Aaaah..... Lunar. Having first played Lunar on the Sega CD back in the day (and not liking it that much), I don't know what pushed me to buy Lunar on the Playstation when it was released. Nostalgia? Or maybe it was the complete lack of RPGs released in the past couple of months? I don't know, but I never regretted that decision.
I think that this edition of Lunar must have had a great revision to its text, because I remember the old Lunar being pretty dry as far as emotions go. But the new one, man, it has one of the best scripts I've ever seen, and it tells the simple story in a way that makes it seem much more interesting than it probably should be.
The story in Lunar is quite simple: the main character, Alex, always dreamed of going on adventures like his hero, Dragonmaster Dyne, did, and one day he gets his wish. Although it starts out innocently enough, Alex's adventure takes a turn for the worst and the lad must now save the world and the one he loves. Original huh? Not really, but the way the script is written makes up for any inherent simplicity, and because of that, I rank Lunar as having one of the best stories ever in a game, based on emotional impact.
Let me tell you that this game will make your eyes watery and your hands sweaty. And you will laugh, oh yes you will laugh.
Gameplay is pretty basic. This is a very old-school RPG, ala Final Fantasy IV (FF II US), where you don't have any choice in the progression of your characters. Battles have an innovative function however, being a mix between a typical RPG battle system and a strategy/RPG. You can move your characters around on the field, and distance is taken into account during combat. If you have a big, slow character, he will not be able to walk far to hit enemies, and vice versa. This makes using a bow weapon kinda cool, although they don't hit hard. And near the end of the game, you really see why you need to disperse your characters on the battle field because bosses will start using area of effect spells on you, so watch out! But you also have a bunch of spells like that at your disposal, so group those monsters together and watch 'em burn.
The battle system is a breath of fresh air for the most part, but I do feel like the normal monsters you face are too powerful and take too long to kill. I'm a big fan of the 15-20 second Final Fantasy style random monsters battle system, because taking almost two minutes just to kill some no-name monsters is just too long. Although, the trick to that is to start using your magic abilities in fights, which makes them go much faster but will cost you a lot of money in magic point regenerating items. Aside from the battles, this is your typical RPG system with levels, MP and HP. Nothing special, just classic stuff, and it does the trick.
The graphics are old, because this is a remake of a 1993 game (released six years later) and it shows. Although it sports nice 2D sprites, and some of the in-battle spells look good, I cannot call this game anything other than adequate looking. Although it seems to look slightly better than Lunar 2, I'm not sure why. But who cares about graphics? This is a PSOne game, not Xbox 360 or whatever. They have a certain charm to them but that's it.
Lunar's sound is generally very good. I have to tell you, I just LOVE the music in this game, and I love the music soundtrack that comes with it. I've always been a fool for game soundtracks and this one isn't any different.
As far as voice acting goes, it does what it is supposed to do. It works well most of the time but could have been better...especially in battles. Man you will want to KILL your characters, especially Nash, after you hear them say "Check this out!" for the 35th time in a boss battle. They have a special line for every spell they cast and it gets old real fast. The voice acting seems to come around when it matters most however, and the music is awesome so the sound, overall, warrants a high score.
Overall, Lunar is an amazing game that I think is well worth the price of admission, even though that price is rather high. But you do get a very nice collector's box with it, with an awesome hardcover manual, a 'Making Of' cd AND a soundtrack cd (whheeeeeeeeeeeeee for the music!)! And don't forget, when you buy Lunar, you buy a piece of RPG history.