SummaryWhat Have You Become, My Sweetest Friend?
The GoodReleased in 2005, for the then new Nintendo DS. Lunar: Dragon Song, is only the third entry in the series.(Not counting remakes and re-releases anyway.-MM-) And is the first truly new entry in the series since Lunar 2: Eternal Blue, which came out for the Sega CD in 1995.
After a decade long wait for a new Lunar, is Dragon Song, the game I and many other Lunar fans have been waiting for?
Like most Lunar fans, I was hooked as soon as I played my first game. In this case Lunar: The Silver Star Story Complete. And I have been a fan ever since. After years of false starts and promised titles. Including, Lunar 3 being hinted at for the Sega Dreamcast. Lunar: Dragon Song was released. It was one of the first DS games I got. And I am not really a handheld gamer. I really only bought a DS, because I was doing a lot of traveling at the time and needed something to help alleviate all the long hours of boredom.
Lunar: Dragon Song is a prequel. Set some 1000 years before Lunar: Silver Star. But it is not the game we would expect. Instead of being about Dragon Master Dyne, and his exploits we have Jian Campbell, a delivery boy….right…and no he is NOT Phillip J. Fry.
Well at least he a has an uber-hot friend, Lucia. As per most JRPGS a simple mission leads to a much larger struggle. This time the Goddess Althena has vanished. And she could have not picked a worse time. As a rouge Dragon Master has taken the opportunity to seize power.
So off Jian goes, to save the Goddess and the world of Lunar. Along the way he meets many new friends. And they all have a great design and are varied in disposition. Gabryel, is of the beast race, at this point the dominant race on Lunar, and she is a very capable fighter. Flora is a cutie-pie archer living out on the frontier. And finally Rufus is a badass swordsman. You will note that the playable character cast is much smaller than usual. But at least Toshiyuki Kubooka, of Lunar and Grandia fame returns to do the excellent character design.
The graphics are great. And looks like a Lunar game. As one would expect. The music is fair. Not as good as some of the previous work of the composers.
The BadAs for gameplay. The only thing that works is exploration and combat. Exploration is self-explanatory. But I will go over the combat. It plays much like the other games in the series only now for some reason you can only have three characters per party. And the point of view is behind the party, instead of to the side. This is mainly so that you can see the huge bosses which take up both screens. Other than that the change is dubious.
File this under: what the hell were they thinking? So you know how in most RPGS you fight monsters and earn money. Well in Dragon Song, you do not. The only way to earn money is to do side quests. These quests involve delivering items to people for cash. But here is the really idiotic part. Instead of being given the package, you must FIND THE ITEMS yourself. WTF? Ironically many of the items come from the monsters. Why not just cut out the middle man and give you the silver in the first place? Because when you order something Amazon.com, they have to go out and find the stuff from wild animals, right?
Furthermore, some items are rare, and to obtain them you have to fight monsters and choose to only receive items. No EXP either. Why? So when you need to upgrade you equipment costing some 15,000 silver, you need to complete 30 some side quests…right. This is why people who complain about originality is JRPGS need to shut up. Because this is what happens when Japs “innovate”.
And the story is very disappointing. It has some promise. As the plot with the rouge Dragon Master is interesting but it never really delivers the goods. I mean Lunar: Magic School had a better plot than this! In some cases the plot even contradicts they plot of the other games.
And did I mention how silly it is that Jian does not use a sword, but punches and kicks? Because kicking a dragon would really hurt it right?
Why did this game not involve Dragon Master Dyne’s story? Sure you could argue that you already know how it ends, but not how it begins. Besides 1000 years earlier, makes Lunar seem to different. And out of all the Star Wars prequels they only interesting one is the third and you know how that ends. And we know so little about Dyne’s friends. Particularly, Ghaleon.
The Bottom LineUnless you are a huge Lunar fan, or have already played every other RPG on the DS, go ahead and skip this one. Here’s waiting for a real new Lunar. Hopefully it won’t be another 10 years.