Review by Wolf_Coder
"Lufia with an incredibly painful and overrated grinding experince"
When I first got the game, I expected a nice Lufia RPG just as it has always been. It's one of those games you expect to rock, and then it surprises you with bad gameplay and numerous flaws. I really wanted this game to be good, because I liked the first three games in the series.
GAMEPLAY (The only score effecting attribute)
The turn based "I hit you then you hit me" has gotten old with the passing of time. However, some new games use this type of battle system well by using many added features and systems to the turn based fighting model. This game however, does not have anything special to the turn based battle system. All you can do is the classic attack, skills, switch, defend, and run. The other games had that but it was a long time ago when there were not that many turn based RPGs out there, and the GameBoy Color Lufia had random dungeons and a nice 3x3 battle formation system. What makes this battle system worse is that every character in battle takes 10 minutes for their battle animation, and then there is this unnecessarily long pause between character's moves.
Now I'll move on to the dungeons in the game. The dungeons are actually well-designed and HUGE with plenty of detail and treasures to plunder, except for one flaw that ruins it all. There are no save point checkpoints along the LONG dungeons. You can take a break with the quick save, but if you lose you have to find all the items and fight all the enemies from the beginning again. If they were making huge detailed dungeons, why didn't they add a few save checkpoints so that you didn't scream at your GBA when you lost? It's like an original Super Mario Bros. level that's 4 times as long and you start at the beginning every time you die, it's madness.
There's a job class system and a monster training system, but the job class system is nothing special (It's just like any other generic and boring job class system quite unlike Final Fantasy Tactics for the PS1). The monster training system is a another one of those RPG elements that rips off Pokemon, and it's not a good ripoff either. It takes FOREVER to level up the monster to the point where it will evolve with a fruit, and they usually end up just sucking EXP away from the real fighters.
The EXP leveling curve is BRUTAL, it takes hours of grinding to gain a single level in the game. Even from the start you'll wonder why it took forever to reach level 5. Eventually the game elements melt into each other as you play, feeling like a hop from one long and aggravating dungeon to another. I don't remember an EXP curve as bad as this in the other three games.
The menus are 'laggy', and there are a few short pauses sometimes. The control for everything however is not bad, and does not ruin the gameplay (even though it was bad to begin with).
In fact the only good thing about the gameplay that I liked is the detail of objects in the dungeon, where you can slash, hook, smash, push, and open things. You changed to other characters in order to do this, which was awesome. There's also some traps and level geometry to make the maps in the game more appealing.
Here is some good points about the game, the tiled graphics were drawn well and the maps have lots of detail in them. The battle animations for the characters are smooth (except for the monsters which just kinda shake a little like they did in the first two Lufia games). There isn't actually anything bad about the graphics.
The sound in this game is alright for a few places, but some of the battle sounds are weak. When you do a huge blast of fire, you hear a weak noise waveform effect that sounds like a toilet flushing. Also theres this other weird skill that looks like it hurts, but you hear a tiny weak "ffffffffsssss" noise. The music however is a different story, all the tracks are OK and the battle music is awesome. The battle music is reminiscent of Lufia 2, but I like Lufia 2's music the best out of all these games.
You're a young boy that looks like a young girl, who teams up with some weirdos to save the world from a large beast. You'll run into the Gratze kingdom soldiers, and some evil stuff you have to kill. The story is too generic to be any good here.
RENT or BUY
The simple question here is to find the first three games in whatever method you use to play old games and avoid this one completely. Really, you'll enjoy Lufia 1,2, and 3 much more than this waste of electronic components.
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 09/10/07
Game Release: Lufia: The Ruins of Lore (US, 05/06/03)
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