Lunar: Silver Star Harmony - PSP - Preview
While some may argue that the PSP needs another Japanese RPG as much as a dog needs fleas, the remake of Lunar: Silver Star Story that arrives on March 2nd might just change a cynic’s mind. Now dubbed Silver Star Harmony, this nearly 20-year old title has gotten a major facelift for its latest portable console incarnation, with newly drawn art, hefty additions to the story, a different voice cast, and some welcome nips and tucks bringing the Sega CD classic back for a whole new generation of gamers.
Lunar: Silver Star Harmony tells the story of Alex, a young adventurer who plans to follow in the footsteps of his hero, Dragonmaster Dyne. After gathering up a few fellow explorers, the group sets off into the great unknown to uncover the mysteries of their quirky, magic-infused world. The Lunar series has always been about its characters and its humor, both of which have been faithfully represented in this 2010 update. As our heroes travel to distant towns, dangerous dungeons, and even a flying city of mystical power, their personalities take center stage as they grow from bright-eyed children to battle-hardened saviors of humanity.
As a longtime series fan, I'm happy to report that the PSP version of Lunar is easily the best one yet. The crisp, clean high-definition art is a huge improvement over what was done on the original PlayStation and Sega CD, with the smooth character animation and beautifully realized world getting the most attention in this update. The majestic, magnificent dragons and death-bringing heathens that looked somewhat silly in earlier versions because of console hardware limitations are now fully realized and articulated, with the overhauled music and redone voice work bringing the game’s presentation up to the standards of most theatrically released animes.
Fans of the series will also notice a few other improvements to the gameplay, all of which bring about a smoother, more modernized RPG experience than before. The battles are still a turn-based affair, with each character having their chance to bop the brutal baddies that attack Alex and his friends. Things feel a bit faster now, though, which should make the steady grind a bit more enjoyable. The overworld has thankfully been minimalized, as the developers have removed a lot of the repetitive travelling time between formerly distant towns. Finally, some new cut scenes and playable sequences have been added to further flesh out the story, including a new introduction that showcases the legendary heroes of the Lunar universe.
Perhaps the best compliment that I can hurl at Lunar: Silver Star Harmony is that it doesn’t feel like a decades-old game, as the developers have wisely clipped the shackles that many older RPGs are usually bound by. With terrific production values, endearing characters, fun combat mechanics, and a phenomenal story that tugs at the heartstrings as often as it kicks the funnybone into hysterics, Lunar: Silver Star Harmony is a no-brainer for any RPG-loving PSP owner.