Lunar Silver Star Harmony is a remake of the classic PS1 RPG Lunar: Silver Star Story. The PSP sees a lot of ports and remakes, some good and some bad. Being a part of the PlayStation family, it seems obvious to use the handheld to bring some of the RPGs of days gone by back to life, in the form of an updated remake. Meaning it will bring an entirely new audience to the series. The Lunar games have had their ups and downs though, and the series has not always been at its finest. The original game was fantastic, although very tough. The sequel wasn’t as hard or as memorable, but was an overall fun experience. Then things went quiet, until Lunar Legend, a GBA version, was released.
Lunar Legend was…not quite up to par. Of course no one expected it to be an exact port of the PS1 game, but what people got was a gimped, sub-par version, with many battles removed, dungeons shortened or removed, and difficulty lowered so much, the game could be completed in two days tops. Then came Lunar: Dragon Song for the DS, a prequel to the original game. A broken battle system and boring story brought this game down, and thus crushed our hopes of ever getting a great Lunar game again.
Well here we are 11 years after the release of the original, and we finally have a proper Lunar game that does the series justice. This remake is everything you could ask for and then some. Just how good is it? Let’s take a look at the HOTs and NOTs of Lunar Silver Star Harmony.
All the graphics have been revamped for this game. The original Lunar was released in 1995 on the Sega Saturn, so it comes as no surprise that the game looks very dated. The sprite animations were minimal at best, and while it was good at the time, its very dated in today’s terms. Game Arts has done all new sprite animations and it really makes the game pop. The sprites are bright and colorful, and are rendered very well. Each one leaps off the screen and are full of personality. The environments have also been improved. The trees, the buildings, everything looks better and the colors are much more vibrant. This game looks very pretty, and it’s some of the best I’ve seen on the PSP in terms of 2D sprite animation.
Along with better graphics comes better music. All the original tracks remain, but have been rerecorded, so no more midi mono tunes. The original tracks remain intact, but now sound much better. There’s really not much more to say, just that you’ll love what you hear. The sound effects have also been improved, with more added in to give the game a more realistic sound design. The voices have also been rerecorded. The voice actors do their best, but the animation hasn’t been changed, so you still get the occasional fast-talking moment. At times, voice actors will go through a few sentences without stopping for a breath just to keep up with the animation. Still, the voices are fitting, although it is odd to hear different voices coming from these characters, especially Nall.
Gameplay is still solid.
The most important thing has remained almost completely untouched. While the graphics and music may have been dated, the gameplay of the original was solid, and has been ported over perfectly. The battle system is turned-based, and still requires your character to move into the right position to hit the enemy. This is classic RPG action at it’s finest.
For all its improvements, the game does have a few flaws. The biggest flaw is that this game is easier than the original, but for some this may not be a bad thing. The original game was brutal, and offered no mercy. It had some balance issues, and yes, it forced players to grind at times. This game has improved the balance issues significantly, so players won’t have to mindlessly grind just to earn a few levels to take down one boss. I noticed that even just the first dungeon in this version, I was able to make it through in one go, no deaths and no having to grind at the dungeon entrance. So like I said, it is easier, but for those unfamiliar with the game, or those who didn’t enjoy the challenge level of the original, this could be a positive.
Being a remake, people shouldn’t expect anything new from this game. You do get a bit more back-story on the history of Dragonmaster Dyne, which is awesome, but for the most part this is the same game. While this isn’t a bad thing, it may be a tad disappointing to someone looking for something new in terms of RPG gameplay. The style of game is very old-school, so for those looking for something similar to newer RPGs, you might find yourself a bit bored with the battle system. Still, I don’t consider this a bad thing per se, since this is a remake, gamers shouldn’t expect an overhaul of the game design.
Overall, Lunar Silver Star Harmony is the Lunar game we’ve wanted for years. It’s a faithful remake of the classic RPG that has everything we loved about the original, while removing most of what we hated. Is it the most original RPG? No, not by a long shot, but no one should expect it to be. It’s just a solid remake with excellent graphics, acting, and gameplay, and will fill the need for RPG junkies looking for something new.