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Thursday, November 8, 2007

Lunar Knights: Vampire Hunters

I'm going to take a break from discussing Saints Row today. Instead, I wanted to give my impressions on a DS game that I've started playing: Lunar Knights: Vampire Hunters.

Lunar Knights is very much a JRPG. You've got two young protagonists: Lucian's the dark, brooding sword master and Aaron the young gunslinger who's got something to prove. I haven't played very much of the game so far, but it's kept me interested since I started playing the game on Monday.

I typically play my Nintendo DS while commuting to and from work. Although I'll sometimes crack it out at home, I usually favour my Xbox 360 over the DS if I've got the time to play anything. When playing an NDS game on the commute to and from work, there are a couple of things I look for:

  • How much of the commute was I aware of?
  • Did I want to keep playing when my stop came up rather than having to get off the bus?
Lunar Knights does a great job of passing both these criteria. From the moment I crack open my DS to the time I get off the bus, I notice absolutely nothing going on around me. And when it comes time to get off the bus, I tend to find myself wanting just a few more minutes of gametime.

It's funny that this game would do this for me. Lunar Knights seems to be a pretty typical RPG (circa 1990), but I wonder if there's a certain nostalgic feel to the game that drives my enjoyment? The premise of the game is pretty simple: go to a dungeon, kill monsters, loot them, go to town, buy better stuff, upgrade weapons, and head back to the dungeon. This game formula has been used successfully by many game franchises over the years (Final Fantasy, Diablo, etc.) and it works for Lunar Knights too!

The only downside to the game is the space flight missions. After defeating a big boss, something I've only done once mind you, you're required to fly them into space and blast them into nothingness with a concentrated dose of sunlight. Hey, I don't mind the whole flying into space thing - whatever. What I don't like is the fact that I need to spend twenty minutes tapping my DS screen to shoot down space ace vampires who've taken it upon themselves to leave me floating dead in the cold vacuum of space.

So, Lunar Knights gameplay is pretty solid with few exceptions. The only thing left to consider is the story. Although I've just started the game, cliche is already running rampant. And you know what? I love it! I'm a huge fan of the Final Fantasy series and I even thoroughly enjoyed Enchanted Arms. I can't seem to get enough of these games that pit young protagonists against a dark, ancient evil. And though I'd probably enjoy Eternal Sonata or Blue Dragon quite a bit more than Lunar Knights, neither of these games are portable.

For now, Lunar Knights is my RPG of choice and one that I'll play daily until the last vampire lord has been flown into space and blown into smitherins by the sun cannon (or whatever the hell that thing is).

I'll try and give my final thoughts on Lunar Knights once I've finished the game. Then again, I may forget. Whatever...all I know is that I've got another two hours worth of commuting time today which should give me enough time to find another Solvent item that will allow me to upgrade Lucian's dark sword.