Originally released in Japan as Lunar: The Silver Star, this game was remade multiple times, most recently for the PlayStation. But here's a new and improved one for the PlayStation Portable. More than 15 years have passed since the original graced the Sega CD, and now it's back with updated visuals and sound, as well as added cutscenes and story sequences that reveal more about the history of the four heroes. We had an opportunity to play a bit of Lunar: Silver Star Harmony in Japanese at the 2009 Tokyo Game Show, and now that we have our own build, we've been able to play from the beginning to see what has been added.
The original story didn't go into great detail about the four heroes, which included the Dragonmaster Dyne, a man that the game's protagonist, Alex, aspires to be. Silver Star Harmony looks to reveal more about the world's history and starts off with the legendary quartet trying to rescue the Goddess Althena. During this sequence, you'll be able to control the heroes in battle to get a taste of the gameplay, without worrying about dying, because the game will make sure you can get past this introduction. The presentation is what stands out the most: the backgrounds have been touched up to look more detailed and vibrant, and the characters are much better proportioned than the original sprites. The cutscenes look like what you might remember from the previous iterations as you start the game with Alex at Dyne's monument.
For those who aren't familiar with Lunar, enemies can be seen onscreen as you travel through different sections of the world, and battle is turn-based. You have the option to let the AI take over for a turn, or you can manually tell your teammates what to do. Before battle you can place your party members on a grid to determine how close or how far they should be on the map when the battle starts. Depending on your character, you may want to keep some party members in the back, but if they're too far and they need to move closer to reach the enemy, you'll waste a turn just to get them to move closer. It's pretty standard stuff if you're familiar with the traditional Japanese role-playing game formula, and this is one of the better ones from the mid-'90s.
Join Alex and his friends on their quest to become the next great adventurers in Lunar: Silver Star Harmony, which is set to be released March 2. Be sure to look for our full review then!