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Perhaps I was a bit too pumped up for this game. As some of you may recall in my glowing preview, Lunar: Dragon Song seemed to possess all the makings of a worthy addition to the series. However, several weeks later, that cheery tune of optimism started to fade and I found it a bit difficult to keep my excitement high. So how did the game earn the score I gave it? To be fair, Lunar: Dragon Song is an solid game and it's something I want to wholeheartedly recommend, but it tends to get hamstrung in a few important places.
As you know by now, it's been ten years since the last original Lunar game hit Western audiences -- 1995's Lunar: Eternal Blue. In that time, RPGs have grown from a tiny niche to a respectable and popular genre; in that time, Final Fantasy VII revolutionized the genre and two entire generations of both handheld and console systems have come. The point is: things change; Lunar: Dragon Song is not exempt.
Game Arts, the company involved with the PlayStation's Lunar 2: Eternal Blue upgrade, have teamed up with Japan Art Media. Apparently, their joint partnership has comprised the plan for tackling what Lunar fans have been anxiously anticipating since, like, forever. Working Designs (the founding publishers of the entire Lunar brand) have been pushing repeats of the first two, and only, Lunar games out the door since its beginning on Sega CD instead of actually putting together official sequels. Now we get one in this brand-new Lunar game. When it comes to sharing development reigns though, does pairing up the experienced Game Arts with Japan Art Media make them the prime example of leading the long-awaited "next Lunar" game toward a brighter future? Evidently not.
During the days of the ill fated Sega CD, the Lunar series roped me in with its charming storyline and loveable characters. The game was something of a next-generation showpiece with a beautiful score (CD quality!) and animated cut scenes. The game has inspired remakes on PlayStation and the GBA. While its combat system was a rather simple, turned based affair, the adventure still holds up today. Dragon Song was an exciting opportunity to build upon the Lunar legacy, but its additions to the gameplay are not always successful or well implemented.
I had my doubts going into this review and I’m still a firm believer that RPG games are best kept in the living room and not in my pocket. On those rare occasions when I can break out my DS I’m looking for a quick gaming fix. By the time I get up to speed on where I am at in an ongoing quest, it’s time to put the system away. But for those with hours of free time and undying patience, you might actually enjoy Lunar: Dragon Song. Obviously, your choices for RPG’s on the DS aren’t overwhelming, so if you can’t wait for something better to come along, give this a shot. It’s not terrible, but one can only imagine how good this could have been.
As a devoted fan of the role-playing game genre as well as the Lunar games, you can imagine my delight in finding the series make a jump to an all-new platform like the Nintendo DS. Having been seen as a Sega CD game, two PSOne games and even a pretty good Game Boy Advance portable game, it’s great to see the Lunar franchise make its return on a system with a touch screen. Lunar: Dragon Song for the Nintendo DS has innovative written all over it but somehow it just doesn’t do our favorite fantasy series right.
Lunar: Dragon Song is not only the first fantasy role-playing game for the Nintendo DS; it's the first brand-new game in the Lunar series since Eternal Blue, which came out on the Sega CD way back in 1995. The name alone is enough to catch the attention of old-school RPG fans, but unfortunately Dragon Song fails to live up to its pedigree.
Pour ce nouvel opus, Game Arts a tenté la carte du changement, et malheureusement, ce n'est pas toujours très heureux, certains choix de gameplay étant vraiment hasardeux et difficilement justifiables. Malgré ces défauts frustrants, le jeu s'en tire grâce à une réalisation soignée et un charme certain.
"Lunar: Dragon Song" até possui um roteiro interessante, apesar do enredo manjado. Mas peca muito em algumas inovações, que apenas fazem aumentar o tempo que os jogadores passam nas batalhas, simplórias e irritantes, sem representar um aspecto positivo na diversão. Isso faz com que o andamento seja extremamente lento, levando horas para que aconteça algo realmente relevante. Trata-se de mais um clássico que, por ora, parece ter perdido o rumo.
Game Informer Magazine
So many fundamental flaws plague Dragon Song that it's hard to know where to start. While an attempt to apply several new ideas to the classic RPG formula could have been admirable, the blundering design innovations that pervade this game serve two consistent purposes: to bore or frustrate players.
Video Game Talk
Lunar: Dragon Song fails to achieve the high standards that the previous Lunar games achieved. The charming inhabitants of the other Lunar games are not longer as charming in this version. The wonderful and quirky story you found on previous Lunar games cannot be found here. I really wanted to recommend this game, but unfortunately I cannot. Instead I recommend you go pickup a Sega CD and find some of the older Lunar games to play. Hopefully the next Lunar game can recapture the original magic.
Game Informer Magazine
Dogged on all fronts save graphics and music, which are both done nicely, Lunar: Dragon Song is one of rare breed. I don't use this example lightly, but think back to Grabbed by the Ghoulies, a similarly good-looking, but unfun and almost unplayable nightmare of gameplay design misseps.
G4 TV: X-Play
Lunar: Dragon Song is going to disappoint a lot of role-players, and will make those new to the series wonder why it was ever resurrected to begin with. Between graphics, story, and gameplay, we want at least two out of three to drive us to complete the large undertaking that is playing an RPG. Lunar excels at none of the above. It's sad, since the GBA Lunar Legend -- a remake of the first Lunar game -- was a decent title. Do yourself a favor: Don't get this song in your head.
Okay, so Lunar: Dragon Song is not a great game. But you may ask, "It is the only Nintendo DS role-playing game currently on the market, and I really want an RPG to play now, shouldn’t I go ahead and buy it to play until something better comes along?" The answer is an emphatic, "Probably not." There are enough serious problems with this game to make a firm case for not buying it. Wait a little while. There will be better RPG games than this D+ effort along soon for the DS. Patience is a virtue … and it saves your wallet a hit you’ll regret later.
Someone out there is looking at the £1 coin I spent on this game and laughing their arse off. But I'm content. If I was expecting to find a game that comes even close to the benchmark previous outings had set the Lunar franchise, my cravings for disappointment would be thoroughly and unquestionably met.
It's been 11 years since the last Lunar game was released on the Sega CD. The first two games in the series were sweet, simple, straightforward Japanese RPGs, which won many hearts but few minds with their sweet, basic but solid mechanics and wistful but endearing storytelling. Now, 11 years is a long break between any series' instalments, yes? You might say a startlingly long time to make just a few improvements, no? A tweak here, a tweak there, just to stay abreast of genre developments which inch forward with all the grim determination of a tectonic plate, yes? OK, OK I'll get to the point.
Absolut keine Kaufempfehlung! Ja, Lunar - Dragon Song war das allererste DS-RPG überhaupt, aber das kann doch keine Entschuldigung für so einen Mist sein. Story, Kampfsystem und Grafik sind unterirdisch. Mittlerweile gibt es für den DS genügend Rollenspiel-Alternativen, und wer unbedingt Lunar für unterwegs braucht, besorgt sich lieber Lunar Legend für den Game Boy Advance.