First Impressions: Lunar: Silver Star Harmony (PSP)

Once a week, I spend some time getting to know a new game via a demo download. Since Im currently playing The Darkness II on PC (expect the review to be here since FTG has it already covered) I went to the consoles to find a new game to check out. Both the Wii and the PS3 struck out this week, showing me nothing I had wanted to try. However, while scrolling through demos on the PSP for the first time in ages, I stumbled on this little (though pretty highly rated) RPG demo. I had downloaded it in the past, but I was short on time back then, so I didn't really get to actually try anything in the game. Seeing it now reminded me of this, so one download later, I was playing...

Lunar: SSH is a remake of the original Lunar: Silver Story, an RPG made for the Sega CD back in 1992, and while I can not tell you how loyal it is to the orignal source, I can tell you it is a gorgeous and well animated RPG in the classic turn-based form that seems to have fallen out of flavor as of late. Each round of battle will see you setting your commands up and then watching what happens. All the basic commands are in place, but the actual combat is a little more intricate due to locations on battlefield. If a character has to go too far to do their attack, they simply wont this turn, and you need to keep this in mind when making your choices.

The story itself is not explained very well in the demo, though it definately lets a sense of humor sneak in during these early moments of the game. Nothing quite like asking a dragon for a "dragon diamond" and the creature not beginning to get the fascination mankind has with them since the things are litterally it's poop, even if it is just shy of having the heart to tell the humans that. And that kind of characterization also stands out. You barely have time with this dragon, and he already reveals some character in these actions... the promise to deliver a great story is already here.

On top of this, the story has a great delivery. Being a Sega CD game originally, it was one of the first console RPGs to have FMV cutscenes to help tell the tale in the form of anime clips. This style carries on (though I imagine the quality has moved up since the Sega CD's 1X speed limitations) much to the advantage of the game. In this day and age where anything outside of Persona 3 and 4 tend to use ingame cutscenes instead, it stands out nicely.

However, this demo also showed an issue the game will have... loading times. They are short, but they are often... and if you get the game on UMD, you are likely to have longer times due to disc vs memory stick read speeds. You will probably need a little patience with loading times when playing the main game.

Judging by the demo, this is a game that if you missed it back in the day and want a turn based RPG to play, you should do very well with. I know I will be keeping an eye out for it myself.

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