Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete - Retroview

Working Designs Debut Is Worth Its Weight in Silver

By: Robust Stu

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 5
   Interface 5
   Music/Sound 6
   Originality 2
   Plot 8
   Localization 9
   Replay Value 4
   Visuals 6
   Difficulty Hard
   Time to Complete

40 Hours


Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete

   Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete was a game that, while not on the level of a Final Fantasy game, was fairly heavily anticipated. It was a re-release of a game called Lunar: The Silver Star, and set the standard for Working Designs' remakes. They improved nearly everything, making this the sleeper hit of 1999.

   You play Alex, a young boy who dreams of one day becoming a Dragonmaster like his idol Dyne, who fell while defending the world. To this end, he sets off one day seeking adventure, and it changes his life forever as he, along with many friends he will meet along the way, get caught up in a quest to stop a madman from reviving an ancient evil and taking over the world. This game had a great story which is inspiring if nothing else, as your party of mostly normal people have personalities that don't necessarily fit into the heroic archetype, and in the end must face up to the possibility of their own inadequacy to do the job that is required of them. While they may not be as funny as they were at the time, this game also throws in a series of pop culture references that don't necessarily add much to the story, but are fun to see nonetheless.

   The battle system takes the turn based model of classic RPGs and very slightly mixes it with strategy games. What this means is that you have your standard fight, item, magic, special attack commands against a group of enemies as usual, but the difference is that for physical and certain special attacks, your party member has to be close enough to the enemy to perform the move. As your characters level up, they're able to move farther on the battle screen, but it is possible to waste a character's entire turn just walking up to the enemy.

Kyle is one bad dude
Kyle is one bad dude  

   The graphics were good, but not of blow away quality. But then again, Working Designs wasn't looking to make it a graphical masterpiece, but simply trying to remake the game and give it a classic feel. Therefore the backgrounds and characters may look somewhat simplistic and 16-bitish, but I will say that they made great use of the PlayStation's color palette, and the animation was terrific, even giving you a feeling of nostalgia in a strange sort of way.

   The music was also good in an enhanced 16-bit sort of way. While obviously not composed with the PlayStation's hardware capabilities in mind, it is nonetheless very good. There were several good tunes such as the rocking battle music and some of the later dungeons had really cool songs. Yeah, it sounds like a 16-bit game but I happen to like 16-bit games and their soundtracks, so I think this game sounds great musically. The sound effects were probably more up to date, as all the slashes, castings and pretty much everything else sounded realistic and made this game fun to play.

   The localization was very good, but with an asterisk. The actual translation was very, VERY well done as this was probably one of the most natural sounding Japanese-made RPGs I've ever played. This makes the game perhaps more fun to play than it otherwise would be, and that's a definite plus. The only thing that might take away from it is the aforementioned pop culture references. While they didn't bother me in the slightest and I actually enjoyed them, there has been a decent amount of backlash because of that. The localization is good, but BEWARE THE POP REFERENCES!

   This is a good game, but doesn't have much in the replay value department. Yes, it's very fun but if you've played it once, there really isn't much else to do in the game on a second play through and you may want to move on if you have a stack of RPGs awaiting your attention. It is fun though, so it may warrant a second play through a ways down the line.

Meet the gang
Meet the gang  

   Admittedly, this wasn't the most original game in the world, but Working Designs was trying for a 32-bit game with a classic feel, so this is what you got. The story was somewhat clichéd and predictable, it was linear, and had the classic style battle system, so don't expect many new features from this game.

The game is a good length, such that it's long enough, but you won't get to the end and think, "Is this game OVER yet?" I personally took about 40 hours to get through Lunar, and since there really isn't much else to do except follow the storyline, it probably shouldn't vary too much for you.

This is a very good classic RPG that any RPGamer should have in their collection. While it is an enhanced 16-bit game and little more, it was very fun and I enjoyed it a lot. If you're looking for a masterpiece with FMV and groundbreaking battle and magic systems, this isn't the game for you. If, however, you're looking for a great classic style RPG to play on the PlayStation, this is well worth the money. It hasn't been produced in years, but you might still find a copy on the used games rack at EB. If you do, give it a try and get ready for a very fun 40 hours.

Highly Recommended.

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