I'm a fan of Lunar. I begged for and was given a Sega CD and copy of Lunar: The Silver Star for Christmas back in 1993. I played it almost non-stop to completion and kept my Sega CD hooked up for quite sometime after that to play more. Years later I was first in line at my EB to pick up Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete for the PlayStation. While I wasn't a fan of the visible enemies, feeling that they actually increased the number of encounters from the initial random rate of the Sega CD release, I did love that the story was fleshed out and the additional scenes were fantastic. But enough of my history, how does Lunar: Silver Star Harmony hold up? As well as the PlayStation version, that's how.
"Fear not, Silver Star Harmony is on par with the best versions of Lunar and is nothing like the soulless Lunar Legend."
In the interest of full disclosure, I was just informed by XSEED that I've received a special thanks in the credits for this game. I let XSEED Games borrow my copy of Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete for a few months and in kind, was thanked for it. I didn't work on the game or anything like that, but I will not be providing our initial review regardless.
The biggest issue that people seem to have a problem with is the localization. Those who played the original two releases (who really counts Legend?) are curious as to how this game holds up to the work of the now-dead Working Designs. Some hope that the translation is closer to the original Japanese while others are longing for a return to WD's quirky roots. The good thing is, both crowds should have little to complain about here. The dialogue is still as humorous as ever, but the dated pop culture references are gone.
The voice actors are all new, but the only two that I truly have noticed are Nall and Ghaleon, as the others weren't that memorable to me in the first place. For purists, the biggest changes are the new lyrics for the game's two songs and the lack of John Truitt as Ghaleon. They have clearly changed, but whether or not they are better or worse is a matter of perspective. As someone who knows the lyrics to the Sega CD and PlayStation versions by heart, it's slightly jarring to have new lyrics to a tune I've known for a long time. It might have been better to have completely new songs, but I have no issues with the lyrics or the way they fit. It's just a matter of my mind expecting one thing and getting another. As far as Ghaleon's new voice actor, he's clearly lacking John Truitt's style, but from what little I've heard of him I can't complain yet. The voice acting in the early parts of the game are mostly brief intros, so it will take some time to see how things turn out later on.
As far as the rest of the game goes, it's fairly straightforward. Combat is turn-based with characters taking turns moving around the field, attacking only if in range. Characters can gain the ability to attack more times per turn as they progress. While I still miss having fewer encounters like in the Sega CD version's combat system, Silver Star Harmony doesn't overwhelm you. The fact that characters get their health and magic restored upon gaining a level really helps as well. It's possible to save anywhere, so this makes this release portable-friendly. The rest of the interface is much like the rest of the game, and is fairly simple and easy to use. The game does start with a new story scene detailing the four legendary heroes and their past adventures, but it's fairly brief and I can only hope there are more.
For anyone who has played Lunar on the PlayStation, don't expect the game to be remarkably different from that experience. If you've not played Lunar before or haven't played it in a long time, there is nothing about Silver Star Harmony that should stop you from enjoying the experience, at least from where I stand right now at nearly ten hours in. Love it or hate it, the changes are minor enough that anyone who seriously is offended by them is just looking to nitpick. The characters and world are every bit as alive as they were during the Working Design days. Fear not; Silver Star Harmony is on par with the best versions of Lunar and is nothing like the soulless Lunar Legend. Don't expect it to break much new ground, but with purists as they are, major changes aren't what most are looking for.