Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Review: Luminous Arc 2

Luminous Arc 2 (DS)
Developer: Image Epoch
Marvelous Interactive (JP)
Atlus (US)
Release Dates:
May 15, 2008(JP)
November 18, 2008 (US)
Genre: Tactics RPG

If you missed the original Luminous Arc, then don't worry. You really didn't miss that much. The game was good but it was nothing special, especially when compared to Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced 2, which came out a few months before it and was still fresh in the minds of tactics RPG fans. It was a text-heavy tactics game that really did not offer much to the genre other than some good graphics. Luminous Arc 2 falls into the same problems that its predecessor had but fixes a few problems. Again, If you missed the original game, don't worry. The stories have very little to do with each other. In fact the characters from the first game only make cameos in this game.
The story revolves around a group of friends training to be knights in the kingdoms army who are blah blah blah... it doesn't matter the story is actually pretty pointless. All you need to know is main character can become special "Rune Knight" that gives him access to magical powers by "engaging" witches. All the regular cliche's are there so bring your check list. There is a lot of story too. So much so that the game offers you an auto-advance button so you can just set your DS down somewhere while it shuffles through the constant dialogue that can roughly be summed up with "Go there, fight guy. Now."
As for the game play itself- it's pretty standard for a tactics game. It doesn't go out of it's way to change the genre at all. The most interesting addition is the Engage system that allows the main character to access the powers of one of the witches in your party for a short amount of time- an amount of time that always seems to run out right as you go to fight the main bad guy of the level. The worst part about the battles is the archaic xp system the game uses. For doing a regular attack that doesn't kill an enemy you get roughly 2-3 xp. For killing an enemy you get ten times that amount. This can be rather tedious if you like to play a game like this for grinding and level gaining and pretty much guarantees that one character is going to become ridiculously strong while the rest of the characters slowly fall behind.
When it comes down to it though, despite the mountains of text and the archaic systems, Luminous Arc 2 is actually pretty fun. It's one of the few tactics games that actually uses that DS touch screen really well and it offer some good laughs if you pay attention to the text. Also, apparently developer Image Epoch immediately figured out what it's target audience was because there is a butt load of fan service in this game. So enjoy it.
Overall: Luminous Arc 2 is a great distraction if you've become bored with your better tactics RPGs. It isn't a great game that can stand up to other games in the genre like FFTA2 but it can hold its only, at least for a little while.

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