Lunar: Silver Star Harmony is an upcoming PSP remake of the original Lunar: The Silver Star (for SegaCD, can you believe that?), and will grace us with its presence on March 23. In the mean time, though, a demo has been released on the PSN which you can download to check the game out – either for the first time, like myself, or to compare some of the obvious changes with the original version.
Like I mentioned, I’m new to this franchise, so my thoughts about the demo will come from that viewpoint, however I am not new to this style of RPG. Far from it. Needless to say, from the beginning of the demo to the end, I really enjoyed myself. The demo itself is about an hour’s worth of content, assuming you do all there is to do (yes, I talked with every person in the village, I’m that thorough). At the beginning the hero of the story, Alex, is contemplating being a great adventurer, or Dragonmaster. Naturally, he’s interrupted by a friend of his wanting to go explore a newly-opened dragon cave (sounds ominous, eh?) in search of a Dragon Diamond so they can be rich and famous. Also, Alex has a pet…flying squirrel? I’m not quite sure what that thing is, but it is almost completely useless besides its snide dialog every so often. (I’m serious, the flying rodent floats around the background of the battle screen, seemingly only there for moral support – it does nothing remotely worthwhile.)
Anyway, before you wander off to this cave, you’re given the opportunity to explore the town, talk to people, shop, grab some treasure chests that are mysteriously sitting out in the open and hook up with a girl. You meet up with Luna eventually, Alex’s adopted sister. Her and Alex are supposed to be practicing their vocals for some upcoming parade, but instead she joins Alex, his friend and his flying rat on the trek through the cave.
Inside the cave, you’re given ample opportunity to give the battle system a shot. It is a typical turn-based battle system, for the most part. You also have options to let the AI fight for one turn, usually used again weaker enemies. Fighting all the enemy groups in there I leveled up many times. There’s also some nice treasure to find. Oh, and a dragon. You discover that this Dragon Diamond the kids were after is actually a big stinking pile of dragon crap, but the old dragon offers them some if they prove their worth by getting a ring from deeper in the cave. Once you deliver the ring, the demo is over.
All in all I enjoyed it. It is very much your standard JRPG, but hey, nothing wrong with that, right? I was a bit disappointed that the anime cut scenes seem to just be ported right over from the original, as they are in standard 4:3 format, instead of the 16:9 wide-screen to fit the PSP, although the rest of the game looks great and fits the screen nicely. It’s quite the cult classic in certain circles, so it is definitely worth trying out. Another nice feature of the demo is, if you clear it, you’re given the opportunity to save. This will be of some benefit to you when you pop the full version of the game in, but I’m not sure what. Way back when, at the time the original game came out, there was a disc-based demo that allowed you to save after you cleared it, as well. If you had that save on your memory card, you could start at that point in the full game and not have to spend another hour playing through what you already did, so perhaps it’s something along those lines.
The full game comes out on March 23 in both standard and collector’s edition formats. The CE comes packed with a soundtrack and some sort of cards that feature the girls in the game. ‘Nuff said, right? I’ll have to keep this on my radar, since I’ll be traveling around that time and could use some hand-held RPG goodness.