To start off let me just say that I love the Lunar series. Working Designs did a great job with the series and even when Ubisoft took over on the Gameboy Advance and recreated the first Lunar game, it wasn't half bad. So when I hear of Lunar Dragon Song, I was pretty excited. Honestly, what could go wrong with a Nintendo DS Lunar game. How about everything? Graphics 3/5 Let's start with the graphics. This is probably the best part of the game because they really aren't that bad. Pretty colors and decent character designs. The backgrounds on the battlefields are a little plain, but is decent enough to get by. Sound 3/5 One of the things that caught my attention to the Lunar games was the soundtrack. Magical melodies that entranced me in the gameplay. The tunes in this game are fairly decent but nothing to write home about. There was a few times I found myself humming the tunes but few and between. Gameplay 2/5 There are lots of little problems that add up, making this a terrible game. What happened is the creators had decent ideas but was poorly executed. One such example is you actually are a package delivery worker, transporting goods you pick up or receive for money, This becomes monotonous real quick when you find out that you can't earn both EXP and items at the same time. You actually have to pick whether when you battle you get EXP or items. A real drag when it comes to progressing gameplay, because you need money to buy better weapons and equipment to survive the onslaught of monsters throughout the story. Another big gripe is running around. Just dashing through town, you lose hit points. Luckily there are the Althena statues that heal you but they are spread out thin. The battles are a little slower than I would like, totally different than those on the PSX. Fun Factor 2/5 After discovering many of the flaws, I still gave it a chance because it is a Lunar game. It's not the worst game but far from the best.
I was a fan of the Lunar games since I was a wee lad and went over to my cousin's house to see him playing a game called Lunar:Silver Star Story. I was hooked. When Lunar 2:Eternal Blue came out, I was in heaven. I don't want to sound like a doting fan boy, but the games managed to take forces of pure good and pure evil, somehow make that actually compelling, throw in some of the greatest characters in any game ever, and mix it up with a fun battle system. Watching the characters grow was a worthy experience, and almost made you feel like a parent, watching over your children. When I discovered a new Lunar game was out, needless to say, I was first in line. Maybe my first hint should have been that I was the only one in line.
Lunar: Dragon Song takes everything that's good about the series, like the character development, fun battle system, witty dialog, and great story, and threw it all away. Instead, what's left is a mosh pit of bad ideas stuffed with good ideas that were poorly executed. First, the touch screen is barely used. Oh look Ma, i can select things in my inventory. Yay! Second, the story is boring and short. Let me say, for the first time ever, I really didn't know the game was over until the credits rolled. I didn't even realize I had fought the boss of the game. Third, the characters, although likable, never develop, leaving you feeling bored and disappointed. And last, the battle system was scraped for a horrible system that, let me say, was so bad the developers added a speed up button to end your misery sooner. Also, the two "battle modes" are the same thing except you have to swap back and forth to get money and experience. Who thought of that idea? That's just dumb.
Overall, I wouldn't recommend this game to anybody, but I really wouldn't recommend this game to Lunar fans especially, because compared to the original, it's a bland rehashing of what great RPG's used to be. If possible, avoid at all costs.
Pro's : Decent Music, Great character designs, Well-paced battle system, likable characters.
Con's : Horribly short, battles become repetitive, the two different 'battle modes' cause more harm than help to the game, Character development is minimal, too cliche' storyline, no real plot-twists, NO replay value, no extras, cards are overpowered, and split-screen is integrated HORRIBLY!
Summary : Unless you seriously are hurting for your next RPG fix, pass this game up. It isn't worth any money. It's understandable that it isn't really anything compared to a Lunar game, but, it really isn't anything compared to RPG's in general. About the cards system: I was able to make any boss i fought hurt me for 1-10 damage a hit with the cards i had! And I could boost my damage up to 2X or more! Not to mention a full heal of the party's hp/mp. And, the cards aren't even that hard to replace. Plus, the cards always hit all enemies/party members, instead of just one person/enemy. At a certain point in the game, the story just starts zooming forward, and before you know it, you're fighting the final boss. They didn't even put any real plot twists into the game. You always know what's going to happen next, because your main character has the exact same goal as always. This game really did have potential, they just destroyed it by ending the story so quickly, without any real twists or surpises. The battle system can move by VERY fast, or slightly slow. It really depends on you, the player. But, while in battle, the split-screens are a nuisance. IE Jian jumps up to attack monster A, before Jian gets to monster A, his head suddenly splits because of the screen. On top of that, his head seems to stretch. You soon notice that his head did not stretch, but his character graphic's head was 3/4 in the bottom screen, and 2/4 in the top screen. I'm not kidding. They made it so you see on the top screen, part of what you see on the bottom screen! And it looks REALLY weird...