(www.lunarsilverstarharmony.com) Rated Teen by ESRB. Lunar is a game with a long history – its first iteration was released in 1992 on the Sega CD console. Over the years, it’s been remade and improved so many times that even the most loyal fans will have to count to know the number of remakes. Its first remake was for the Sega Saturn, which was then ported to PlayStation – and later translated into English for its first North American release. Then there was a Gameboy Advanced version with some deviations from the original story. Almost 2 decades after the original, this classic RPG is revived once again, on the PSP this time.

(www.lunarsilverstarharmony.com) Rated Teen by ESRB. Lunar is a game with a long history – its first iteration was released in 1992 on the Sega CD console. Over the years, it’s been remade and improved so many times that even the most loyal fans will have to count to know the number of remakes. Its first remake was for the Sega Saturn, which was then ported to PlayStation – and later translated into English for its first North American release. Then there was a Gameboy Advanced version with some deviations from the original story. Almost 2 decades after the original, this classic RPG is revived once again, on the PSP this time.

Presentation:
All RPGs involve a story, and Lunar has one of those classic stories which elements are immediately recognizable. It is easy to identify who’s who in the story and what will become of them as the story goes. But its story telling is so well-crafted that it can be appreciated time and time again, much like the many fairy tales that still appeal to many grown ups. With that said, it is now fair to say that Lunar’s story is still enjoyable so many years later, despite the many similar stories that had been used over the years.

The story follows Alex, a boy living in a remote village of the world who longs to become the next great hero. This similar tale has many ups and downs, each bringing the player along with ease. The characters are full of personality, thanks to the many lines of text-based dialogs. It is refreshing to rediscover its wonders. Even with limited voiced lines, the enthralling tale still delivers after all these years. Not to mention it is much better delivered than most contemporary games.

       

Graphics:
There are some obvious improvements upon its PlayStation reincarnate of 1999. Although still using hand-drawn, anime style graphics, this PSP version of Lunar is a lot more crisp and detailed than its predecessors. When compared to other handheld RPGs, the graphics of Lunar: Silver Star Harmony is detailed and there is a distinct lack of jagged edges.

Sounds:
The sounds won’t be surprising to fans of Lunar. The music is as memorable as they have always been. The music rings as though they have just been heard yesterday even years have passed since playing the last Lunar. But that is not to compare it to cheesy one-hit-wonders, Lunar’s music are more like timeless classics.

       

Gameplay:
This remake of Lunar is very much like Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete. For those who hadn’t experienced Lunar before: Lunar is a traditional JRPG that involves moving a character around various towns and dungeons, talking to different NPCs and defeating monsters to advance in the story. Many classic RPG elements are present, including stats, equipments, and items. All these added together equal to a healthy dose of nostalgia no matter if the player had previously encountered Lunar before or not.

The gameplay is highly straightforward, with a little time put into level-training and it is possible to proceed through the entire game without using any items. But even so, it would not be wise to try and rush through the game, as attempting to do so would be detrimental to one’s mental health. This particular version of Lunar trains the player’s patience by 2 consistent methods: the dramatically lengthy attack animations and the climactic exit screen fade. The latter gives the player roughly 5 seconds worth of serenity every time Alex exits a screen, with a dynamic fading effect. While the screen fades and the game loads for the next screen, the player may use that time to reminisce the previous slide in the journey.

       

Innovation:
Although Lunar is a classic, it is also one of the earliest RPGs to not have enemies and allies line up at the opposite end of a battlefield. As supposed to having 2 neat lines and the characters come out, attack, and then politely walk back; Lunar features a somewhat mobile battle field. In this turn-based battle system, characters move around the battlefield and can use a physical attack only if they can move close enough to a target. There are also different spells with different area effects.

Conclusion:
Over the years, Lunar is loved and loved again. Even though its endearing journey probably won’t make anyone bawl like a baby since it’s no tragedy, it had and will jerk a few tears here and there. There are also some new contents included: the prologue is lengthier than it was before and provide some extra information, the “arts gauge” allows for another option to take apart the opposition, the ability to use PSP’s sleep function makes Lunar far more convenient and accessible than it had ever been. In short, Lunar Silver Star Harmony is an old classic and it shows in many ways – its older and lengthier combat may not be appreciated by some, but its timeless tale of courage, friendship, and love will reach out to all who encounters it.

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