Lunar 2 Review

For PlayStation

Rating: Awesome
   Lunar 2 is unspectacular and a bit bland compared to the original Lunar, 
but the same can be said of most RPGs on the market.  As you might have 
expected, it's the kind of game that stands on its own two feet purely 
because of its gameplay-- the 2D graphics certainly aren't going to win any 
awards.  Fortunately, Lunar 2 also stands as a shining example that games 
don't need to have award-winning graphics to be worth buying.
   I have read a lot of positive things about the game's sound, but I find 
it to be surprisingly disappointing.  None of the music tracks that play in 
towns or dungeons are particularly creative, and it seems that the same few 
tracks are re-used throughout all of the game's towns and dungeons.  
   The scenes with voice acting in them are ruined by the fact that before 
the characters even say the words, they have already appeared on the screen 
in the form of text.  This serves as a constant reminder that the characters 
are reading from a script, and makes it an uphill battle for them to be 
convincing in their roles.
   The quantity and the quality of the dialogue are both refreshingly high, 
whether the main characters are talking to townspeople are conversing among 
themselves.  The townspeople are usually full of interesting things to say 
that reflect on the state of affairs in their environment, while also giving 
you a glimpse into their personal lives.
   In a way that is strikingly similar to Final Fantasy 9, several of the 
main characters grow on you as the game progresses and reveal themselves to 
be deeper than you originally thought they were.  The best example of this 
is probably Lemina, who initially seems to care about absolutely nothing 
other than money, but is slowly but surely revealed to be a considerate 
person with good intentions at heart.  
   Lunar 2 is also full of deeper themes that focus on religion.  
Specifically, the ways in which organized religion can be corrupt and money-
oriented if it falls into the hands of the wrong people.  It's controversial 
subject matter that is sure to raise the ire of anyone who can't accept the 
fact that different people have different religious beliefs, but that doesn't
make it any less enjoyable to me as a gamer.
   The biggest problem with Lunar 2 is that beyond the religion angle and the
strong cast of characters, the story line doesn't have much left to offer.  
As gripping as it can be at times, most of the story isn't very original.  
Some of the plot twists are exciting, while others are predictable and 
cheapen the overall experience of the game.  Meanwhile, the humor level has 
been noticeably reduced.  The game is genuinely funny when it tries to be; 
it just doesn't try as often as Lunar 1.
   While Lunar 1 was practically re-designed from scratch in the transition 
from the Sega CD to the PlayStation, Lunar 2 has undergone far fewer changes,
and it shows in the quality of the game.  It's a great game any way you slice
it, but it never quite makes the leap into being one of the best RPGs ever 
created.
   Much like certain elements of the story, this game's combat system seems 
to be stuck in the past.  It's nice that you can see enemies before fighting 
them, but this doesn't change the fact that far too much is spent hacking and
slashing enemies who always seem to be slightly more difficult than you'd 
like them to be.  From the very beginning of the game, the bosses are also 
annoyingly hard unless you've spent a large amount of time leveling-up.
   Despite its many problems, Lunar 2 is still better than any non-Square 
RPG on the market.  However, I'm a little bit disappointed that while the
original Lunar rises above the standard set by Square's finest work, Lunar 2 
falls just short of it.

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2001, ivan@mastergamer.com