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Lunar Harmony of Silver Star: TGS 2009 Hands-on

By Janelle | September 24, 2009 at 8:20 am

I picked up the PSP’s upcoming LUNAR remake in the middle of the first icy cave. The first thing that jumped out was obviously the graphical overhaul. The sprites have been given a nice treatment, but I was especially impressed at first by the color and smoothness of the environments. Everything was vivid and brought out the dungeon really well, which makes me wonder what kind of makeovers dungeons like Dull Drab Cave #3 will have.

I saw a slime, and steered Alex over to engage it. The battle system has had some minor adjustments. It looks like the option to just move has vanished, but it appeared that the AI behavior could be customized. A good tradeoff. Since the enemies were easy slimes, I just had everyone attack, and again, the graphics jumped out at me, this time because of how expressively the sprites animated. Luna, when attacking, would run a few steps back, turn around, and sling a stone: you could tell she was using a sling because of the way her sprite animated, not because a weapon graphic showed up that looked like a sling. Ramus did a sort of run and cover routine when he would advance to attack, and would kind of thrust his sword out in front of him while pulling back reluctantly, like the coward he is. The personality that showed up graphically was great. This is what remastered graphics should do: not just provide eye candy, but enhance the story or gameplay in some way.

The menus are redone in a faster, cleaner interface, so you can see what you need to very quickly. Another plus.

After a few battles, rather than push on, I exited the cave to see what the town looked like and found another change. Rather than walk around a world map, you select where you want to go and are taken there instantly. At least as instantly as PSP load times will allow. Unfortunately, the loading happens often in a town, going in and out of houses, and each load is upwards of five seconds, making exploring a bit of a chore.

Basically, I felt that the system revamps were good, and the graphics were fresh and done just right, but the load times are a hassle. Other than the load times, though, the game seems to play pretty well.

Topics: LUNAR: Harmony of Silver Star, Previews, Tokyo Game Show 2009