My Lunar: SSH review 6/10

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Aaron
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My Lunar: SSH review 6/10

Postby Aaron » Sat Mar 13, 2010 12:00 am

Does the game make the company or does the company make the game?

Analysis of the game itself:

Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 9/10
Fun: 6/10
Story: 9/10
Presentation: 5/10

Overall: 6/10

The game itself is joyfully bright and colorful. New life is breathed into the character's sprites. The amount of detail and care put into the sprites shows. It was really enjoyable to see familiar faces flushed out. And for those of you who are new to the series I'm sure you can agree those are some of the best 2d sprites you've seen in a game.

The music is also redone and especially poignant to people who are returning to Lunar.

But perhaps the best part of the new release was the additional lore added to the story. Some of the previous Dragonmaster's adventure was fleshed out. Unfortunately all it really did was cater to people who had already played Lunar. The scene itself didn't last longer then 5-10 minutes. The result is something that the average player would probably find lack luster as the bonds that develop between player and character are not established. I found myself watching strangely familiar characters regurgitate something from a Japanese melodrama. The problem was multiplied by the horrible voice acting.

Since I had the benefit of knowing who and what the relationships between the character's in the new scene I was deeply disappointed that Althena's decision wasn't fleshed out. What you get is a scene that neither adds nor takes away from the existing storyline. It was really just empty filler and at worse a cheap ploy to boost sales of yet another remake in this series.

But perhaps the best part of this version of Lunar comes when someone takes the knowledge of the previous versions and fills in the things that are missing here and there. The relationships between the main character's have added depth. It was great to see Jessica's character express herself in new ways. The same goes for all the other character's except for Alex & Luna. Those two stayed remarkably stale. Although in the beginning this version's Alex was far more aggressive then the previous versions. But toward the middle of the game Alex's input into random NPC conversations and even plot developments diminishes to a point of non-existence. The joy came in finding every NPC and talking to them. Finding out what the citizens of Lunar have to say after almost every single plot development was a novel and enjoyable aspect of the game. Everyone had an opinion, it was great. Unfortunately, it's not without its flaws. Every single NPC dialogue had these strange vertical black bars that appeared. It was completely annoying.

The “tricks” used to transition the player into a major plot development scene were just bad choices. All of them use either a fade to black or fade to white technique. Toward the middle of the game it was predictable and bland. A lot of it was just simple appearing and disappearing sprites. Or layering special effects on top of sprites. Or worse, is when the characters board dragons they walk into them and disappear! Battle effects like an exploding roof or exploding engine are implied and not quite realized. The result is something like an NPC having to explain what just happened visually. You might as well play MUD. Nothing was fluid or smooth. Everything had to stop and go. NPC's popped in and out, it is completely unappealing. It just looks like an amateur team handled the development, it really shows.

Unfortunately in the English version although the WD script remains largely unchanged the feeling and awe doesn't translate into this version. Xseed's translation choices ranged from a simple copy & past to adding unnecessary changes. Example: the ending. It is literally verbatim, except they added a few extra erroneous words that end up diluting the emotional impact of the scene. But I doubt how much that would have mattered considering the voice actors threw off the emotions in the scenes.

The combat system was absolutely horrible. I avoided battles like the plague. I found every single battle extremely easy, and extremely slow. The combination of the two turned what used to be enjoyable battles into punishment. The worst part of the game came when the Fluffy Bug had to be captured. It added maybe an extra hour of unnecessary grinding. Additionally the list of spells available to the player is astonishingly short for an RPG these days. Not to mention the effects were lack luster, and unprofessional. Whenever the character's moved across the screen they slid, they had no run animations, I found that particularly annoying. Many of Nash's spells looked unnatural and unfinished when compared to the other character's spells. And the Art's gauges kept all boss battles under 5-10 minutes if you are lucky. Whats worse is that a lot of the difficulty problem could be fixed by not letting character's regain full health after leveling up. The stats seem to have no relevance in the fight. AGI & STR seem to do nothing. It really only depended on the weapon. If you had the right weapon for the right environment then you would do well. But sacrificing the ability for Nash to use a bow in favor of a staff that raises his Wisdom is worthless. The added stat bonus did nothing to change the spell damage that was cast upon monsters. So you might as well have the bow equipped. The same thing happened with Armor. I found Kyles ultimate weapon & armor and the armor only increased maybe a few stat points but when he donned his ultimate gear suddenly he took half damage. It was irritating.

The Dungeons were stupefyingly simple. All of them except for the Talon Mines and maybe the Grindery were linear. You merely followed a path with a branch that lead to a dead end once in a while. And with the few treasure chests you find you are either rewarded or punished for what you get. Mostly its a useless healing item, or a couple grand of Silver. But when you find an item to equip it is rather rewarding.

The item system was horrible too. There was no sort button so everything was sorted by use and by category automatically. But the problem was that the items seemed to keep jumping around in the list as new things were acquired. Finding the Dragon Wings was a pain, I think that the ease of this system would be extremely complimented by creating an individual sprite for each item. Visual identification is usually much easier then having to read through a list of non alphabetical items to find what you are looking for. And because the battles were so easy, I used maybe 5-10 healing items the whole game. Toward the end I had no need for Ramus's free items. I had acquired over 60x healing items in each category. Also the L & R buttons were not used in the menu system. Which I found odd considering how easy it would be to press it to switch categories, especially during the view Status screen! The choice of font was hard on the eyes and I had difficulty finding things like Titles and sub categories in the Status Menu.

Another thing I did not like about this game was the long, & frequent load times. I used the a UMD version but I have heard that the PSN version isn't as bad. But regardless, most people will be using the UMD version and the load times are bad. You enter a house, it loads. Not only does it load, but it fades the music! So you're left in the dark for a second or two and its dead silent. I hated having to travel on the over-world map because it seemed pointless. Why couldn't I just choose a town name to go to? Why even give the player the option of choosing where to go since your bound by the plot. Once you get the Dragon Wings the loading problem is significantly reduced but traveling within towns that have more then one screen was painful.

So in short, my positive bias for this game really blinded me to what would have been a really bad purchase in my eyes. It really really feels like they half assed this one. Maybe they're just testing the waters, or maybe (more likely) Game Arts has been depleted of a lot of its original team. Unfortunately, for us they seem to be building their skills with Lunar.

But maybe that's a good thing. Maybe now a new generation can get the Lunar that we have always wanted. And with a majority of reviews being positive, I'm sure Lunar's fanbase is going to grow. I guess that means I have to look forward to an Eternal Blue remake & a new Lunar!


Analysis in comparison with older versions:
I waited months in anticipation for the newest reincarnation of Lunar. While the storyline, hasn't changed much from the Lunar Complete remake there were a few things I took issue with.

I would have liked to see Damon get an full avatar/portrait.
More spells
More on Althena, Dyne, & Ghaleon's relationship
A more complete game - No glitches
More new content
More interactive intangible objects (Books, fireplaces, dressers, statues)
Ability to turn off voice acting and add subtitles
Sprites for items
Faster load times
MUCH better animations (Battle animations, special event animations)
New Bromides
Optional Special Dungeons (Similar to Lunar EBC but not in epilogue)
Some tasteful ending with Nall seeing his friends die off...or something to do with Nall being all alone and older.

I really didn't like how the world of Lunar really got condensed in this version. Towns are smaller, and have fewer NPCs. The over-world map completely demolished any sense of travel in Lunar. You really miss out on the feeling that you're traveling far away from home when all you have to do is watch a sprite move on a map after selecting a city. Even the dungeons were smaller. There were at most 3-5 maps in each dungeon. And since a lot of the monsters could be dodged you could breeze through a dungeon in maybe 15 minutes.

I was slightly shocked to find that there were no new dungeons. How can you do a remake without adding an optional dungeon? At least the Complete series added new dungeons. And since we're remaking things why not reorganize the world of Lunar to sync together? Add in the Blue Spire or the Star Tower. I want to see links to the past and future. All we got was a cheap remake that didn't add anything except a few things here and there.

I'd like to see Nall comment on his friends passing. I think that would be a nice addition. Or maybe the very end of Luna recording the message for Lucia. Also, WD's excellent choice to require players to serenade Luna at the end has been removed. I didn't feel like it took anything away from the scene. But I think that the WD version is far superior. I remember the fear of dying was lot more realistic when I saw my HP drop dramatically. Xseed's version didn't have that.

I think that Xseed's choices in translating this have really effected the quality of this rendition. I expect that when Xseed does Eternal Blue (My personal favorite) nothing will have changed.

I think it has largely to do with an audience who doesn't know how much more they could have. How much more they should expect and how much more they deserve. Much of these JRPG games are just gobbled up for no reason other then the fact that they have anime in it. That mentality shows. I just wish Xseed and all localizing companies had someone who could balance their desire to leave a mark on the game and what sounds good in a game. A lot of my feelings of this are fleshed out in another thread and I don't want to revisit it here. But I just couldn't get over how bad the changes were. Unfortunately there is a Catch-22 I have almost no power over who gets to localize this or future Lunar games. And if I want to see Lunar grow I have to support them by buying a copy of their games. So I in the end I do this for Lunar.
Last edited by Aaron on Fri Mar 19, 2010 3:29 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: My Lunar: SSH review 6/10

Postby whitedragon_nall » Sat Mar 13, 2010 1:33 am

I don't really agree with several of your complaints (loading, fading, black bars, VA's), but I would have liked to see the prologue be more "robust". I did really enjoy it though. I felt the Lunar feeling was present in this game as well.

The battle system felt almost unchanged to me too....except for the lack of challenge. If EB gets a remake, they really need to ramp up the difficulty. I rarely used the Arts just so to make the game harder. And I couldn't agree more about the item system. If you don't put in a sort all button, at least let me manually sort them.

I would have given the game an 8/10 at least....9/10 at most.
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Re: My Lunar: SSH review 6/10

Postby Aaron » Sat Mar 13, 2010 1:57 am

Thanks for reading the review. I just think this game had some flaws that really made it stumble upon itself. There was something I wanted to add to the review but I forgot...eh oh well.

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Re: My Lunar: SSH review 6/10

Postby ShindoW » Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:08 am

I skimmed over the review. Although I'm only half through the game and I do think the PSX version is superior to this one (and when I finish TSS, to the PSX ect.) I think you were being a little harsh. Most of the complaints were glitch-wise, it seemed.

I noticed the dialogue was signifigantly different in the beginning but as the story grew on the cutscenes were almost line for line-- kind of a relief and kind of an annoyance. Pick one or the other, XSeeD ;)

As for EB... I actually like having an easy version of SS. It makes it great for a quick run through and was obviously there to make it portable. I just never used Arts except to clear a screen of enemies or quick kill a boss... I do miss the challenge, so that said, let's make an Easy or Difficult option...
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Re: My Lunar: SSH review 6/10

Postby Lunar Eclipse » Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:35 am

My one major annoyance is the way that turn order is reworked. While it's nice that there's a bit of randomness to it so that the strategy isn't always exactly the same, it's really annoying when you get a single sword swipe followed by all the enemies attacking in quick succession. They should've just made it so that the turn order randomized in an often disadvantageous way if you got caught from behind by an enemy or something.

That aside, I prefer SSH to SSSC if only for the overall effect. I know it's a point of some disagreement, but I much prefer most of the new voice actors, and the rest of the presentation is pretty undeniably better (music, graphics, cutscene quality, expanded characterization, etc.). Plus, I think the script was cleaned up quite nicely such that most of the dated references became a bit more enduring while still being fun. I was also glad to see some of the annoyingly juvenile humor disappear (added sound effects for Myght's intro video, etc.).
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Re: My Lunar: SSH review 6/10

Postby whitedragon_nall » Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:36 am

Aaron wrote:Thanks for reading the review. I just think this game had some flaws that really made it stumble upon itself. There was something I wanted to add to the review but I forgot...eh oh well.

It's not too late to add it. This is your review thread. :mrgreen:
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Re: My Lunar: SSH review 6/10

Postby GhaleonOne » Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:37 am

I'll have to open up a reviews section to host anyone that wants to post them (and also links to all the reviews out there on the games).
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Re: My Lunar: SSH review 6/10

Postby Silver Phoenix » Sat Mar 13, 2010 3:29 am

I'm sure you'll want that 1/10 bullcrap review to be the shining example, right? ;)

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Re: My Lunar: SSH review 6/10

Postby GhaleonOne » Sat Mar 13, 2010 4:53 am

Well, I'd obviously wanna proof anything first before accepting it.
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Re: My Lunar: SSH review 6/10

Postby Aaron » Sat Mar 13, 2010 6:35 am

I remembered what I forgot. Why didn't they add any optional dungeons?! They could have made it harder then the other dungeons. It would be interesting.

See the section about the comparisons between this Lunar & Previous ones.

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Re: My Lunar: SSH review 6/10

Postby Shiva Indis » Sat Mar 13, 2010 8:58 am

Aaron wrote:Some tasteful ending with Nall seeing his friends die off...or something to do with Nall being all alone and older.
Lunar ends on too many positive notes! Something must be done!! :P

Anyway.

I'm with you in missing the many item icons of the older games, and I every time I hunt for the Dragon Wings I longed to see Tales-esque sorting options. I really wish Xseed could have addressed the difficulty and I would have welcomed a bonus dungeon too. I still look at the weird path into the mountains on the Katarina map and wish that it led somewhere...
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Re: My Lunar: SSH review 6/10

Postby Lunar3coming » Sat Mar 13, 2010 12:41 pm

I don't know if I'd go with a 6/10 on this one...
Despite some of the varied quality in voice acting, I'd still say that the game itself at least merits a 7/10 or 8/10.

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Re: My Lunar: SSH review 6/10

Postby Sonic# » Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:19 pm

This is a pretty good list of the glitches. Strangely, some of them I haven't noticed (the black bars - could that be only on certain systems?), and others haven't bothered me (the load times). The one that does get me is the silence while cutscenes and areas are loading. If they could have made the music continue into the next area while walking around, it would've been even better.

And I'm a little boggled. You didn't like the vignette at the introduction, but at the same time you wanted more on Ghaleon, Dyne, and Althena? I feel like I'm getting the most I've ever gotten with this game. The same with the animations; they're the best I've seen in a Lunar game. I was even showing them off to my brother!

Finally, there are other little things I won't nitpick with you over, except to say that I really like this remake, and never have felt blinded to it by my own nostalgia.
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Re: My Lunar: SSH review 6/10

Postby Dark_Fairy » Sat Mar 13, 2010 5:28 pm

Lunar Eclipse wrote:That aside, I prefer SSH to SSSC if only for the overall effect. I know it's a point of some disagreement, but I much prefer most of the new voice actors, and the rest of the presentation is pretty undeniably better (music, graphics, cutscene quality, expanded characterization, etc.). Plus, I think the script was cleaned up quite nicely such that most of the dated references became a bit more enduring while still being fun. I was also glad to see some of the annoyingly juvenile humor disappear (added sound effects for Myght's intro video, etc.).


^
This. That pretty much sums up how I feel. Don't get me wrong, I obviously love SSSC and TSS. Actually, I still like many thing in TSS that happened over things that happened in SSSC and SSH, but overall, I think SSH is better than SSSC.

As many have said, the loading times can be irritating, but if you downloaded the game from PSN or use custom firmware and rip your game to your memory stick, the load times are MUCH better. Yes, the annoying music cut off is still there, but it's not as bad as playing it on the UMD. I can vouch for this since I started with the UMD and decided the loading times were WAY to irritating so I ripped the game to my memory stick.

One thing that does irritate me though is how long it takes to skip over voiced dialogue boxes. Normally in games you either have to listen or you can skip over it with ease by mashing the button. Here, it takes a minute to respond and the voices fade out. It's really irritating.

Sonic# wrote:This is a pretty good list of the glitches. Strangely, some of them I haven't noticed (the black bars - could that be only on certain systems?)


I had no idea this was happening to other people. I assumed the black bars had something to do with me being on custom firmware, since I get the black bars. I am also on a PSP 1000, so that might have something to do with it too. I really don't know.

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Re: My Lunar: SSH review 6/10

Postby whitedragon_nall » Sat Mar 13, 2010 7:58 pm

I also agree that SSH is better than SSSC. The music sounds better, the sprites look better, and I can play it where ever I want. The only thing I think SSSC does better is the difficulty.

And as far as loading is concerned, the PSP has always had loading issues. I'd much prefer small 1-2 second loads here and there as opposed to larger 25-30 second loads that some other PSP games have.
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Re: My Lunar: SSH review 6/10

Postby jay_are » Sat Mar 13, 2010 10:39 pm

That aside, I prefer SSH to SSSC if only for the overall effect.


WHAT?! Never thought I'd hear THAT one! :lol:

Nice review! Though I disagree on the 6/10 part.
I gave Lunar Dragon Song an 8/10, because everything was good about it besides the battles. (And because im very generous)

I got my copy of SSH and haven't played it (no PSP), but having seen some videos and screenshots, I just know your review is trustworthy! And Im still sure im gonna rate it 9/10 for being better than Dragon Song, but inferior to TSS, SSSC and Legend, which all get a 10 from me! Let's say i'm excited to see improvement from Dragon Song to SSH :) :)

Lunar SSH and Legend have a lot in common...
1. None of the items have icons :cry: (i want my tasty icons back!)
2. Selecting the city on the over-world map......
3. Special arts in battles?

But for a GBA game, Legend was a blast!! So im sure it's still better than SSH.

I'm glad to see everyone is crossing their fingers for Lunar Eternal Blue! :mrgreen:
Im starting to think we could all do a great job directing the series.
Cmon GameArts!! Get in the mood for good classics already!!!

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Re: My Lunar: SSH review 6/10

Postby ShindoW » Sat Mar 13, 2010 10:44 pm

I miss the item icons too.. makes it easy to import if youve played the original. :D
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Re: My Lunar: SSH review 6/10

Postby Aaron » Sun Mar 14, 2010 1:39 am

jay_are wrote:I gave Lunar Dragon Song an 8/10, because everything was good about it besides the battles. (And because im very generous)


I actually think Dragon Song's mechanics were very well done. I even enjoyed the battle system. But the story was horrible. The translation was worse. And the spelling & grammar was bad too. Add all that together and I think I would have given DS a 7/10

But it's been years since I played that. I don't remember a whole lot. I just remember being disappointed. Dragon Song seemed the least like Lunar to me, and more like a JRPG.

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Re: My Lunar: SSH review 6/10

Postby whitedragon_nall » Sun Mar 14, 2010 3:27 am

I haven't even finished DS because of how disappointed I was. IMO everything about the game was bad...except for the music. Don't even get me started on Ubi's localization. I remember doing a job in the game, searching a town, looking for someone who didn't even exist. The guys name was completely different from what the quest was telling me. I think that was when I had enough.....
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Re: My Lunar: SSH review 6/10

Postby ajuice21 » Mon Mar 15, 2010 5:52 pm

I've gotta say my main issue with this game is the difficulty. It's SO easy! I haven't had an ounce of trouble with any of the bosses I remember being so devastating, or any of the dungeons I remember being hell. I think one of the main reasons for this is that I never seem to get hit! I constantly dodge attacks left and right, and it's actually pretty frustrating. The arts gauge of course is just way too cheap, and the overabundance of starlights, coupled with the full HP/MP upon level up leaves me with the ability to spam my awesome moves with no consequence. Why oh why is it so easy?! On another note though, I think the translation is fantastic, and am still enjoying the remake, and am eternally grateful to XSEED for what they've done. I just pray that if we ever see Eternal Blue or -holding breath- Lunar 3, they amp up the difficulty. Seriously, I have to die at least once!


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