So I waltzed in my local EB Games looking for a bargain, and I though I found one. Lunar: Dragon Song, a game translated and distributed by Ubisoft, for a meagre $15 (used with box, manuals, the works). If I could turn back time, I'd have kept my cash and bought a ticket to see a drunken homeless sleep - it would probably have been more entertaining.
Now comes the bashing. Lunar DS (notice the initials - L.A.M.E.) is a piece of shit game that has to be the worse RPG ever created. It's about as fun to play as eating a llama's vomit, and probably looks even worse (no offence intended to all llama's out there). Within the first 15 minutes of playing, I was already starting to bitch at the game and thinking I had just wasted time and money I could have spent reading a book.
There are a number of things to bitch about this game, including but not limited to:
- Running (or dashing as the call it) drains your fucking HP. What kind of a fucking idiot thought with his half-assed logic that running hurts anyone? What did he think, "oh, we'll make the characters asthmatic, but they're actually couriers! How funny" ? WTF!
- You cannot gain Items and Experience at the same time. Yes, you've heard me right. When running around (ouch, my feet hurt!) in monster area, you can select between "Combat Mode" where monsters give you items and reappear infinitely, or "Virtue Mode" where you are kind of sacrificing the monsters you fight to the Goddess Althena. The monsters do not reappear, and you obtain "Althena Conduct" points. So you're never actually gaining experience - you're just sacrificing living things (birds and bees and blobs and the likes) to your goddess so she makes you stronger.
- Besides that, items you get from monsters are totally useless - you're actually getting whiskers, feathers, tails, clay, rusty kettles (WTF?), etc. Ok, I'll admit that gaining money (Silver in this game, they just didn't want to do like everyone and call it gold) from monsters directly is kind of idiotic - but having to fight for hours to get enough crappy items to sell (less than 10 silvers per items at first) and buy heavily overpriced items and equipment is even more stupid - especially considering the fact that getting money from monsters has come to be expected from RPG games.
- And as I just said, items are fucking expensive. For example, a basic armour in the second city is around 2400 silvers, which is way over any sort of budget from a beginner. Considering you get your ass kicked in battles, it's an understatement to say the game is unbalanced.
- Speaking of battles, I could probably go on for hours about how fucking stupid the battle system is. Not only can you not gain items and XP at the same time, the manual states: "Note that you cannot select the monster to attack. Whatever monster is most appropriate will be attacked automatically". Who's the idiot that thought of this, so I can bash his head in with a clue-by-four? "Most appropriate"??? You mean the fact that I'm getting bashed on by monsters that do 15 dmg per hit and my character decides that he's going to attack the fly beside it that only does 1 dmg per hit is somehow logical behaviour? That any sort of battle strategy is missing from this game is supposed to be ok? Oh of course you can select which of your allies to heal with magic or on whom you're using an item... But you can't say which enemy to attack. Bravo, captain idiot!
- You'll have plenty of time to constantly repeat to yourself how idiotic it is to have no control over the fighting, because the largest percentage of battles are done by selecting Auto Fight and holding the right shoulder button - which speeds up the battle by 3X. That is one of the only smart features of this game, and that's saying a lot.
- Status effects are extremely idiotic. For example, being "poisoned" means that your HP will drain whenever you attack and enemy... But wait, if it was only that, it would be normal, logical, and predictable - nooooo. Some asshole decided that a) poison also drains MP, removing your ability to heal and cure yourself when you don't have any items left. b) poison does not affect you when outside of battle, so walking around doesn't draining HP or MP - that is unless you're dashing (ouch, a dust particle hit my hand!). c) poison (and possibly other status) is not cured when using an Althena Statue to heal yourself. So you need to use the statue, cure the poison, and then use the statue again. Thanks for wasting my time.
- Every single use of the DS's capabilities by this game is token and can be done without. The mic is used only for running away from battles by blowing on it like an idiot. The dual-screen in battle doesn't show much except enemies in the air, which could have been on the lower screen. Outside of battle, it just displays your hp and mp, which is pretty useless - oh wait, I forgot you loose HP while running (ouch, a fly just hit my ear!), so maybe that's a good thing. The touch-screen gives you access to the menus which can all be brought up by pressing the appropriate button on the DS. You can also walk around using the arrows on the touch screen, instead of using the much more efficient D-pad. The wireless multiplayer game consists of scratching cards and hoping you can find a pair that's stronger than your opponent's.
- From all that is said so far, one thing can be deduced: there is no balance in this game. To further this, the secondary "support" character, Lucia, cannot kill a single fucking monster in one shot until she is at least level 11 or 12, and even then it's by luck. She has a limited amount of MP and her spells take huge amounts of it - for example, having 46 MP when a "heal one" spell costs 10, and "heal all" costs 40 seriously sucks. And then you get poisoned, and by the end of the excruciatingly long battle, you're out of MP completely and can't heal yourself. Fucking shit.
- After 4 hours of gameplay, I still haven't been told that I was expected to either save the world, save a damsel in distress, that a legend had to be fulfilled and it could only be me. That's a first in any RPG I've even played. Get with it, goddamnit!
- The dialogues are boring and bland, and from what I've heard in reviews, this is Ubisoft's fault - they just botched the job, didn't create any new puns or witty comments that were lost in translation, and even made a bunch of typos that plague the game as well as the manual.
- There are "side-missions" to do, given by the local Gad's Express. But they are based on obtaining an item (either a package, or sundries left by monsters) and delivering them to another city. But the higher paying ones will require dozens of a few types of items (some I haven't even seen yet, and that was a job from the first city) and it costs money to drop a job if you realize it's too hard. Making money from these jobs will require you to spend hours running around (ouch, my spleen!) like a headless turkey.
- I'll concede that the character design in itself is nice. Within dialogues in the city, the faces of main characters as well as city dwellers are nicely rendered - or rather, they are nicely drawn, scanned and coloured. The cities are also cute, very old-school and rpg-like. Here ends the positive side of things.
- Since the menus can be accessed by touch-screen, some idiot thought that everyone that would play this game is retarded, so they had to make every "hotspot" on the screen veeery obvious. So, they made icons that grow and shrink to a rhythm - but they didn't notice that the algorithm they're using sucks ass, and it looks as ugly as a baboon's shithole. So half of what you see on the screen makes you want to puke.
- Those city dwellers you see in the game all look the same, since they took half a dozen artwork, changed the colour of the clothe and hair, and called that variety.
- Ok so the sound isn't actually bad, the sound effects are good, the music is entertaining - it's old-school, so the fact that it's not using the whole power of the DS is acceptable, in my opinion. You have a "sound test" option in the menu from the start so you can listen to the music and sound effect loops all you want. Pretty sweet.
- They didn't try putting voices, which is thankful because they probably would have sucked like everything else.
- Out of 3 people I know that bought the game, none have played more than an hour of the game. They all, without exception, got pissed at it and stopped playing.
- The game was repeatedly nominated as "worst game of" something (year, all time, etc) by magazines and websites all over the place. User ratings range from an atrocious 2.1 (which is still generous) to an idiotic 9.1 on gamespot, and that stupid asshole just sais "Hey, just forget about what everyone sais, buy the game anyway!". You know, like he was bought off body and soul by the makes or the game. Get a life, idiot.
- Remember, this is bargain bin $15 (Canadian!).
- If you're a Lunar series fan - run away as fast as you can. You will hate this game with a passion. The more you're a Lunar fanboy, the more you'll want to travel to Japan just to assassinate the idiots who made this game.
- If you really want to waste your money, go buy a Sega Genesis and get Rolo to the rescue.
Well now. I guess I feel better. Now, to send an email to the makers of the game.....