Review updated on November 24th, lol. <img src="http://i243.photobucket.com/albums/ff75/charwiimario/luminous2boxart.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /> To begin with, the first Luminous arc game wasn't so great. It was a called a "FF tactics rip-off", tossed around, kicked by lots of gamers. I however, enjoyed it. It wasn't the best game ever, but certainly wasn't the worst. I can list the flaws within the game, but I'd rather not, seeing how long the list is. The second game released a few months back, and seemed to have a decent review (Famitsu). I've just finished it recently, so without a further ado, let's start this. <img src="http://www.luminousarc2.com/lawill_01.gif" border="0" class="linked-image" /> <b> Storyline</b>: All I can say, is that it's certainly not the best story you'll ever hear, but certainly isn't the worst. Better than the first, for sure. To be honest, the storyline seems to have a similar pattern of the first game. However, its longer, has more twists, characters that betray you in the story, and even death of some important characters. Well, in Final fantasy tactics, both the games do not have some sort of a character dying. Unless you count the villians, where they always die or run away. The first game's story was nothing really great. It was pretty typical story, and had a few good moments. The story does feel better in the second game, because there's a whole lot more going on, and feels much more complete. Less cheesy as well. " In an age when a power called "magic" supports everyday life and civilization itself, peace is supported by the queen's knights and the Rev's Magic Association. Sixteen years before the story is unrolled, monsters called Beast Fiends begun to appear, destructing everything in their way. Mattias, leader of the Magic Association, used a forbidden power to seal the source of the fiends. While successful in his plot, the use of that power resulted in his death. However, new Beast Fiends have been appearing, and the Kingdom faces problems while trying to protect the entire kingdom. Meanwhile, Fatima, a powerful witch of the Association with control of the rare Shadow Frost Magic, goes rogue and starts a conflict with the Association, causing more trouble to the Kindgom. Trying to solve the crisis, the Kingdom starts a clandestine research of an easier way to use magic. The story starts at the point when the Kingdom had just successfully completed their research into such a tool, which they call the "Runic Engine". Roland, a knight in training, is caught in the middle of this situation, and is accidentally imbued with this new power, which throws him in the middle of both the Beast Fiends threat, and the Witch Conflict itself. Available November 2008."- Atlus <object width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/kFiymo-G0Ho&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/kFiymo-G0Ho&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object> &rel=1"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/kFiymo-G0Ho&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/kFiymo-G0Ho&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object> &rel=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></object><i> This video has quite a few things I'm going to mention in this review.</i> <b>Gameplay:</b> Now. This is the major part of the game that has been improved from the first game. First of all, the gameplay has been dramatically improved. I'll just point out the problems, and if they've been fixed in the second game. <img src="http://images.strategyinformer.com/t6/00221470.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /> 1.<b> The annoying and frustrating stylus controls-</b> It has been fixed in the second. You don't have to choose between the stylus or the D-pad, but you can use both at the same time. Also, the stylus control has been improved, so that you don't have to double click anything. 2. <b>The incredibly unbalanced characters, such as Theo, Alph, and Leon</b>- The balancing problem was very annoying in the first. Theo, and Alph were incredibly weak, and pretty useless. But in the second, each characters are more balanced. The archers are now faster, slightly stronger. The strong characters are slower, and has less movement to balance, etc. The main character is still kind of weak, but that can be fixed with the unitement ring (Explained later). It's well balanced. 3. <b>The far too fast leveling-</b> In the first game, each hit you did, got you around 20 experience. That's a lot, and that makes the game too easy to level up. However, the second game has a better way to level up, by really decreasing the amount of experience you earn. The experience you earn heavily depends on the character itself. Lets say a character is at the level 14, while the other is at 20. Each hit will get you from between 3-5 experience each hit. Killing them will get you around 26-56. 4.<b> Fully healed after leveled up-</b> This was a serious con in the first. It made the game seriously unbalanced, and horribly easy. If leveled up, everything about your character fully healed back. However, the second game does not. If you level up, depending on how much your character's health improves by, same with the current health you have. So like the pokemon system. Same goes for Mana. This way, the game requires more strategy. 5.<b> Boss fights</b>- The first one's boss fights were easy, if you've grinded through everywhere to gain levels. This way, the bosses were easy to defeat, and nothing more than a simple task. But obviously, most people don't like grinding levels too much. The second game has almost no grinding in the game. In the game, which I've already beaten, there was only 1 place in the map to "engage battle". Instead, there is a guild system, which replaces the random battles. So, it really focuses on nothing but the story. At later points of the game, the bosses get a lot harder. There's no doubt about it. They're extremely powerful, or extremely fast. Sometimes, they can kill your whole party in a single move. But that's a rare case, although it's actually possible. On topic, it really requires you to think before acting. 6.<b> Flashdrive point stacking-</b> Unless you drank the potion, or killed a monster, this did not stack. In the second game, each time you hit, it gets you a certain amount of the DP points. Again, it depends on how powerful your enemy is. If you kill one monster, the DP points will rise by one, but a kill after, the less points it stacks up. And they've seem to make this a whole lot simpler. It looks less fancy, but it still does a good amount of damage. <img src="http://cdimg3.crunchyroll.com/i/spire1/07192008/e/5/9/1/e591032198ab50_full.png" border="0" class="linked-image" /> <i>Mikuru beamu!!!! I mean.... Therese beam.... Original content </i> 7. <b>Multi-kill, one kill experience-</b> If you killed two monsters at once, you got experience for killing one moster. In the second, if you kill 2 monsters at once, you get the experience for killing two. 8 <b>The FP/DP points uses-</b> The Points you gain can help you out in ways other than just using it for flash drives. Each magic attack, or defensive, they have an option to do extra damage, or healing. Lets say, you don't have a Flash drive at the moment, and have 3 DP points. Instead of a Flash drive, you can use it to use a magic, with extra power using the DP points. 9.<b> Long Dialouges</b> : Some people thought the characters talking were far too long, and in the second game, they've made a solution to it. The length of each Dialouges are about the same as the first, but you have the ability to just fast forward it by pressing L, or pression the sign that says "L" at the bottom. Neat features for those who don't care about the story, and only about the gameplay itself. <b> The stuff added:</b> <b> The unitement ring:</b> It's a good addtion to the gameplay. The main character has the ability to use the Unitement ring, to get him either Attack, defence, resistance, magic, speed, accuracy, etc boosted. They can only be used when the other witches make a pact, and will not be usable until a few chapters into the story. Whenever you activate it, you see the witch you've chose to use as a boost, and have a small 2-5 second cutscene of the character in a wedding dress. *Drools* (Don't ask me why they added this. Ask the creators) Afterwards, the main character is able to use a few new magics, Flash drives, and a few other stuff. <img src="http://www.siliconera.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/lscan4t.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /> <!--fonto:Arial Narrow--><span style="font-family:Arial Narrow"><!--/fonto-->You see Alty in a wedding dress, on the right.<!--fontc--></span><!--/fontc--> <b>The Guild Quests and side quests</b>: "The guild is in the town. Press all the way until you're at the world map, then the second on the list, the first one and the first one again. There will be a maid there that gives you a list of quests. Some are repeatable and they raise %. As for the side quests, there are also side-quests give by the characters in your party, though you have to wander around until you find a speech bubble with their name on it." - Whorl. This is made for grinding. you'll need it to grind levels. Without it, the chance of you getting through the game are extremely slim. <b> One Flashdrive:</b> You get one flashdrive, and you'll have to level it up yourself. When you get enough levels, you're flashdrive will level up as well. When it levels up, you can use stronger Flashdrive. <b> Limited item usage:</b> You're character can only use a limited amount of items, and these items must be held on by the character itself. It puts more strategic moments into the game, I suppose. <b><u> The advantages over the FFTA2:</u></b> Much faster gameplay. The battles take forever in FFTA2, and the characters move very slowly, compared to LA2. LA2 is more fun to play, IMO. Unlike FFTA2, attacking from the side, front, and the back, don't have a very big difference in attack power. Attacking from the back has more accuracy, and a very slightly more powerful attack. At least it doesn't take forever to kill something..... <b> In short:</b> As you can see, they've improved the gameplay greatly, and added a few new things while at it. The gameplay requires more thinking, and more stratagy. The AI is a bit smarter, but sometimes, it isn't. Oh, and without actually thinking, your characters may not survive too long. I've died around 12 times so far in the first 20 chapters, while only dying to Heath twice in the first game. <img src="http://dsmedia.ign.com/ds/image/article/856/856592/luminous-arc-2-20080304054230671_640w.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /> <i>An example of a cutscene from Luminous arc 2. Sometimes has voice acting, just like the previous. </i> <b>Music:</b> Sounds like a good improvement from the first. I really enjoyed the music in the second game, and found it to have a very good song list that match the game. It isn't too bad. I may even consider buying the soundtrack. <b> Controls:</b> Why did I add this? There's a perfectly good reason why I have a "controls" section. I've been playing this for around a few weeks, and beaten the game, etc. And when FFTA2 came out, I played it. But, I couldn't play the game. Why? Because the Stylus controls were pretty bad, and slow. And using the D-pad frustrated me, because it's different from the LA2 controls, and I couldn't get used to it, no matter how long I've tried it. It may differ for lots of people, but as for me, I can't seem to get used to it. Anyway, the controls are very accurate, and very good. Like I said,They fixed the controls. <b>Visuals:</b> Nothing amazing, and doesn't seem to improve much in general. The visuals are pretty much what you've seen before, but a bit more detailed. Some of the magic attacks look better, but they're all still 2-D, so don't expect amazing visuals from it, because you're not going to get it. It may look slightly better than the original, but it still has the GBA looks. <b>Characters:</b> Well, the main character isn't that typical character that wants to become the best, etc. He seems like a neutral character, just training with his brother. There are a few interesting characters as well, and some really resemble the characters of the first one, which is somewhat disappointing, but it's not a bad thing. It really depends on the And like I said, Warning: Spoilers inside! some of the characters die later in the story. Anyway, Atlus seems to have changed some of the names in the translation. Roland (ロラン, Rolan?) Althea (アルティ, Arutei?) Originally Alty Fatima (ファティマ, Fateima?) Georgie (ジョジィ, Jojī?) Chandged to Josie Rasche (ラッシュ, Rasche?) Originally Lash Rina (リーナ, Rīna?) Originally Lina Dia (ディア, Dia?) Lunaluna (ルナルナ, Runaruna?) Popuri (ポプリ, Popuri?) Saty (サティ, Satei?) Phil (フィル, Phil?) Cappa (キャパ, Kyapa?)(resembles Nikolai from the first game) Changed to Kaph Sofia (ソフィア, Sofia?) Gaston (ガストン, Gasuton?) Steven (スタン, Sutan?) Steiner (シュタイナー, Shutainā?) Alice (アリス, Arisu?) & Therese (テレス, Teresu?) Karen (カレン, Kalen?) Ace (アース, Āsu?) Donkey (ドンキー, Donkey?) Changed to Moose fixit (lol) Surprisingly, they've added quite a few famous voice actors in the game. All from animes I've watched. Rie Kugimiya: Plays lots of Tsundere characters, including Nagi, Louise, and Shana, and plays Kallen in this game. Jun Fukuyama: Plays Lelouch from Code geass, and lawrence from Spice and wolf, and plays Steiner in this game. Rie Tanaka: Plays Suigintou, Chi from Chobits, and Maria from Hayate no gotoku. Plays the Queen. Ryoko Shiraishi: Voice actor of Hayate from Hayate no Gotoku. Plays Phil Soichiro Hoshi : Plays Keiichi Maebara from Higurashi no Naku koro ni. Plays Roland. Emiri Kato: Plays Kagamin from Lucky star. Plays Alty in this game. <b>Overall presentation:</b> The game has a much better presentation from the first. It's much more organized, better looking (personal preference), and has quite a few ups, rather than downs. The new features are presented well, and stands out. It's certainly well done. I really like the new features added, and it's very polished, compared to the first. The first one felt far too rushed, with lots of flaws, but this game has quite less problems, compared to it's original. <img src="http://i296.photobucket.com/albums/mm194/RPGlist/lumarc.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /> <b> In-game battle- </b><img src="http://dsmedia.ign.com/ds/image/article/859/859956/luminous-arc-2-20080317045410048_640w.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /> The top screen shows the stats of the character, and at the top of the bottom screen, it shows the turn for the characters, and the enemies, making it easier for you to know who or which is attacking next. It also show their type, levels, and some other minor stuff. The "Add" is when you use any magics that will benefit you for a certain amount of time. The "Bad" is when you're poisoned, or anything along that line. <b>My complaints toward the game:</b> Unlike Final Fantasy tactics, this game had no character job changes, or anything of the story (More like upgrading the current class in the story). Unfortunately, you cannot change anything in the second one as well. The basic weapon and item customization is still there, and they've added more/new customization items which are incredibly useful in battle. <b> So, here's the conclusion:</b> I had a good time with this game. Although the story was this and that generic, etc, etc, the betrayals, deaths, changes, etc, made the story much better than FF tactics Advance 2. The gameplay requires much more strategy, and thinking. If you liked the first game, you'll definately enjoy the second. The ones who didn't like the first, probably won't see too much appeal out of the game, but it's like the first game, but greatly improved, and much more polished. It's still worth a look, IMO. <!--coloro:#00FF00--><span style="color:#00FF00"><!--/coloro--> Pros - Greatly improved gameplay - Much more balanced characters. - 30 chapters, providing a longer game than the original - Wifi related options. Includes battling. - Likable, and better music - No grinding, and gets straight to the main story. - Lots of twists, and a few interesting things. - Able to fast forward through dialouges. - A better overall presentation. - Harder difficulty. - Multiple endings. - Requires much more strategy. - Precise controls, and don't have to get used to the controls, like in FFTA2 (THE D-PAD CONTROLS ARE ANNOYING IN FFTA2.) - No "Enter area" when trying to get to a certain part. It'll only appear when you play the Guild quests.<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--> <!--coloro:#FF0000--><span style="color:#FF0000"><!--/coloro--> Cons - No job customization - Storyline isn't so greatly improved. The characters resemble the first. Not all of them, but some of them are just pretty much clones of the first. - Storyline is predictable. Except the part before the ending, and some other parts of the game. - The visuals aren't that much better than the first. Improved, but not by much. - Have to face some same boss battles, except they gain levels, etc. - Some of the "important characters" don't feel too important. - Harder difficulty. <!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--> <!--sizeo:4--><span style="font-size:14pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--> 85/100<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec--> What's better between the two? <b>Story:</b> LA2>FFTA2 (FFTA2's story is just pitifully weak.) <b>Visuals:</b> FFTA2>LA2 (3-D vs 2-D.....) <b>Controls:</b> LA2> FFTA2 (Precise stylus controls, not some slow BS. The D-pad doesn't require you to get used to it either. LA2 simply wins here.) <b>Characters:</b> LA2> FFTA2 (IMO) <b>Difficulty:</b> FFTA2> LA2 <b>Customization:</b> FFTA2>LA2 (However, LA2's customization requires more thinking, and can be better for some) <b>Music:</b> LA2> FFTA2 ( IMO, again. I really loved the soundtrack for the second game.) <b>Improvements from the first game: </b> LA2>FFTA2 ( FFTA2 has just job improvments, a law system that's worse than before, and just some more small updates. LA2, however, improved so dramatically, it's better.) LA 2: 4 FFTA 2: 3 Note: This is just my own opinion, so don't take it far too seriously. And also, if you're interested in looking at the characters, I put some pictures up. Also, this game is getting translated, and is being released in November, 2008.