Impressions thread

For discussion of Lunar: Dragon Song (Lunar: Genesis), the only Lunar game on the DS
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GhaleonOne
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Impressions thread

Postby GhaleonOne » Thu Sep 29, 2005 6:10 am

This is just a thread for people to post their impressions of the game. If there's enough quality impressions I'll make a news update on the main site (I did this with Lunar 2 on the Saturn at pre-RPGFan LunarNET years ago). If you want the impressions to make it to the news update, make sure the spelling and grammar is decent. That said, here's mine:

----

I've played about an hours worth so far, and I'm about to go to Delri Temple at the behest of the village chief of Perit. I'll break it down into a few categories:

<b>Gameplay:</b>
So far, I don't see why people were complaining so much about loosing HP while running. It really doesn't drop fast enough to make it a huge issue. It was a little annoying at first, but I can tell as the levels get higher, the HP loss is going to start becoming minimal, and by the end of the game, it won't even be a concern. My only real complaint with the gameplay is the lack of selecting an enemy. It does make things faster, but I still like control over that. It's not worth cancelling preorders over, as some folks have done. Pressing R while in battle speeds things up nicely, and totally counter-acts any complaints about loosing HP while running, IMO. Personally, I still love the old-school range-based Lunar battle system. But considering the small nature of a handheld screen, I understand why it wasn't implemented with this game or Legend. This battle system isn't bad, but it's not the greatest either.

My only other complaint is the lack of giant overworld's like the original games, but they seem to have left that behind with Legend. Hopefully they revisit large overworlds that aren't point and click based in the next game.

<b>Music and Sound:</b>
Excellent, though not near as Lunar-ish as people have said. It's not Iwadare, but that's not meant to be a complaint either. In fact, I feel some of the songs sound almost Suikoden-ish. There have been some Lunar-ish feeling themes though. Lunar feel or not, the music is good. Sound effects are excellent as well.

<b>Graphics:</b>
I think the game looks quite polished. The early screens were nothing to write home about, but in motion, the game is very pretty in many places. The overmap is gorgeous, as are many of the places to explore. I originally thought I would hate the isometric view, and the tall sprites, but so far, I don't. In fact, the isometric view works quite well. Probably my least favorite area of the graphics department is the battles, but even those are good looking. Overall, I think the game has some really beautiful graphics. Having individual portraits for so many NPCs is a nice touch too.

<b>Story:</b>
Can't comment much yet, as I'm not far enough to really get into it. But I will say it helps alot being able to press Y and get some dialouge between Jian and Lucia that helps guide you a bit if you're stuck on what to do.

<b>Characters:</b>
So far, I've only met Jian and Lucia, but both are entertaining characters. I'm looking forward to see how they interact, especially with Gabryel enters the mix.

<b>Dialouge:</b>
I'm happy. UbiSoft did a pretty good job here. There's been one or two small places where I disagreed with word choice, but nothing that's a real issue at all. In fact, it's been a fairly enjoyable translation so far. Dialouge runs smooth. Much smoother than Legend did.

<b>Packaging:</b>
May not have all the extra's of WD's Lunar packages, but it's pretty enough. In fact, I really dig the boxart. Even moreso than the Japanese boxart. Not often do I feel that way.

More to come as I play more.
-G1

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Postby Ghaleon_EME » Thu Sep 29, 2005 7:08 am

I'm actually fairly disappointed with the game thus far (3 hours in). The battle system strikes me as exceptionally drafted, I don't understand why ubisoft pretends that that half inch gap between the two screens dosen't even exist; it looks very awkward when just a tiny fraction of a characters body is on another screen. Not being able to select an enemy to attack is a big downer and the run command is just plain gimmicky.

The music is good; quirky and memorable, but not nearly as epic as the sega cd scores.

The sprites are very nice, especially in the battle sequences, and I like the over all look of the character/environment design.

As for the story...i'm 3 hours in and there's not too much of it to speak of. I hear that it does eventually pick up, but this is no way to consolidate a new fan base...i'm keeping my fingers crossed.

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Postby Alunissage » Thu Sep 29, 2005 8:37 am

I don't believe we're dealing with this again, after all this anticipation...Ubisoft didn't make the game and blaming them for the gap between screens and other concerns is ignorant, to say the least. You can at least thank them for enabling the shoulder button to speed up the battles; that's not in the import.

G1, you'll see the Lunarity of the music later, or hear it, rather. Several pieces start with direct quotes from SSSC pieces. I have to disagree about not selecting enemies making the battles faster, for reasons you already know well, e.g., the Artificial Stupidity of the battle system.

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Postby Lunar Eclipse » Thu Sep 29, 2005 12:38 pm

Yeah, the lack of selection tends to slow down rather than speed up. However, it hasn't caused enough of a bother to me yet to warrant any complaints. Likewise, I can't imagine why people would return the game so quickly just because you can't select a target. It's rather insane if you ask me. In fact, there's only one thing that's bothered me at all thus far, and it's the extremely high cost of Lucia's healing magic. I think I'm still just a bit more used to characters like Luna who can heal, heal, heal. Lucia, at this point in my game, has 46 MP and can only heal four times. Also, if I decide to use things like Grand Weapon or Divine Rain (I think that's what it's called) in boss battles, her MP is basically finished. It just seems to me that mage and cleric characters either ought to have more MP or lower MP costs.
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Postby Kizyr » Thu Sep 29, 2005 1:00 pm

Sweet, the R button to speed things up is completely new. That's a good feature to implement.

I think folks know what my opinion is going to be of the game already. KF
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Postby urabob » Thu Sep 29, 2005 2:21 pm

I dunno. I really like the game. I mean, it is different than all of the previous Lunar games. In a way it reminds me of Grandia (party of 3) more than Lunar, but to me that's not a bad thing. I'll admit not being able to select targets was a bit off putting at first, but honestly I've forgotten about it by now. The game is perfectly suited as a portable RPG. There is less to worry about and less to micro-manage. :)

Graphically, I love it. It reminds me a lot of Landstalker, another of my favourite games. The only thing that trips me up is the fact the dialogue occurs on the bottom screen, which causes me to miss the emotion animations of sprites on the upper screen. The classic Lunar view is missed, but again nothing to complain about. :D

Story? I'm not that deep into the game. So, I can't say. It has managed to keep my interest, which is more than some games. One thing I miss are the "clickable objects" that peppered the previous Lunar worlds. I remember in the old WD games I'd walk around doing nothing but clicking on pots and pans, barrels, fish, etc. Oh well. ;)

Control is solid. It would have been nice to use the touch screen more. It would have been nice if you could speed up the game using an option instead of having to hold the Left or Right shoulder buttons. I kind of wish I didn't have to click "okay" so much. These are minor quibles which I can look past. :mrgreen:

All in all, I'm glad I picked the game up. There are many things I wished and hoped were in this game, but I'll leave that up to the sequel. I imagine this game was fairly inexpenisve to produce compared to the bigger 3D Final Fantasy styled RPGS. So, I'd be surprised if we didn't have a follow up. My only fear is that this one won't sell enough (because of what I consider overly harsh reviews) and we will miss out on future games. :D
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Postby Ghaleon_EME » Thu Sep 29, 2005 2:28 pm

after all this anticipation...Ubisoft didn't make the game and blaming them for the gap between screens and other concerns is ignorant, to say the least.


sorry, I meant game arts. 'tongue slip,' I guess.

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Postby LUNARverse » Thu Sep 29, 2005 5:15 pm

Kizyr, in the import, could your character run constantly until their HP drained to only one hit point, or did you stop running around a quarter of your total HP and start walking with sweat beads of anxiety appearing over your characters's heads? In the US version I have noticed this and noone who has done import impressions or reviews commented on this aspect. I was wondering if this also was implemented by Ubisoft during localization.

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Postby Alunissage » Thu Sep 29, 2005 6:45 pm

Yes, the running stops at about a quarter (though I thought it was a third) in the import. They start sweating earlier than that, though, maybe at half HP, but that doesn't affect the speed.

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Postby Kizyr » Thu Sep 29, 2005 6:54 pm

LUNARverse wrote:Kizyr, in the import, could your character run constantly until their HP drained to only one hit point, or did you stop running around a quarter of your total HP and start walking with sweat beads of anxiety appearing over your characters's heads? In the US version I have noticed this and noone who has done import impressions or reviews commented on this aspect. I was wondering if this also was implemented by Ubisoft during localization.


The sweat starts appearing around half HP, I think. You can't run anymore after about a third HP. That's the same in the import.

...I never commented on it since I figured it wasn't important. KF
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Postby Alunissage » Thu Sep 29, 2005 7:00 pm

I'm pretty sure I mentioned it here when I first started playing it. A lot of the newer members weren't here then, though.

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Postby HuBBsDoctor » Thu Sep 29, 2005 7:08 pm

I can't help but notice how... well endowed the beast women store clerks are.

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Postby DDX » Thu Sep 29, 2005 11:15 pm

Well then, here goes:

Gameplay: The gameplay of Dragon Song isn't bad at all. My only real complaint with the combat system is the lack of an ability to select enemy targets. The AI isn't too bad, but it still doesn't fight as well as it could. In addition, for the first 3-5 hours of gameplay, you only have 2 party members, and Jian is the only one who can put out any real damage, so the battles take some time. Fortunately, being able to speed up battles by holding down the R button mitigates this somewhat. Nevertheless, combat flows at a smooth pace, and is quite enjoyable.

The twin combat systems are actually quite nice. It allows you to gain either money OR experience at a very fast rate. As a result, leveling up doesn't take long at all if you stick with Virtue Mode for a bit, and making a fair amount of Silver is easy in Combat Mode. If a single combat mode had been used, they would have had to halve the item drop rates and XP gain to maintain balance. However, with two systems, you can focus on what you need, and drastically reduce the amount of time spent powering up your characters.

The loss of HP while running is irritating at first, but after you get a dozen levels or so (which doesn't take long at all, I might add), the loss is so negligable you can more or less ignore it. Also, it's kind of depressing having a point-and-click interface to navigate towns and the world map, instead of of being able to explore on your own. Still, the towns still feel right... small villages seem small, and big cities are big, with plenty of people to speak with. I must admit, however, that I miss being able to examine nearly every random object and get a description, or a funny sequence.

Sound: Not bad at all. I was disappointed by the lack of any voiceovers, but the music still has enough of that old Lunar feel to it, although it isn't quite as Lunar-y as it could have been.

Graphics: A very good job was done with the visuals. Despite the move away from SD sprites, and the move to an isometric viewpoint, the game is still instantly recognizable as Lunar. During battle, the shifting camera is a nice touch, although your character's battle sprites, being so close, are rather pixelated. It was a letdown not to have any animated cutscenes, but I'll cope.

Story: The story picks up rather slowly, but at about 5 hours into the game, things are starting to move forward. Still can't say too much about it, though. Being able to converse with your party for hints on what to do next is a very nice touch, particularly sincwe some of your objectives in the beginning are rather vague.

Characters: All I have in my party right now is Jian and Lucia, although I'm pretty sure that I'll pick up my next member any time now. Still, Jian and Lucia have been entertaining thus far.

Translation: Thankfully, the translation isn't bad at all, and it most certainly isn't the blasphemy Legends was. Some of the lines seems a bit suspicious, such as Jian's introduction, when he makes a special point of mentioning he can stand on his head... couldn't he just say "I'm very acrobatic" and leave it at that? Still, the dialogue is mostly spotless.

In conclusion, I think UbiSoft did a decent job with this game. It's not as good as the Sega CD or PSX games... but I don't think anybody really expected that, with all of the new ideas that are used in this game. Some of the ideas worked, and some are terrible, but in the end, Dragon Song is an entertaining new adventure worthy of the Lunar name.
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Postby WD RPG WD » Thu Sep 29, 2005 11:48 pm

When can those of us who arn't buying it see pictures?

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Postby segaboy7 » Thu Sep 29, 2005 11:49 pm

Though my impressions are from Lunar Genesis as my copy of Lunar DS is still not in. I really love the game and truly the only real problem I have with it is not being able to select enemies well battlling, The HP taken away from running doesn't bother me as it somewhat makes it realistic and makes it less tempting for people to run from enemys.

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Postby GhaleonOne » Fri Sep 30, 2005 12:12 am

WD RPG WD wrote:When can those of us who arn't buying it see pictures?


And you call yourself a Lunar fan. :P

Nah, there's some screens in the DS section, but I assume you've probably already seen those. I have no way to take any or I would.
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Postby YoungDyne » Fri Sep 30, 2005 3:28 pm

This'll be big, but I'd like someone to tell me if they agree on some level.

I'd also like to mention to everyone to check your manual, it lists Rufus as human race with an unknown age...how odd.

I'm about 5 hours 30 minutes in, I have Gabryel on my team as of a short while ago, I'm level 13 and I have a handful of impressions to leave behind here.

Okay, the game is a lot better than those reviews make it sound. I mean, I read them and even though it got a 7, which is pretty good, most reviewers would just complain about things like running or the non-targeting for most of the article. Like I'm sure someone has mentioned, it's no big deal.

Running quickly becomes no problem at all, and while the AI for choosing targets is odd (I seem to always attack the weakest enemy first...and when I'm being pounded, poisoned, and blinded by stronger enemies, that's not a fun thing) it doesn't make anything significantly harder. It's hard for me to imagine dying because of it.

I can't test running from battle because I found out my DS mic is defective. This is the first game I've tried it on, and it doesn't work. I've tried screaming "Run!" as loud as I can, and nothing.

While I critisized the cards a first, I am extremely grateful for them now. They add some depth and strategy to gameplay, not to mention a mini-game...which in all the reviews I've read has yet to be included.

All things considered, I'd say Kizyr's 75% review sounds right. Which isn't bad at all.

However, I'd like to go ever the 2 things I don't agree with.

1) The money/job system. Doing the side quests to get stuff to earn money is a fun idea...but they either need to put a spin on it, make things cheaper, or make it so you can select to go back to towns you've already been in immediately, instead of back-tracking through forests all the time.

Like I said above, things are expensive. I'm talking a few thousand Silver for a piece of armor in the first few hours of the game. How much do you make? Roughly 200-300 Silver per job. After doing those kinds of jobs and backtracking frequently, it gets tiring. Sure, you can do bigger jobs. But they require that you pick up a lot of items, and you just may earn the same amount faster when taking the small delivery requests. You could try selling the items you find, but you're lucky if they sell for more than 10 or 20 silver a piece.

Hmm, you know what? This is getting too big. I'm going to add my next problem in detail next time I post, which is the scripting. It starts out fantastic, but for me sours by a few hours in. All I can say for now is I hope it gets better. And I hope Gabryel doesn't stay such a drama queen xD

I'm still very much enjoying the game, though!

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Postby Kizyr » Fri Sep 30, 2005 4:45 pm

Just a couple responses that might help you out here.

I can't test running from battle because I found out my DS mic is defective. This is the first game I've tried it on, and it doesn't work. I've tried screaming "Run!" as loud as I can, and nothing.


It's not yelling, but blowing into the microphone that'll trigger the run command. Try doing that. To date, I've never had the microphone 'accidentally' set off, though.

Like I said above, things are expensive. I'm talking a few thousand Silver for a piece of armor in the first few hours of the game. How much do you make? Roughly 200-300 Silver per job. After doing those kinds of jobs and backtracking frequently, it gets tiring.


I found that the game is balanced a lot like TSS. You can't afford every piece of equipment all the time, so you have to manage your money and afford the more important pieces of equipment first. You return to Searis (and other towns) at many points in the game, occasionally richer, so it's nice to always have something to do with your money.

Rather than trying to always optimize your equipment, try buying just what you need and making it through the following dungeon. KF
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Postby Alunissage » Fri Sep 30, 2005 5:16 pm

I'd agree, but feel compelled to add that there's a bit of EB's problem in this -- finding the item you just bought in the next dungeon. When you're essentially bankrupting yourself to buy one or two items, finding one of them in the next area is frustrating.

Regarding YoungDyne's example, I would guess that because you spend so much time in that area of the game, you're expected to gradually work up the cash to equip yourself. Of course, your next location after gettting Gab is a new town...

I don't think I ever died from the auto-targetting, but I ended up taking a lot more damage and consequently expending a lot more MP and/or healing items. That's why I'd get so annoyed at the spontaneous running. Trust me, you're not missing much by not being able to run; at this point I'd gladly trade your mic problem for mine.

I found the battle AI (or AS, as I started calling it) to be infuriating for most of the first half of the game and not so bad in the second half, when Jian was no longer necessarily capable of knocking out an enemy in one round. At that point it's good to have people tend to attack the weakest and eliminate some of the pounding. Still annoying when enemies that do 1-2 damage are taken out before enemies that do 40+.

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Postby YoungDyne » Sat Oct 01, 2005 3:43 pm

Kizyr wrote:It's not yelling, but blowing into the microphone that'll trigger the run command. Try doing that. To date, I've never had the microphone 'accidentally' set off, though.


Really? In bomberman on one of my other DS's (I had a couple of defected ones...having to do with the screen being messed up in some way) I only had to say "Boom!" and it would catch my voice...I could say anything, but point is I never had to blow. Does Lunar really work that way? Ha, well, no matter...I tried to blow, and it only works if I do it really, really hard. But atleast I can run, I guess?

About the items thing...do armor/weapons update at all in the game? Because if they got it to work so it always increases defense/attack by a certain percent instead of a set number I could understand affording it later in the game, when you're supposed to have a high defense/attack.

40 damage sounds like a lot. How far are you into the game, Alunissage? By the way, I'd like this idea of trading mics ;D


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