Lunar Silver Star Harmony – First Impressions

The fourth iteration of the original Lunar game, Lunar: The Silver Star Story (there’s currently 5, but it’s really just a mobile friendly version of the second “Complete” version). This game is fondly remembered, not only for being one of the few quality games on the ill remembered Sega CD (or Mega CD for those outside of the US), or even one of the few traditional RPG’s on the console add-on. It’s just a quality game all around, and the remake on the original Playstation helped bring it into a larger audience (it’s also just a better version in general).

Before talking about this iteration of the game, it does beg the question of why Lunar 1 is the only game in the franchise that got so many iterations, and the second one only got a single remake. It’s a quality game in its own right, and depending on who you talk to, can be considered the better of the two. Maybe I’m just preaching to the choir, because I really enjoy Lunar 2. Aaaaanyway

Silver Star Harmony looks like an even more updated version of Complete, which isn’t a bad thing, it’s the superior of the three previous versions, complete with all the cutscenes and completely revoiced with new actors. The new voices sound pretty competent, and do sound less “Speed Racery” in the cutscenes. They did find a girl that sounds similar to Luna, and she can sing pretty well. Some of the new voices do take a bit of getting used to, but that’s just because they sound different instead of being bad. Most notably Nall. I’m used to him having a squeaky voice from the original CD and the PS1  versions, but his new VA seems pretty competent.

The graphics look really good compared to the older games, mostly because of it being on a more powerful system. It’s in an isometric view, so some of the new layouts of the towns and such will take a bit of getting used to, but it does give the game a bit more of a new feel to returning fans instead of just feeling like yet another rehash.

The music sounds really good as well. It’s still midi, but who cares if it still sounds good. The only major complaint I have about the soundtrack, is that the music fades out every time you change screens and starts up again when you get to a new screen. I’d understand if you were going to a spot with a change of music, as it’s kind of expected, but it’s really jarring when you’re going to a different screen in a town or dungeon (or enter a house), and the music stops, then starts back up again (at least it’s from where it left off). You’d think it’d be a simple thing to program to have it continue, as even basic programs like RPG Maker are able to do it. Who knows, it’s not game breaking, but it’s still an annoyance.

The gameplay and battle mechanics are largely untouched from the PS1 version. You can still move around the field and attack monsters based on your range, and Alex can still attack twice in a row. They even kept the aspect of being able to see the enemies on the field if you want to avoid them, though sadly they can still follow you around. It does make the concept seem null and void when many of the enemies are basically unavoidable. At least they didn’t bring back the random encounters from the Sega CD version. The biggest feature they added to this version, is that the characters basically have limit breaks. So like in Final Fantasy, the more you attack and such, your limit meter builds up. It also follows the FF10 model where you can save it for later, like Luna’s super heal when you’re in a tight spot in a boss fight.

Now a gripe, which is how the cutscenes are in a fairly low resolution. The 4:3 ratio is ignorable, as they most likely didn’t make those cutscenes in a wider screen format, but the low resolution videos seems like an odd choice. It looks really pixelated in many of the scenes, and was probably just copied straight from the PS1 game, and it’s not a PSP limitation, as other games have better video quality. It’s possible that those are the only versions of the cutscenes available for the staff.

Another possibility is that I’m playing it on the Vita, and on the PSTV, so it could make it more noticeable, like playing a PS1 game on the PS3. It does make the character images look more pixelated and the text more blurry, though some of the other PSP games I’ve played on the Vita don’t look like that. Who knows.

A gripe I do have with the game is the added intro to the game. While it does give some backstory to the game, it feels like a drag to go through a boss fight (which plays more like an interactive cutscene). It’s somewhat long and kind of annoying when you just want to get to the damn game.

Anywho, Silver Star Harmony so far is a very good remake of the game, and personally the best version of the game out there. Some might have nostalgia glasses on the older versions, or just prefer the top down nature of them, but it’s still enjoyable nonetheless.