Luminous Arc DS
Published by: Rising Star Games
Developed by: Marvelous Entertainment
Release Date: Out Now
Luminous Arc is set on a planet known as Shtraberl. On Shtraberl life revolves around the Luminous Church. The game begins with a monk claiming that citizens are being attacked by monsters that are controlled by witches. The Luminous Church have longed claimed that the witches are responsible for such evil doings and have prepared an elite force to deal with them. The elite force is known as the Garden Children and they are called into action when reports come through that the citizens are being attacked by monsters. Early in the game it soon becomes obvious that things are not as they seem, with the witches claiming they are not responsible for the monsters (and a disaster that occurred 1,000 years ago which the Luminous Church has always blamed them for) and that the real source of evil is the Luminous Church’s god who is about to wake from his 1,000 year slumber.
Luminous Arc is a grid-based strategy RPG and if you’ve ever played a strategy RPG before you’ll instantly be at home with how the game plays. Characters have elemental alignments and elevation and positioning all have an effect on the power of your attacks. That said, there are a few differences here. During battles your characters gain experience for the actions they perform and when they level up their health and magic points are completely restored. As well as physical and magical attacks (spells and skills) you also have Flash Drives and Synergies. Every time a character performs an action or defeats an enemy the Flash Gauge will begin to fill. Once the gauge has filled the character will earn a Flash Point and you’ll need a specific number of Flash Points (up to a maximum of 3) to perform a Flash Drive. Flash Drives are powerful attacks that can not only deal large amounts of damage but also cause debilitating status effects. Two units with a full amount of Flash Points that are close to each other can perform a powerful combo attack that’s called a Synergy. Not every unit can perform a Synergy attack however. The game even has its own crafting system known as Vitae Imbuing.
With Luminous Arc being a strategy RPG and on the DS, you would think that being able to simply point and click with the stylus would be an ideal way of controlling the game. In actual fact there are problems using the stylus to control the battles. The problems stem from the fact that the stylus control just isn’t accurate enough. It’s difficult to move your units around on the battle map and having to choose which way they are facing is really awkward when using the stylus. Thankfully you can disable the stylus use and go with the directional pad and button combination for movement and actions, which works wonderfully well and is a much more comfortable way to play the game. Personally I would have preferred an accurate stylus control instead of having to rely on conventional controls.
If you’re a fan of strategy RPG games you won’t be surprised to see that the game uses anime-style characters, a look that these games so often adopt. You’ll see large and fine looking character portraits during the game’s dialogue sequences. The battles are played out on the lower touch-screen whilst the active character’s details are displayed on the top screen. The graphics used for the battles are similar to those found in games such as Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, which is a little disappointing seeing as the DS is technologically superior to the GBA but given the low resolution of the screens it’s hardly surprising. You aren’t able to rotate the battlefield although this doesn’t cause any problems.
It was rather surprising to find that Luminous Arc actually contains quite a bit of speech. Thankfully all of the dialogue is shown in text so even though there is a fair amount of speech here; it in no way prevents deaf gamers from enjoying the game. The only comments you’ll miss out on are those made during battle and these are both repetitive and unimportant. The game provides a good amount of tutorial information which is all in text and the game manual also does a good job of explaining the various game-play mechanics. Deaf gamers won’t have any problems with Luminous Arc.
If strategy RPG’s are your thing, you’ll definitely want to pick up a copy of Luminous Arc. The game contains 25 chapters and you’re easily looking at over 20 hours for the first play through. Once you’ve finished the game you can play through again retaining your character classes, levels, spells, skills and flash drives. The game also supports Wi-Fi battling too (after you’ve completed chapter 13 in the single-player game) and you’ll gain additional items for participating in battles. The story in Luminous Arc is a little predictable at times and it’s a shame you can’t really do a great deal between battles but all things considered it’s an enjoyable strategy RPG that fans of the genre will enjoy.