Nintendo DS review: Lunar Knights
It’s been almost a month since I’ve played Lunar Knights, and it doesn’t look like that’s gonna change anytime soon. You see, I have this habit of putting a game away when it pisses me off. Like I’m punishing it by putting it in a corner and refusing to play it until sufficient time has passed and wounds have healed. Sorry, I’m getting too far ahead of myself I think.
See, I actually liked the game, I really did. Sure the voice acting and the story in general were pretty cheesy, and there were gameplay elements that didn’t really wok out for me, but Lunar Knights is a very solid action RPG that shouldn’t be missed by any fan of the genre. Produced by Hideo Kojima of Metal Gear Solid fame, Lunar Knights is a quirky side product of his studio, and a spiritual sequel to Boktai for the GBA. It features a swordsman called Lucian and a gunslinger called Aaron, both after the vampires that rule their society, but for much different reasons: Aaron is the typical idealist and Lucian fight for revenge.
First, the good. Like i said, it’s a solid action RPG. Enemies and locations abound, and the ability to upgrade your weapons by using “junk” appealed to the obsessive compulsive in me, and I spent hours just leveling up and earning money to buy items for an upgrade. The story, while a little to earnest for its own good, is decent enough and propelled by killer animated cutscenes. The voice overs needed some work though. The puzzles were decent enough, but I’ve never been much of a puzzle fan myself so I can’t say much about that. I liked how the differences in the two characters made players gravitate towards either Lucian (sword) or Aaron (gunslinger). I leaned more towards Lucian for the mere fact that his sword slashes were strong enough even without terrenials to kill enemies.
About terrenials. They’re like elements that either character can attach to their weapons to imbue them with that element. However, it uses up an energy meter everytime the weapon is used. Aaron can only use his guns when he has energy, so it’s a bit of a bitch to use him sometimes.
What I didn’t like so much was the different weather patterns that you could control. Apparently the vampires control a weather satellite that you can unlock with each vampire boss that you defeat. The unlocked weather patterns cause changes in the areas that you explore such that certain items can be accessed that couldn’t be reached before. Would have been great if the items that you get were worth anything, but I never got anything worth a damn so I just didn’t bother anymore. I also basically ignored the items that gave stat boosts is specific weather because I didn’t want to have to change items all the time and I frankly found it wasteful to have to buy different items for each weather pattern.
The space battles that accompany each boss battle are also rather tedious and the control scheme’s really messed up, by having you move AND fire with the stylus. The resulting effect is that these space battles are tedious and difficult for me to finish, hence my not having finished the game.
The last dungeon in the game takes a good 30 minutes long, then you’re forced into a space battle with the final boss WITHOUT being given a chance to save at any point in between. I tried desperately to finish the last boss battle over and over (you’re just charged some money for every continue, but technically you have unlimited continues) to no avail. I finally just gave up and turned to Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time, which is a much more forgiving game. Look, I’m 25. i have a job I need to hold down, and gaming’s not the focus of my day anymore. If you’re gonna give me a really hard boss to beat, then have the decency to offer up a save point so I don’t have to fight my way back to challenge him again.
I’ll probably pick up Lunar Knights one of these days, just because it’s a really good game and i want to see the ending animation sequence. But with Partners in Time to keep me occupied and Phantom Hourglass waiting in the wings, that may be quite some time down the road.