I just finished reading the review of Lunar 2: Eternal Blue on RPGFan, and I feel Sensei Pheonix (though he did a truly good job) didn't give it the credit it deserved. I feel, as a true fan of the Lunar series, that another opinion is needed here. Thus, here I am, and here is my review.
The story begins as follows. Hiro, a youth, is digging the diamond eye out of a dragon statue in a dungeon nearby his home. Upon retrieving the diamond, he returns home, only to be stopped and question by a horned man. This man introduces himself as Lord Leo, and tells our hero, Hiro, to return home, that he does not belong out here. He then quickly leaves, heading to a man named Gwyn's house.
Hiro recognizes the name of his grandfather (Gywn) and quickly heads home to see what is happening. He finds his grandfather being questioned by Lord Leo on the secrets of a nearby Spire. Gywn refuses to depart any knowledge, however, and Lord Leo quickly leaves. Gywn climbs the nearby ladder to the roof, issuing Hiro to follow. Hiro follows his grandfather to the roof, and in the distance they both witness a blue light shining down from the heavens towards the nearby Blue Spire. Thus the adventure begins.
The first thing I noticed upon playing Lunar 2 was the voice acting. Again, Working Designs has done an overly exceptional job hiring voice actors. Their words portray the feelings of the characters perfectly, showing the love, hatred, and sadness behind each voice. And the voice actor playing our heroine, Lucia, has a voice that sings as beautifully as Luna's did in the original.
Also, I noticed the music. A lot of the original, beautiful themes have been brought back from Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete, or remixed for their debut in this game. But what truly captivated me the most was the Battle Theme. This theme enchanted me the minute I heard it, and still is my favorite battle theme. I currently have the Lunar 2 Soundtrack in my Stereo and I will probably turn on the song after I am done writing this review.
Lunar 2 takes place a thousand years after Lunar 1. Many of the great elements from the original have been brought back. The battle system, bromides, even a few characters have all returned in this sequel.
The battle system matches that of the original's extraordinarily. To me, this is a good thing. They did, however, fix all the problems of the original, and of this I am thankful. For starters, the cursor is now placed on the attack button by default, making it so that you no longer accidentally hit the AI button as I once used to.
In the original Lunar, when you tried to escape but failed your characters annoyingly spun on their side of the screen, sometimes causing the weak to move into the front and the strong in the back. This has been removed. Now, when you wish to run away, your characters will either nod their heads 'no' or, well, run away. And last, but not least, items are now placed in a 'Bag' together so that the equipping of items is no longer needed. Of this, I am thankful.
Also, the Equipment system has been fixed. In the original, you were given the ability to equip 7 items to yourself and keep 7 items (curing items or extra equipment) on hand during battle. Now, each piece of equipment - weapon, armor, shield, and helmet - is given its own space. Also, you are given two spaces for rings and two more for crests. This makes equipping a lot easier.
Now if you've played the original Lunar but never the sequel, you may be wondering what crests are. There are many different types of crests. There are ones that can let you avoid status effects, some that increase different parts of your status, and some that equip magic. Letting a character equip magic is also one of the great things about Lunar because it lets you, at least partly, customize your characters. It also adds a wide range of battle quotes to the already large amount of voice over time.
Now, onto the graphics. The graphics of Lunar 2: Eternal Blue will not be appreciated by all. They are simply improved versions of their former Sega CD selves. They may as well be defined as 'old school,' but the old school, in my opinion, is the best, and the graphics of Lunar 2: Eternal Blue prove that. The designs of the towns and the characters themselves are well done, despite their age, and the small anime shots over the characters' dialogue are truly 'cute,' too. But this is truly not where Lunar 2 shines.
Lunar 2 shines in its beautiful anime sequences. Scattered throughout the three CDs are more then twenty anime sequences, each of which truly portray the story of Lunar 2. These anime sequences are beautifully drawn and explicit, and a few times almost mature (Note: this is not a bad thing.) I truly believe these anime sequences, along with the voice-overs that accompany them, are truly one of the greatest assets Lunar 2 has to offer, and truly help you understand the plot and build emotions along with the characters.
Control of the character is flawless, though outdated. The only real problem I have with the control is running in the dungeons. In Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete, when you were in a dungeon, Alex was able to move around at the same speed as in towns and the world map. But in Lunar 2: Eternal Blue, a more 'realistic' (in a sense) speed is used. Hiro moves at a much, much slower speed, and can burst forward for about three seconds at a fast run, then has to stop again for at least one second. This can be very annoying at times, especially compared to how it used to be in the original.
A story of love, faith, and hope, accompanied with an all-star cast of characters with truly amazing voices, a translation filled with jokes only Americans could appreciate, songs to fill your heart, and an ending to bring tears to your eyes. Flawless control along with beautiful anime sequences and an original yet inspired battle system accompanied with enchanted music. Lunar 2: Eternal Blue is truly a miracle to the RPG world. Even if you have not played the original, which is again debuting this December, I recommend this game to you. A must have for any hardcore roleplayer.