Review: Luminous Arc
The DS has sorely been lacking in the strategy RPG department since its early conception, so it's good to see Atlus step up to the plate with Luminous Arc. But while it's an interesting stab at filling this void in the DS library, it ultimately comes up short.
Where Luminous Arc succeeds is in its presentation: the game is beautifully drawn with attractive character designs, boasts a solid sound track and, surprisingly enough, features an adept voice-acting cast. What it doesn't do so well, however, is in the story line, which is bland and underwhelming while the character development is weak and lacking.
At least the game plays decently enough. It's reminiscent of Final Fantasy Tactics in that you move your characters around to your desired position on the battlefield one square at a time to engage your enemy. The game does have the added option of a super move called the Flash Drive, which adds a nice little twist to things. Although you can't choose the job type for your characters like Final Fantasy Tactics, you do have a fair assortment of fighters to choose from, but they all have predictable personalities. There's the just but naive protagonist swordsman, the rough and tumble womanizer with the big broadsword, the conflicted priestess, the large breasted witches--the list goes on and on.
We also noticed that the small size of the DS screen really detracts from the action. It is difficult, and at times impossible, to choose the one character that you want to heal or hurt. Many times while in a rush to attack, you can accidentally select the wrong unit. Fortunately the game includes a confirmation screen for each move to help you from committing to "user stylus malfunction," but it would be nice to be able to alter camera angles on the battle field to reveal the hiding character to correctly select the unit instead of accidentally killing your teammate when you're already in a pinch.
We did appreciate the ability to battle others over the DS Lite's Wi-Fi connection but ultimately, there isn't enough in this game for us to fully recommend it. It's a decent enough game but it isn't the grand strategy RPG experience that we've all been waiting for.