Lunar Eternal Blue Review by Geeky Sweetie
Title: Lunar Eternal Blue
Publisher: GameArts / Studio Alex (Japan) / Working Designs (USA)
This review is of the english version(s) by Working Designs which feature english text and english voice acting.
The story of Eternal Blue takes place long after Silver Star Story. In my opinion, Eternal Blue is the better of the two games, but last time I checked, that seemed to be a minority opinion. No previous experience with silver star is required to enjoy eternal blue. In fact, I played eternal blue first, back on the sega cd, and later purchased silver star after completing eternal blue. I have played all of the lunar games in all of their iterations including some that are not very good such as dragon song and walking school.
Anyways… The story of eternal blue is full of mythology, lore, romance, comedy, and suspense. It’s a very long game, around 70 hours, but has really no replay value since it’s the same linear story each time, but the fact that the lunar franchise is continuously remade over and over again for each new console generation is a testament to how wonderful the story truly is. I’m still hoping for a prequel someday with the original dragon master (dyne) as the playable character and his 4 heroes. Ghaleon-sama, yes please. ty :). But that’s neither here nor there…
Without giving too much away because that would ruin the fun for you, Eternal blue is a love story, teaching someone to love for the very first time, an alien like creature who has never experienced – and in fact is down right afraid of and confused by – human emotions, namely the budding romance between herself and the main treasure-hunter daydreaming adventure-seeking hero. It does bring back a few characters from the first game, though I won’t say who 🙂 you will just have to play and find out for yourself.
At the beginning of our story, young Hiro is exploring a nearby ruin with his trusty companion, Ruby, who claims to be a baby dragon, but really just looks like a pink, flying, talking kitten. He introduces himself in a long-winded monologue as he is being chased by various traps in indiana jones-esque fashion. Meanwhile, at a distant ruin elsewhere the other half of our love story is just awakening. She has a terrible vision, and says that the time for her awakening is much too early; she claims that she has an urgent message to deliver to the goddess and so sets out on a journey which will eventually cross paths with our main character. Along the way they are joined by a myriad of other characters with very distinctive personalities, from drunken gambling womanizers, to spoiled rich girls, to the typical “morally-obligated” “lawful good” type characters, a ninja-like character who was part of a human-trafficking ring. and a half dozen more very unique characters with rich and distinctive back stories.
What starts out as a very innocent young coming of age story, pulls you in, and makes you deeply care about what happens to each of the characters involved. A young boy leaves his village for the first time, dreaming of adventure, and ends up saving his world and risks everything to try to save the woman he loves.
The concept is very well fleshed out, full of lore, and emotion. I have never played a game and felt as emotionally invested before or since playing this game.
It’s standard oldschool JRPG turn based combat. You can see the monsters on the screen and avoid combat if need be, but you might be sorry later and need to spend a long time grinding to get through the current areas. The end boss in sega cd is widely regarded as one of the most challenging rpg endboss battles of all time. The sega CD version also featured the need to spend spell points (which are also used to level your characters skills and abilities) in order to save the game – that feature was removed in later renditions of the game. Throughout the game you are treated to dozens of anime-style cutscenes, and I think it was around 25 hours of voice acting. Working Designs has a unique and quirky sense of humor and put their own flavor into the translation. I personally enjoy this more than a literal translation and I find most of our voice actors to be better for the characters too, especially the english voiced Ghaleon over the original Japanese one. The one thing I wish Working Designs could have done was keep each character’s image song in the game, but they did not have probably the budget nor time to license each of the songs. The songs they did include are beautiful, both Lucia’s theme and Luna’s boat song make strong lasting impressions on me.
So other than running around avoiding or fighting turn based enemies and spending spell points to level up your characters, you can also engage in many extra activities like collecting bromides (trading cards) featuring artwork of each of the female characters. And I enjoy going around talking to all the npcs and reading all the books in the magic guild and exploring all the nooks and crannys which are so well fleshed out. There’s even a fully playable epilogue after you beat the game which adds an additional 3-4 hours to the game.
The only reason I can’t give it a 10 is that it is too linear – the exchange of course is that you have a very good storyline. It’s hard to strike a balance between story and freedom of choice. This game clearly favors story, so if that’s what you favor then this will be perfect for you.
I’ve already gone into detail about the characters and their strong emotional backgrounds and dialogues. Total 10/10 here for character interaction and creativity.
I’m torn on this one…. part of me… wants to give it a 10/10 for the multitude of anime cutscenes… but outside of those cutscenes, its standard 16 bit rpg-maker-esque faire here… not attractive by today’s standards definitely. Would love to see a fully cell shaded remake of this (similar in style to atlus’ Catherine). With the traditional anime-cutscenes still peppered in, that would be truly breath taking.
Music is good, both the vocal and instrumental performances. Unlike a lot of jrpgs, the music in Lunar has a very distinctive, brass band sound quality to it, relying on a lot of big band sounds like trumpets, horns, etc, instead of the more subtle, dreamy, fairy-like esque music in many other jrpg. the music is a bit more modern feeling, upbeat, loud, fast paced, and more in your face than most other background tracks.
Voice Acting: 10/10
It’s rare for me to really enjoy english dubbed voices, so the fact that I think our voice actors did better than the original Japanese ones is really a huge testament to the quality of the voice acting and singing within these games.
70 / 80 total points
88% Overall B+ Very Good Game For Girls.