Lunar: Dragon Song Review


What were they thinking with this one? Dragon Song easily has some of the worst video game mechanics I’ve ever seen. Another issue here is at least most titles stick to just having one awful gimmick that was thrown into the game. This has a bunch of them and we’re definitely going to have to talk about why they are an issue. There is a decent game buried in here somewhere but the game makes it as difficult as possible to try and find it. I can see why the franchise basically died with this one.

The story takes place many years before Lunar Legacy so now we can see why everyone looked up to the Dragon Master and why all of the dragons were in poor shape from the start of the first game. Well, Jian is just your average main character who looks up to the old legends of strong fighters. One day he and Lucia are on a usual delivery job from their guild when they wander into a town and fight some monsters. That’s when they find out that the town general is actually a mad man chasing power. He takes out the dragons and becomes the Dragonmaster. After that he kidnaps Lucia.

Jian has to get her back but the only one who can defeat a Dragonmaster is another Dragonmaster. Jian needs to take down all of the dragons and get some powerful friends by his side if he is to save her but it won’t be easy. Fortunately Jian is the kind of guy who learns really fast and isn’t afraid to mix it up with the enemies. In fact, he does have more character than the first game’s protagonist even if he is unreasonable a lot of the time. Get ready to hear Jian constantly talk about how he has to save Lucia and he will do whatever it takes. He says this a whole lot.

Dragon Song has a fairly weak character cast though. You won’t remember any of the heroes for very long which is a shame. Additionally, the main villain is so unremarkable that the game doesn’t even let you fight him. Yes, you have a main villain who actually goes out without a fight. If that’s not anticlimactic then I don’t know what is. It was such a bad way to go out too. Then for the heroes you have a revolving door here as your party members keep on changing. Maybe that’s part of what makes it hard to really sync up with them. They also don’t level up with you so be prepared for a level 1 guy to join you when you’re past level 10. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

While Jian’s determination to save Lucia is good, he does come across as unreasonable parts of the time. A big moment of this is when the world is at stake and he has deliveries to do but gets baited into joining a tournament to prove that humans are just as cool as the Beastmen. It wasn’t really a good time for that and he ended up being cursed for his efforts. The game has a theme about humans vs beast men similar to Arc the Lad, but it is not handled nearly as well to be honest.

Lets talk gameplay now though. On its surface this is a turn based combat game where you attack enemies and level up to victory. Here’s the first issue..you can’t choose who you attack. Yes, it is completely random by the system so get ready to always be attacking in the worst possible combinations. Enemies who you should defeat easily suddenly become an issue due to this. At least you’re earning EXP the whole time right?

Wrong! You only earn EXP if you switch to EXP mode but then you won’t earn any materials or items. Moreover, the enemies and bosses level up with you. The issue with this is that your efforts are largely wasted as the bosses get a whole lot of extra health for leveling up. Grinding up your levels just isn’t as satisfying as it usually is. Also, you don’t get money from minions no matter which route you choose so earning enough to buy the good equipment takes a long while. The best way is to just farm guild missions which is still quite slow and tedious.

It’s also worth noting that your weapons and equipment can break. Yeah, this has never been a good gimmicku and Lunar Dragon of all games was not going to be the exception here. Did I mention that you can run at your own peril? The game encourages you to walk because if you run then you will rapidly lose health points. If you get too low on health then you have to walk until you can find the nearest healing statue. It’s incredibly inconvenient when you’re at lower levels and don’t have a whole lot of health to speak of.

There is no quick travel system for each town. You can use ports to skip some areas but at the end of the day be prepared to do a lot of running. If you want to open the chests in an area you have to defeat a bunch of minions within an allotted time while in EXP mode. The game really wanted to make sure every aspect of the game was as painful as possible. Now you may be wondering, why isn’t the game a negative score then? Well, the answer is because the game still has enough interesting points where I would say it’s worth a playthrough. Even if just to see how bad these mechanics are.

The graphics are decent even if I would definitely not call them very good. I would have liked actual cutscenes or at least some illustrations instead of the hard to read text that is spammed at you. The soundtrack is pretty forgettable though so you won’t remember it for long. The game took me around 20 hours to complete which is really not all that bad. It definitely could have been a lot worse that’s for sure. There isn’t really any post game to speak of though so forget about having any replay value.

Overall, Lunar: Dragon Song is definitely what I would call a soulless RPG. A lot of the decisions are completely baffling as to why you would ever even want to add them in. They straight up take a lot of the enjoyment out of the experience. This game should have been an easy 7 and yet I couldn’t give it a positive score. The gameplay is just slowed down far too much. To run away you even have to blow into the microphone which is also horrible. There are probably even more mechanics I could mention but you get the general picture. Dragon Song was just never going to be all that good because the gameplay is a huge part of any RPG. Same with the story and that was just pretty bland.

Overall 5/10

Lunar Legend Review


Lunar Legend is one of those games that has been buried in my backlog for many years. As I finally approach only having 20 games left though, it was time for this one to come out and have some fun. Lunar Legend is a solid RPG even if it feels like it’s running on speed mode half the time. While it isn’t quite able to match up against a lot of the bigger RPG titles, it’s a fun game.

The basic plot starts out with Alex still looking up to the old heroes of legend. There used to be a Dragonmaster who tamed the 4 dragons and saved the world. While it seems like the age of heroes has long passed, things change once Alex and Luna make it to a nearby town. See, the Evil King Ghaleon has risen and he quickly murders the 4 dragons. The only way to stop him is for Alex to become a Dragonmaster. To do so he will have to pass the 4 dragons’ tests even though they are already dead. Will that be enough to stop this new evil?

Lunar Legend is shorter than most RPGs as it is a few hours under 20. Typically you expect an RPG to be at least 20 hours although of course that isn’t always the case. This one just feels like it’s abridged though. You’ll be spending a large chunk of the game running around with Nash until they mention the Dragonmaster bit. Suddenly you beat all 4 dragons within an hour or two and are running through the climax. You can’t say the game drags on though that’s for sure. I do like the brisk pace of the game but I think it could have used a few more hours to feel like we went through all of the plot points.

Additionally, the characters are a bit weaker than most. Take Alex, he has to be one of the blandest RPG heroes I’ve seen in a bit. He has some good moments near the end of the game but for the most part there isn’t much to him. The same goes for the main heroine Luna. The two allies who do stand out are Nash and Jessica though. Both of them talk a lot tougher than the other characters and don’t mind throwing around the insults. Nash believes himself to be an elite so he always has that air of arrogance although his skills don’t back it up. Jessica’s more of a fighter so she backs up her tough talk more but together they have a solid dynamic.

Kyle gets most of the back and forth with Jessica though as they tend to bicker about everything. I can’t say he is one of the better characters though. Finally there’s Mia who is a lot quieter than the others and always tries to be super polite. She’s a nice person but not very interesting. The big villain Ghaleon was cool though. I liked his evil king persona and the guy just did a good job of taking everyone down. His plan was quite sound.

So on the whole the character cast could have been better and that is probably a factor in why this RPG didn’t manage to break through to the next level. It’s all relative though because in a vacuum this game is still quite good. The gameplay is your classic turn based system filled with special attacks, items, and physical moves. You will want to get some good level ups to deal with the final bosses. The game can be challenging but never overwhelmingly so. The game has a good balance at all times which is important.

There doesn’t seem to be a lot of replay value after the main game has concluded so no big post game to talk about but the main campaign is long enough where that’s fine. The graphics are solid as well. I’m glad we got some illustrations at least even if there weren’t any cutscenes around this time. The soundtrack is decent too, nothing to write home about but it gets the job done.

For gameplay tips I would just say that your physical attacks are sometimes better than the special ones. Yeah it’s a bit odd but sometimes throwing out a normal move is just way stronger than the special attacks. I’m not sure why that is, perhaps they don’t scale up when you increase your level? Maybe it’s also that critical hits are just really good here so that helps to make up the difference. Take your average 3 hit combo. If you get no lucky hits you may deal 150 damage while the super attack deals out 170. Well, if you get a lucky hit that does around 80, then you’ve just beat out the super attack by 10 points. If you get more than 1 lucky blow, then you can see how the special attack easily gets left out.

Don’t even get me started on the final smash attacks. Those are surprisingly very weak. At one point I decided to use it for kicks and it didn’t do much damage at all to the boss. Those are best used for fighting minions since they deal damage to all units at once. It’s a good way to fight those skirmishes but I would say not to bother for bosses. Passive supers like restoring everyone’s health is always good though so that’s one I would keep at the ready. The single best passive super in the game is the one that makes your team invincible for 3 turns.

While I said the game was not crazy difficult or anything, the final boss was pretty insane. For a little while there I thought I was going to have a big issue with him but fortunately the attack of making you invincible for 3 turns was just what I needed. It allowed me just enough time to win. It was a close one but that just shows why this ability is absolutely critical so don’t waste it on minions since it takes a long time to recharge.

Overall, Lunar Legend is a solid game. It might speed through the interesting parts of the game a little too quickly but you do feel like the characters are being proactive about shutting down the villains so it explains why everything is moving so quickly. I already have the prequel DS game so I’ll be reviewing that soon but I can safely say right now that it is a big downgrade from this one. Lunar Legend played it very safe and got a solid score while the other one took some big risks but unfortunately none of them paid off in the slightest. Ah well, hopefully the Lunar series returns some day with a proper next installment.

Overall 7/10

Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits Review


RPGs tend to always be a lot of fun because you get to have a blast hanging out with a group of characters for a while. In this case the game took me close to 40 hours so you’re not likely going to forget about these guys anytime soon. The plot is solid and the cast of characters is good. The game also has you switching between two sides which is handled very effectively. This is definitely a game you won’t soon forget.

There are two main characters as I mentioned. First you have the humans led by Kharg. He is a prince who fights for the humans against the Deimos, a race of creatures that seemingly want nothing more than chaos and to destroy all humans. Kharg has no reason to doubt this and continues slaying them all but one day he meets a girl named Lilia who is on the run from a corrupt government. She explains that there are 5 magical stones and if they are all collected then the person who has all 5 will gain unlimited power. Since the Deimos are after this, Kharg realizes that he will have to assemble them himself.

The other story follows Darc, who is a slave who lives a rather brutal life. One day his owner is destroyed by a pack of deimos and when Darc is unable to protect his furby he comes to believe that power is everything. He ends up going on a rampage and becoming King of the Deimos. He now wants to slaughter all humans and aims to collect the stones in order to do so. He also meets up with Lilia who is determined to help him see the light but it’s rather difficult since both species are so opposed to each other.

I can’t think of another game like this where you keep switching between both sides and ultimately have to pick one at the end. Certainly not any RPG that I know of so this was pretty fun. Every chapter the game forces you to change sides so you get to really see their point of view. Everything about the sides is isolated which includes your items, level ups, and money. It makes you feel like you’re playing 2 20 hour games at the same time. The stories are connected of course by the plot and such but the characters don’t actually get to meet until you are almost at the very end of the game. This allows for a whole lot of build up which is always a good idea.

Adding to the tension is that Kharg and Darc are brothers who are half human and half deimos. This is something both of them try to hide since being a hybrid in this world would certainly be frowned upon. Naturally there is also a lot more to the story than I’ve mentioned as they both accumulate a lot of allies and the story has a lot of twists. That is often the case with RPGs after all and part of why the genre is so great. It’s definitely got to be one of the best game styles out there.

The gameplay is similar to Disgaea as you move each character around the board and unleash their attacks. After everyone has made their attack then the enemy team is allowed to do so. Additionally, your EXP is based on how much damage you deal and on who gets the finishing blow. As a result you will likely end up with a very unbalanced team depending on how you fight so keep an eye out for that. You can learn skills to help you out through the game and of course you will want to make sure you grab some great equipment as well. It can be the difference between victory and defeat here.

There are a few aspects of the gameplay that could be improved though. One if that this is a game where the cutscenes are all unskippable. Trust me, it’s never fun to have to watch cutscenes again after you have been defeated. The final boss is especially guilty of this since you will likely expect to lose there a few times and getting back through all of the cutscenes takes around 30-40 minutes each time. I got beat down 2 times before winning eventually so it was a long path. It does make sure that you will do a lot of training before you try a second time though.

The gameplay can also be a bit slow and would have benefited a whole lot from having some king of speed up feature. Something to make the turns go by faster would have just been genius since the turns can take a while and absolutely add up. I’d also like to say that the final boss is incredibly cheesy. Defeating him requires a rather unusual battle style that feels like it is exploiting the battle and yet, it’s the only viable way to win. It also takes a while as a result since my team was not built for long range encounters. I had to level up my fighters like crazy.

Graphically the game certainly holds its own though. It’s a PS2 game that has a good amount of polish and definitely wasn’t just thrown together at the last second. The character designs are on point and the battles we get inside of the cinematics are good. The soundtrack is a little on the forgettable side though. There aren’t a whole lot of tracks but they get the job done.

Really the game’s biggest strength here is how good the plot was and how the game utilized having two main characters the way that it did. I thought that was a really good way to do things. The game is also long at around 40 hours. There isn’t a ton of replay value after beating the game but with that kind of length you don’t really need a lot like that. If you can get the game for a decent price then you’ll definitely want to do so. It’s a unique game with a lot of features that are different from usual and I thought it pulled this off.

Overall, Arc The Lad is a great game. I’ll admit that it could use a little more polish in some areas of the gameplay. There are things that can be improved like the speed and the design of the final boss. That being said, the story is just really solid. The game absolutely can hold its own with the bigger RPGs out there and I look forward to playing through the sequel someday. Hopefully more games use this style of two main characters some day because the build up and the inevitable confrontation is always a blast.

Overall 8/10

Asdivine Dios Review


It’s been a while since I played my last Asdivine game but they definitely never get old. The Asdivine series consistently delivers with excellent gameplay and a solid cinematic experience. Pretty much any RPG title could learn a thing or two from this series on quality of life updates. Granted, this one gives you so many different features that you’ll likely be stomping your way through the game but of course you don’t have to use every feature.

The game starts by introducing us to the world of Asdivine. In this world humans exist in relative peace as they are guarded by the guild. The world also contains many spirits and sprites who protect the world from the shadows. Or, at least some of them do. Unfortunately monsters have been attacking a lot more lately. Izayoi, the creator of the world was having an ordinary talk with Iris when all of a sudden he loses a lot of his magical abilities including teleportation. The same is true for Iris as well.

It seems that a human by the name of Odium is going around and destroying all divine beings. One way to destroy a god/goddess in this game is to take down their tree which is what he is doing. Izayoi needs to stop him but without his teleportation that means he will actually have to walk the ground as an ordinary person. He never liked humans in the slightest but he’ll have to get over that now. He will team up with his three most powerful followers, Iris, Minerva, and Friya. Together they aim to save the world and themselves by taking Odium down. Meanwhile there is a guild fighter named Keith who also wants to save the day but doesn’t exactly know who the main threat is.

We’ve got a proper gods vs humans kind of dynamic here and it’s pretty fun. In these things I’m usually with the humans side since the gods tend to be pretty corrupt but naturally it does depend on the setting. In this case the gods do seem pretty suspect like Izayoi basically ignoring the humans for hundreds of years. Based on his character setting it seems to me like he would have let a ton of humans die over the years since he couldn’t care less. Iris likes humans but she really seems to be the exception for the most part. Of course, the humans show their negative colors quite a bit too though like the random mobsters who assisted in murdering a town or everyone immediately thinking the worst of Izayoi.

As the creator, Izayoi isn’t really good at everyday conversation. He’s not sure how to act around humans and is even awkward around his friends. He’s pretty oblivious and lets them beat up on him if it makes them feel better. He definitely doesn’t have the same charisma as Zack from the first two Asdivine games but in fairness that is a very high bar. The original cast was always likely going to be the best. Izayoi gets better as the game goes on but he’s never all that passionate about anything. You’ll probably need to wait for a sequel to really see that.

I found the main cast to be a little on the weaker side as Iris was the only one I was a big fan of. She’s always trying to help out and do the right thing. No matter how often the other members of the group tease or even attack her, Iris always stays strong and keeps on smiling. That’s not exactly an easy thing to do in these circumstances to be sure. She manages to play around a lot while also getting her work done. Minerva is the more serious member of the group who is always taking shots at Iris. She eventually mellows out a bit by the end but it’s not easy to forget all the low blows. She’s also the youngest/weakest member of the group since she’s only around 100 years old so don’t expect her to do a lot of the heavy lifting.

Then you have Friya who is probably one of the more violent teammates you’ll ever see. She’s constantly threatening the other characters and even threatens Izayoi quite a bit. She isn’t afraid to rough him up a bit either if it’ll get her point across. As the most powerful ally, she fears nobody including Izayoi. It was impressive to see her dispatch Odium when he first attacked. Up to that point none of the other characters had been able to do much against him. She’s a powerful ally to have but at the same time, probably not an ally you will want to have with you since you will always be in danger.

Keith is the main supporting character and he’s fun. He’s pretty much a homage to the classic RPG hero. He has a lot of shiny armor/weapons at the ready and likes to talk about justice. He takes some losses but always gets right back up to fight again. It can be hard to reason with him but then you have Izayoi being intentionally vague at times too so a fight was basically inevitable from the start when you think about it. I liked Keith, he was a good rival to have at the ready. The main villain Odium was also really good. He’s definitely one of the standout characters here with the classic goal of wanting to destroy everyone. Effectively he blames the gods for standing by as everyone got slaughtered and now he aims to destroy everyone. The guy is pretty strong but to be fair his plan wouldn’t have gone very far at all without his partner Adusk.

So in a lot of ways Odium was really lucky throughout the game. He also did take his share of defeats so he’d have to keep teleporting away. The heroes didn’t have the best reaction times to be sure but teleporting is pretty much instant, so what are you gonna do right? Adusk doesn’t really have any character personality until the literal end of the game but he is a pretty interesting character. I enjoyed his origin since it makes a lot of sense and added some depth to the game.

I talked about the plot for quite a while so I should quickly talk about some other aspects. Needless to say, the story was a lot of fun. The gameplay is your standard turn based combat system but you are given a lot of freedom. You can turn attack animations off for example to streamline the battles. You learn magical abilities, physical skills, and normal attacks. You can also put your character on automatic but the catch is that he will always use the absolute weakest attack in his arsenal so choose wisely. As for battle strategies, personally I would recommend making Friya the leader over Izayoi because that grants a +5% stat boost to all attributes while he gives a 10% but only to speed.

Then for equipment there is the Berserk talisman which is actually really good. It raises your strength by 40% but the catch is that you can’t control your character. The boost is worth it. Additionally, you will earn ADP every other fight and a lot of buster tickets to exchange for weapons. This is where things get interesting. With the ADP you start the game with 1000 so I highly recommend as your first purchases buying the double EXP, double ADP, and double SP upgrades. That will leave you with around 400 so you can also get double coin or something but after that I would usually recommend the ability seeds. These abilities are key because you’ll be playing literally hundreds of battles as you got through the game so the doubles add up.

Near the end of the game you unlock the S level Buster minigame which can get you powerful weapons that are easily stronger than anything you will find in the story. I highly recommend grabbing these are any cost. It’s all luck based but you should get something good. With these weapons I was one shotting even the final bosses to the point where I made sure to crank up the difficulty to expert which made the final phase of the final boss a lot closer. You really feel like a champ by the end of the game and that’s always fun. There are a few features that the game is missing from Asdivine like triple speed for gameplay but the battles go quick anyway.

If I have one thing to say against the gameplay it’s that the enemy spawn rates are crazy. A battle is triggered every few seconds so if I wasn’t one shotting my opponents that could get old quick. There is an item called Mighty Salt that you can use to bypass minions but you can’t buy it so you just have to hope that you run into it. I think this could have just been made an option in the shop since I had literal millions worth of gold and would have gladly bought 100 servings of it. Pretty minor thing in the end though.

The graphics are really good. The game stands out and really looks top notch. The artwork for the Asdivine games is always super solid though so this definitely does not come as any surprise. Then you have the soundtrack which is top tier. The Asdivine games always have fresh themes that sound similar but are quite different. This is more of the same with each tune being perfect for action and really throwing you into the heart of things. There’s just no way to come out of this one without immediately looking up some of the tracks on Youtube.

Overall, Asdivine Dios is a great game. The main campaign should take you a little over 15 hours and then there are a bunch of trophies and multiple endings to try and acquire as well. It’s definitely something to work towards although I hope there is an easy way to get each ending without having to go all the way back. The gameplay is very streamlined and what I like about this series is that pretty much everything is customizable. You can really adapt the gaming experience to your preferences and have maximum fun. You won’t get lost as the directions are always quite clear. The story is satisfying and I’d definitely like to see these characters return and meet the originals at some point. This game did mention there being a ton of different worlds and universes so it is set up perfectly for a crossover.

Overall 8/10

Asdivine Dios Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 15h 28m
PS4 Trophies 3/21
Gold 3419805

Character Levels

Izayoi Level 77
Iris Level 77
Minerva Level 77
Friya Level 77

Steps 169170
Enemies Defeated 1809
Skills Used 65
Magic Used 227
Max Damage 999999
Max Hits 25
Overkill Count 4
Treasure Chests Opened 134/375
Max weapon synthesis 183
Weapons Dropped 13

Star Ocean: Second Evolution Review


This game has been on the backburner for quite a while. It’s one of the last PSP games I hadn’t played yet so this was cool to knock out. Mixing the classic RPG setup with some Sci-Fi is always fun. The game has a good story and the fact that all of your partners are basically optional is pretty interesting. Apparently the game has over 80 variations of endings depending on how you use your team which is also cool. The game gets pretty difficult towards the end and there’s even a trick you can do to make the final boss even more difficult. You must be a master of the game to even attempt that I would imagine because otherwise that sounds pretty crazy. I was in the mid 80s for my level when I beat the game and while the last two bosses were quite easy thanks to this, taking down some of the earlier Wisemen was brutal with how they would petrify each member.

The game starts off with Claude and his father working on a spaceship. Claude has always wanted to follow in his Dad’s footsteps by becoming a pilot himself one day but unfortunately this isn’t to be. On one of their expeditions he gets a little too close to an artifact and is teleported to a primitive planet on another star system. He now has no way of getting back home. He decides to pretend he is around there. Claude meets a girl named Rena who explains that he is likely the fabled Hero of Light here to save them all. Calamity is approaching after all. More and more monsters have been appearing in the land and nobody is able to stand up to them. Well, Claude will do his best to help out until the crew can find him but does he even want to go back now?

The monsters are the main plot for most of the game but then towards the end we get a full villain group known as the Ten Wise Men. These guys are interesting because the game is definitely trying to go for something with their names here. You’ve got Zadkiel, Lucifer, Michael, and Gabriel all on the same team. Effectively the Angels and Demons have all decided to team up to destroy the universe. Why? Well, to be honest while usually I’d say I couldn’t tell you for spoiler reasons, they don’t really have any reason in particular. They want to either rule the universe or destroy it just because they can. They make for a pretty fun group I have to say. Their inclusion was a little last second but it definitely did help to increase the stakes here. I also tend to like villain groups in general.

As for the main characters, Claude is decent but not quite as good as the average RPG main character. He gets really jealous whenever Rena talks to her old friend Diaz which can get a little iffy. This often makes Claude act rather petty around her which isn’t a good look. I also think he should have come clean with the group about being from another star system a lot earlier in the game. It would have helped a lot particularly since he knew that the aliens were using high tech items as well. A little heads up could have gone a long way to saving more lives.

The death count in this game is absolutely massive. The villains just have more abilities and tech than the heroes so stopping them is really a difficult task. In any head to head confrontation you can really assume that the heroes are about to get wrecked. There are quite a number of fights in the game that you have to lose in order to progress the story. It’s a fun concept for sure but the only dicey thing is you may end up wasting a lot of potions and revives in this fight since you think you have a shot here.

Star Ocean ends rather abruptly without much of an after-ending so don’t expect a lot of closure for the characters. In particular I was expecting one of the old characters to show up again but I guess their premonition that they would never see him again was correct. You get the feeling that this game was left rather open ended for a sequel at some point. You could end the series with this game and it still works but there is definitely enough material for that third game. It’s definitely a satisfying story. I liked the way things turned out and the end of the game got to give Claude a good rage mode so he was more intense at the climax than he was for most of the game. You like to see it because he needed some more intensity the whole time.

As for Rena, she’s a solid heroine. Rena has her own story in the game and I’m sure that would give her even more backstory and personality like exploring her scenes with Diaz and all. She does well and keeps up with Claude the whole time. They have their share of disagreements but Rena is always reasonable about the whole thing. She’s a fun character to have around and has more of a presence than the other characters. Due to the optional nature of the rest of the party they don’t appear in any of the animated cutscenes. Even in the text ones their characters can be interchangeable. For example, I lost one fight with the Wisemen a lot to I had to keep seeing the cutscene over and over again and the side characters would take turns on who would talk to him but with the same dialogue each time. It was pretty interesting to see.

The best of the side characters would definitely be the travelling thief though. Her backstory got more time to shine than the others and since she was with the team near the beginning we at least got to see a lot of her. Some of the guys near the end came in rather late to the point where I intentionally left one of the kids back at base since he would just slow us down. I did like the rival Diaz quite a lot though. His skill with the sword was really impressive. Even by the end it’s hard to say if Claude had truly surpassed him or not. The tournament was a nice little event to show the gap in their abilities.

Not surprisingly the graphics here are really good. The fact that there are cutscenes which are completely animated at different points in the game was also very impressive. You definitely don’t see that every day I can tell you that much. The in game graphics are also on point. Not totally graphics related but I do think the game could have made the animations a little shorter though. Whenever the characters use a super attack there is a long unskippable cutscene that draws out the battles just a bit. Considering that you are going to need to grind out a lot of battles this can add up quite a lot.

As for the soundtrack, that was pretty good. It’s not quite at Tales of tier where each game has a super standout track but it still works out pretty well. There’s a lot of depth to the game so in addition to the 25-30 hours it takes to beat the game you’ve got a ton of replay value. You can beat the game again as Rena or work to get all of the other endings. It’ll definitely take a lot of time to do this so this game will last you an extremely long amount of time. It’s part of why RPGs tend to be some of the best games, you’ll almost always be very attached to what is going on by the end.

Overall, Star Ocean: Second Evolution is a great game. The plot is excellent and the characters are fun to root for. The anime cutscenes help to make this game feel high budget and the whole climax with the Ten Wise Men showing up was really good and kept a high energy approach the whole time. I liked the way you could allocate your abilities into skills as you leveled up since it made you have to decide on what to upgrade first. Strategy plays a huge role in this game. Star Ocean the series is off to a good start so I look forward to checking out more games in the series at some point. Either way if you have a PSP then I highly recommend picking this game up.

Overall 8/10

Tales of Legendia Review


Time to continue the Tales of Series with Legendia as my next stop. It doesn’t exactly seem to be one of the more popular titles in the series but it’s a great title in its own right. It doesn’t quite match up to the Symphonia titles but then again what does right? The gameplay is on point and we have a good story here so at the end of the day that’s all you need. This is definitely not a game that you can try to just knock out real quickly.

The game starts with Senel and Shirley crash landing on the Legacy. The Legacy is a huge boat that is so big it serves as the hub world of the entire game. See, this ship is bigger than most countries combined to the point where it is practically the planet. It’s an interesting concept. Well, Shirley and Senel are on the run from a powerful group of villains led by Vaclav. Naturally the reasons for this are rather secret and Senel doesn’t intend on telling anyone. Unfortunately Shirley ends up getting kidnapped by the group. Senel meets up with a local authority figure named Will and a self proclaimed hero named Chloe. Eventually they also team up with a cheerful girl named Norma, a bandit named Moses, and a scholar named Jay. Together perhaps they can take this villain group down for the count.

In a 30+ hour RPG like this you can expect a whole lot of twists and turns. This is just the basic premise. Every character is keeping at least a few secrets in the back pocket for later on. The climax is a lot of fun and there are even a few loose ends which are likely either handled in the post game or left for a sequel. I didn’t really go into the postgame so I wouldn’t know if anything big occurred there. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case for at least some though.

Senel’s a good character. He is quick to get into fights which is always a quality you want to see in a hero. He has his own character arc of course so he will change a bit as the game goes on. Naturally one thing that will make his life a little tricky is that 4 of the heroines seem to like him so there will be a bit of tension there. Mainly his goal is to help Shirley out though and everything else is secondary. As long as he saves her then the rest will all come into place eventually.

Shirley’s a solid heroine as well although things definitely get a little dicey with her. She starts to weaken in the second half due to a lot of dicey decisions that she made. It almost turns into a bit of a guilt trip against Senel with the paths she ultimately went on. It makes her not always appear as selfless as you would think. I preferred her sister Stella although her role is a lot smaller than Shirley’s. Stella is more powerful and also just seems more heroic in general.

Then we have Will who may have the biggest role from all of the side characters. My main issue with him is that he seems to think he’s better than the other characters a lot of the time. He spends a lot of time lecturing the other characters and if they don’t agree with him then he will just smack them. Not exactly the kind of leadership you want to see from one of your allies right? He never quite got into my good graces by the end. Chloe’s a much more developed character. Her goals of being a true hero as well as her revenge plot are handled well. She definitely gets a ton of development as well and is really a key player in all of this. The fact that Chloe is a good warrior from the start is also important.

Then you have Norma who is mainly here to throw a bit of levity into the scenes. She is always having a good time and doesn’t take things as seriously as the other members. I thought her character was handled really well and she was consistent in being the voice of hope in the game. Whenever things were dire she would think of something to do. Norma also likes trolling the rest of the characters quite a lot which I can definitely appreciate. Moses is another member of the group but he’s a little more forgettable. The characters always give him a hard time and yell at the poor guy but at the end of the day he is a loyal ally. He’ll help out as much as needed.

Next up is Jay but I didn’t care for this guy. He’s not loyal in the slightest as he plays the field and tried to keep on grabbing more and more intel to stay ahead of the pack. Someone like that isn’t someone you can trust to have your back. Additionally by the end of the game he is quick to decide that he is cool being on his own. This guy was usually more trouble than he’s worth. Finally you have Grune but I’m still not sure what the point of her character is. She shows up near the end of the game as a playable character and then proceeds to do nothing for the rest of the game. If you ask me she could and should have been cut out. It feels like there must have been a big plot for her that was cut out or something because otherwise her whole role here just doesn’t make any kind of real sense.

Then we have the villains such as Vaclav and his 3 generals. They make for a solid villain group. Definitely not the most memorable ones around but the armor was fun. They had better designs than character personalities but they did manage to be a real threat when they arrived. There are a number of villains and factions here as well so the heroes always have to watch their back or risk being attacked while they’re busy. The soundtrack is pretty good. It may not be Symphonia level but the tunes we get are reasonable. There’s enough of an assortment where you are bound to enjoy at least one or two of them. It could be better but I’m satisfied with what we got.

Naturally there is a lot of replay value here. The base game is already around 30 hours and then after that you have the post game which involves character stories for each member of your party. I don’t know exactly how long this is but coupled with what you already have you are going to have a lot of content to play through here. It’s always one of the big advantages of being an RPG, the fun never really has to end. The graphics are also solid of course. We get a few fully animated cutscenes and for the rest there is a good amount of voice acting as well as details to the backgrounds.

Oh yeah I almost didn’t talk about the gameplay. It’s fairly standard for Tales of. You play as the heroes in a 3D or at least 2.5D gameplay style. You can hit the opponents in real time and use basic attacks as well as items and super attacks. The gameplay flows pretty smoothly and there’s a decent strategy element here as you have to decide which enemy to attack and how to go about it. There are numerous options for each scenario so it’s not as simple as just deciding to run and gun it. That may work for a while but eventually you will need to do some level grinding to keep that sustainable.

Overall, Tales of Legendia is a great game with a lot of emotional moments. You should be pretty well attached to all of the characters by the time you end things off. The gameplay is smooth and the graphics are on point. The game is just a strong experience that I could recommend to any gamer. Whether you’re a fan of RPG titles or action games, you should enjoy this one. I’d definitely be down with a sequel coming out someday to revisit the cast.

Overall 8/10