Nintendo DS

The first arc of Luminous Arc

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larcus1.jpgAfter playing around with a US build of Luminous Arc I sort of feel bad for it. It’s undoubtedly going to be compared to Final Fantasy Tactics. Not just because it is a strategy RPG, but because it has a similar fight against a theocracy plotline. The story begins with Alph, your stereotypical, idealistic knight who eats up the dogma of the Luminous church without any questions. The church believes witches are the cause of society’s ills, but in reality they are scapegoats. His world is about to be turned topsy-turvy when he meets Lucia, a friendly witch who also does his laundry and saves his life. Believe it or not, but Alph is destined to be a hero.

 

The story is fairly light hearted, the voice acting has a peppy tone and the characters are colorful. I dig the more cheerful feel. But I can imagine some gamers loathing it, especially anyone expecting Final Fantasy Tactics 2. Battles are more simplistic too. You don’t have a wide array of skills and there isn’t a complex customization system to worry about. Most of the time you are going to tap on your character, run up to an enemy, tap attack and watch the sparks fly. On the top screen you have all the statistics (damage, hit%, etc.) you need to know if you are using the right attack. The touch screen is where the action takes place. Touch screen control streamlines moving around characters, but it also comes with a problem. When characters bunch up it’s difficult to select a target in the middle and you can’t rotate the battlefield to get a clear angle. Usually you have to run up to attack a monster, which causes other monsters to run up to you and very quickly you have a cluster of characters you can’t tap.

 

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Early on Alph is a versatile character, he’s a decent fighter and can shoot a rifle to hit enemies a few squares away by spending 6MP. Alph’s brother Theo is the archer of the group and Cecille is a healer who loves to shout in a high pitched voice “God bless us.” Heath is the first powerhouse in your party. He acts as a tank, magic user and warrior rolled into one package. While Heath and Cecille have spells, you’re pushed into using attack more often because they start out with a little MP. As an awkward balancing mechanism characters instantly recover HP and MP whenever they level up. This gives you a second round of magic casting, but fully healing a character almost makes the game too easy. The trick is to let weak characters deal the final blow, hog the experience points and heal at the same time.

 

larcus3.jpgThe combat system doesn't pull any surprises except for the flash meter. When you finish off a monster or get hit the meter fills up and when it tops out you can unleash a limit break style special attack. However, after every battle the meter returns to zero, which means you are only going to use flash attacks during long encounters.

 

After a battle is over Alph has a chance to talk to his teammates and build his relationship with one of them. Saying the right thing out of the three choices leads to rewards like items and later team flash attacks. I like the intermissions because it gives you the impression of being the leader of the group and you get to know the characters better. However, you don't have the flexibility to say the cruel or hilarious remarks.

 

There is one feature that makes Luminous Arc stand out, online play through Nintendo Wi-Fi. I haven’t gotten a chance to try it out yet, but I can’t wait until I can find someone else with a US copy to play with.

Siliconera Staff
Sometimes we'll publish a story as a group. You'll find collaborative stories and some housekeeping announcements under this mysterious camel.