I’ve purchased Lunar: The Silver Star over three times across the past 15 years. This February, I’m going to buy it again.
Lunar: Silver Star Harmony is the newest port of one of my all-time favorite JRPGs; this time on the PSP. I’d fallen in love with the Lunar games back in its original Sega CD days and picked up every incarnation ever since. From the PlayStation’s fully-revamped Silver Star Story Complete to the scaled down Lunar Legend on Game Boy Advance. The Lunar series has a strong cult following and I’m proud to count myself among the flock.
After playing through the PSP demo (released on the PlayStation Network earlier this week), I felt treated to sweeter, shinier eye candy with the more recent “Silver Star Story” flavor. The version of the story and gameplay so far appear faithful to the “Silver Star Story” incarnation and recycles its Gonzo-animated cut scenes. The soundtrack is just as familiar, though remixed to establish its own identity.
Withstanding the localization, while good, will be the most difficult for long-term fans of Lunar. Since the mid-1990s, the North American license for the Lunar games was cradled in the arms of Working Designs until its demise in 2005. The publisher and its captain, Victor Ireland, established their trademark in the form of their localizations, as well as their brilliant cast of voice actors. When time came to bring the PlayStation port stateside, extra effort was put toward bringing back the same cast from the Sega CD.
The license is now in the hands of Xseed, who–even though “Harmony” draws from the same material as its “Complete” predecessor–were not able to also acquire the rights to re-use Working Designs’ existing localization. This means a whole new script, new song lyrics, and new voice over cast for the English dub. This lack of consistency between this new port and the generations before it will be a challenge, though so far this orchestration has not felt inappropriate. As of this writing, I’ve yet to find any of the cast information and I’m anxious to hear if Ghaleon’s understudy can match the great John Truitt.
The PSP version will be released in two forms: Standard and Limited Edition. The standard edition, which is only the game itself, is a mere $30…cheap compared to most other PSP releases. The Limited Edition is a mere $10 more and will include the UMD of the game, a soundtrack CD, and 13 bromide cards of the Lunar’s lovely female characters.
Don’t want to spend money just yet? I encourage you to play the demo for free. Xseed seems to have followed Working Designs’ example by making the save data from the demo compatible with the full version of the game. Working Designs had the wisdom to establish a level cap in its demo for “Complete” to discourage unfair griding; I’m eager to see if Xseed is just as sharp. Additionally, applying the PSP demo’s save file is rumored to unlock special features in the full game. So get downloadin’!