; Jessica, Mia, Luna, and Nash were good at magic but bad at the physical--and it irritated me. Also, I've been spoiled by playing games in which there was an Active Time Battle system (ATB), like the Final Fantasy series, so having to wait for all the monsters to attack me, and then all of my party attacking in one fell swoop, annoyed me quite a bit. The other thing that really, really got on my nerves was the whole "range and movement" thing--an enemy has to be in "range" for your party members to attack it. That just drove me up the wall. To hit an enemy, your character basically moved into the center of the enemy party and made him/herself bait. All in all, the gameplay had more against it than for it. I would give it a 4.5.
Lunar SSS isn't a bad game--I would give it an overall score of 7.2. I guess it's just not my cup of tea. While I found it enjoyable, the gameplay was sufficiently annoying to discourage me from playing it a lot. After a week of playing nothing but Lunar, I gave up and moved right along to Star Ocean 2 because the battle system irritated me so much, and I returned to the game only sporadically after that. I guess it's all in what you're looking for in a game.
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