Lunar: Harmony of Silver Star Demo Impression & ScreenshotsReady to experience Lunar for a 4th time?10.30.09 - 6:42 PM
Last week, Gung Ho released a demo of Lunar: Harmony of Silver Star
on the Japanese PSN network for the PSP. Now that we've been able to play the demo, we've taken plenty of screenshots for you to check out so head over to our picture gallery for 54 exclusive screenshots
of the game.
You'll also find my impressions of the demo below. If you've never played Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete on the original PlayStation, then all you need to know is that if you're an RPG fan who loves classic traditional Japanese RPGs, then this game needs to be in your library. For those who have played the game on the PlayStation and want to find out some of the differences between that version and this remake on the PSP, read my impressions below.
Lunar: Harmony of Silver Star Demo Impression
First of all, I'd like to point out that the demo is really short and that I don't understand Japanese, so my impressions will be limited to graphics, sound, music and general gameplay since I can't really talk about the dialogue and story. Also, I make a lot of references to the PlayStation version of Lunar and hardly mention the original Sega CD version. That is simply because Harmony of Silver Star is a remake of the PlayStation version of Lunar and not the Sega CD version.
The first thing you'll notice about the PSP remake is that it really IS a remake. Apart from the anime cutscenes that were borrowed from the PlayStation version, the rest of the graphics are all new. As you can see from the screenshots, the game features a lot more details with crisper graphics more in tune with what you would see from more modern RPGs. I would say that the graphics are similar to those in the PSP Star Ocean remake. The character art that accompanies dialogue has also received a facelift. Instead of the small portraits of the characters next to their text, we now get a character art that pretty much takes the full height of the screen, which is definitely nice as Kubooka-san's artwork is definitely a treat to see. I won't go into further details because a picture is worth a thousand words so you can get a good idea of the graphics by checking out our screenshots gallery.
My biggest concern going in was the music. The PlayStation version of Lunar had some pretty good compositions, but the quality of the instrumentation was severely lacking in many songs since it was all MIDI music and not the best quality type either. I'm pleased to say that GungHo has not simply taken the music straight from that version. Composer Noriyuki Iwadare has taken his compositions and arranged them using better quality instrumentation. For those familiar with the arranged soundtracks Lunatic Festa Vol. 1 through 4, you're probably wondering if the music in the remake is as good as the arrangements found on those music CDs. Well, it's difficult to say because the demo only had 4 songs, and only 2 of those had been remixed on those CDs; the Burg song and the battle theme. Based on those 2 songs, I would say that the new songs are somewhere in between the PlayStation music and the arranged CDs, though closer to the arranged music. It's also worth noting that the sound effects have also been upgraded.
Although the graphics and music are all higher quality, the game still "feels" like Lunar so people who played the original should feel right at home. The sequence of events seems to follow the PlayStation version to the letter which wasn't the case in the GameBoy Advance remake. It doesn't look like that much was changed if we compare to the vast changes we saw when GameArts remade the Sega CD game on the PlayStation (and Saturn). Even with no knowledge of Japanese, I was able to get through the demo easily as I remembered what I had to do and where I had to go. However, this brings me to my final point which might be a point of contention for some: based on the demo, the game seems to be a lot easier than the PlayStation version. It also seems to be smaller in scale. Let me explain a bit.
In Lunar for PlayStation, I remember dying quite a lot in the first dungeon (white dragon cave). The dungeon was pretty long and full of tough enemies that required you to do a lot of grinding in order to get your levels up and enough money to buy better weapons and armors. This isn't the case on the PSP remake. I was never in any trouble in that first dungeon and it didn't require any grinding at all. On top of that, the dungeon is incredibly short compared to the original. From the first screen in the dungeon, you simply go left and from that screen you go up and you're already meeting Quark. From there, you go left for 2 more screens to get the item requested by Quark, come back, and then it's over. The whole dungeon can be done in 5-10 minutes. Burg was also a relatively smaller village with only 5 houses in total. In general, it felt like everything was scaled down. However, with the demo only consisting of Burg and the White Dragon Cave, it's too early to tell if it's a general trend in the game or only something done at the beginning of the game to make it less daunting for new RPG players since the PlayStation Lunar's start was pretty rough.
When it comes down to it though, Lunar: Harmony of Silver Star looks great, sounds great and seems to retain the same great story and character interaction that we loved in the original. Now, all we can hope for is a great localization job from XSeed and we'll be able to experience this great classic all over again.