So if you haven’t played the Lufia games (or at least 1 and 2) and you are an RPG fan, then you’re missing out on a really great series. Lufia 1 was pretty good, a solid enough game for its time, though it was a little buggy at times. Lufia 2, on the other hand, was a freakin’ amazing game. It has things in it that you would never expect from an RPG, and is one of the few games that I have replayed multiple times just because of how fun of a game it is. The story is excellent, the characters are solid and entertaining, the puzzles are varied and challenging, and I seriously cried the first time I saw the ending. Don’t laugh! It’s sad! T_T
Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals is a remake of Lufia 2 for the DS. And let me say, this is exactly what a remake SHOULD be like. It keeps the same characters, the same storyline and the same setting, but it completely changes the actual gameplay. Whereas Lufia 2 was a standard RPG, where you walked around and got into turn-based battles with monsters, CotS is an action adventure game, where you run around and attack monsters as they come. Now, this leads to a curious feature of the game: since you do get 6 characters into your party, and you can control only one, you actually get to switch between characters in the middle of battle using the touch screen. This is a nice way to keep people from dying mid-battle.
While we’re here, let’s talk characters! Each character has their own weapon and special ability, which can be used both in battle and also for puzzles. First up is our hero, Maxim, the brash youth who goes out to take on the Sinistrals because…well, he can. Plus he has a rocket ship. Maxim wields a sword and has a dash attack that he can also use to cross long distances. Next up is Tia, Maxm’s childhood friend, who wields…well, I guess it’s a briefcase with a punching glove in it. It also has a hookshot that she can use to cross large gaps, which is kind of meaningless when Maxim can just leap over the gap. But she can also pull objects towards her, so it’s not all lame. Next up is Guy, a huge beefy man with a heart of gold. Guy wields a huge hammer and can destroy breakable objects. Then there’s Selan, the female general of Parcelyte who also becomes Maxim’s wife halfway through the game. She wields a chakram and can throw it and guide it to hit far away switches. Next is Dekar (yaaaay) the self-proclaimed strongest man in the world, master of 100 techniques, the Prince’s loyal bodyguard and dumber than a stick. Seriously, this guy is awesome. Dekar can wield any weapon, but he has no special move that can be used in puzzles, just his legendary attack Exploding Fist. And lastly, we have Artea (or Arty), an elf who wields a fucking laser gun and can fly. Um, what?
I’m out of step here, so let’s talk story. The story starts off with a bang, no questions asked: The Fortress of Doom appears, the Sinistral Gades shows up and tells the world he’s gonna destroy it. These guys don’t fuck around! Maxim, chilling on his awesome ship with his inventor friend Lexus (who now looks like Doc from Back to the Future) decides it would be best to head over there and take on that bitch. Gades whoops Maxim hard, but before he can finish him off he’s interrupted by a mysterious woman named Iris who protects Maxim and drives Gades off. After healing Maxim, Iris tells him that he has the ability to become stronger than the Sinistrals, and tells him she will accompany him on a journey to become stronger. Thus begins the journey…
For the most part, the story is the same as it was in Lufia 2, though much more condensed. Several storylines are combined or moved to different areas to make up for the much smaller world now; there are only 5 cities to visit as compared to the 20-some in the original game. But the major points all work the same, so the feel of the story doesn’t change. One odd thing is that Tia stays with the party through the end – in the original, she leaves when Maxim and Selan marry and isn’t seen until the end of the game. In my mind, this kind of takes away from some of the emotion of the game, as her role was rather unique in its part, but it doesn’t detract so much that I was bothered by it. I also will mention that the role of Erim, the Sinistral of Death, is a little better defined in this game, as compared to in Lufia 2, where she only makes her appearance at the end of the game when you fight her. But at the same time, that change also alters part of the ending…but enough quibble.
I will note, however, that some of the character design changes are a little odd. I can understand some of them, considering that there are a lot of people in the Lufia world with blue hair, so changing that is understandable. But Dekar with pink hair? That was a little weird. Amon also looked rather fucked up, and Daos just didn’t really look impressive enough for a final boss. I feel like they could have done better with him. Over other than that, I really liked how they made everyone look very unique and yet still fitting with their original character.
Difficulty-wise, I’ll say that this game is definitely not hard. You get enough potions and miracles that you can keep one person going for a long time, but attacks aren’t that hard to dodge and you get strong enough gear that you can pummel anything into submission long before you should need to worry. I found Selan to be rather broken powerful, as she could tear through the hordes with ease and never once get hit. The only time I ever found trouble was in the Ancient Cave, but that place is just a bitch anyways. The ability to switch between characters in the middle of combat actually lets you just use one character pretty much all of the time, and switch in other characters to take hits when the going gets rough. With all these fail-safes, you should never have any troubles beating the game. I would say that this is my only beef with the game, that there’s never a moment when I felt truly challenged.
But still, the essence of the original game is what makes it best. The humor of the original is still there, and all the characters have a delightful chemistry between them that allows for both solid serious dialogue and some truly hilarious extra quips. Sure, it does get a little overly serious near the end, but for crying out loud, you’re fighting against the Sinistral of Chaos, who is armed with a flying Fortress of Doom and a sword that can stop time. I don’t care how strong your energy waves are, you’re gonna be a little worried when facing up against that shit.
So in the end, is it a good game? That really depends. If you played and liked Lufia 2, you pretty much can’t go wrong with this one. Like I said, it’s how a remake should be: the same story, but with different gameplay. If you’ve never played Lufia 2, but like a game with a serious story and a solid cast of characters, then I would definitely recommend it. It’s fun, it’s not too long of a game (~20 hours or so), and it has a new game+ that will give you a different ending than the original. Only problem is, you’ll pretty much have to order this one off Amazon, because I’ve never seen it in stores.