For me, the best roleplaying games (especially from Japan) came to the Super Nintendo, Playstation, and Playstation 2. I really can’t pick which console is the winner. One of my favorite series on the original Playstation was Lunar. Sadly, or perhaps thankfully, we haven’t seen many entries in the series other than remakes of the original two. After successfully bringing the first game from the Sega CD, then Sega Saturn, Working Design published Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete to the Playstation in 2000.
Picking up 1000 years after the events of the original game, we’re introduced to a new cast of characters. Lucia wakes up from her slumber on the Blue Star before her time. She has been tasked with reviving the planet once the ice age has passed, which was caused by an evil god named Zophar. Not knowing what to do, she travels to Lunar in search of the goddess Althena. On Lunar we met our hero, Hiro, an archaeologist with an young dragon cat like companion, Ruby. While exploring some ruins, Hiro was present when Lucia arrived on Lunar. Together they begin to travel the lands in search of Althena.
In your travels more characters join the group, Ronfar, a former priest who left his order and became a gambler after losing his family, Jean, a gypsy dancer with a hidden past as a trained assassin, and Lemina, a descendant of the mages from the fallen magic city of Vane. I had a stronger attachment to this cast as each had their own story and character arc to see through.
The gameplay is similar to the first Lunar, with sprite characters entering into 5 person battles. Ruby and Lucia are A.I controlled, randomly attacking and healing as needed, most of the time. Unlike Nall in the first game, Ruby does not revive members of your party, making the game instantly more difficult. Otherwise the battle system was the same, queueing attacks before each round, with each character (enemies too) taking turns depending on their speed. While simplistic by today’s standards, it still works wonderfully. (That battle seen above was freaking hard).
My favorite part of Lunar 2 was the epilogue. Few, if any, games have done anything like this before or again. Once the finally battle is over, Lucia returns to her post on the Blue Star. Both Lunar games are at their core, a love story. Alex loved Luna and fought for her. Hiro loves Lucia, and fought for her as well. After she left, he was heart broken. Taking an additional 10 hours, Hiro and Ruby find their companions spread across the land, and asks them to help him find a way to the Blue Star. In a heart warming moment, we see the two reunited.
Turning it up to 11, the packin bonuses for the game were insane. The jewel case, 3 discs for the game, bonus soundtrack, a poster/map, cardboard standee’s for each of the characters, a hardcover instruction manual, and Lucia’s pendant seen throughout the game. The pendant was no joke, that thing was heavy.
Lunar 2 was very much a product of it’s time. Good gameplay and story will always hold up, but some other aspects not so much. This is a Japanese RPG and as such utilizes many of the troupes and cliches associated with the genre. The cutscenes are a little grainy, but still fun to watch, while the voice acting is unbearable. Kids these days are spoiled with their high production values and quality products. We had to listen to people reciting lines without rehearsal, taking the job to pay rent.
The last version of Lunar 2 released was for the original Playstation and is a little difficult to track down. Still can’t go wrong with the re-release of the original for the PSP.
Play any of the Lunar games? What’s your favorite Playstation RPG? Comment below!
I had a crowd of people watch me play this in the barracks.