|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Image Epoch||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Atlus||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 18, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 (2 online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Outside of battle, you can make stops at various places like towns and camps to simply chat with other characters or buy supplies. The nice thing about items in Luminous Arc 2 is that you're never really stuck trying to figure out if you have the best stuff equipped for your character. Chances are that the newest shop on your map has the best stuff for your party, so you just roll in, buy it, equip it, and move right along.
There is a level of tinkering, however, that comes from the Lapis system. These stones boost characters stats and can be freely swapped among party members in-between battles. From boosting fire attack damage to giving you more defense, it makes for a system that is simple to grasp and opens up a lot of potential for experimentation.
Atlus fans should feel at ease with the story break segments. Before and after battles, dialog segments between characters take place. They are pretty lighthearted and serve their purpose: bringing out the charm of the brightly colored characters, which include oddball cast members like a cook who uses an egg beater to bash his enemies. There are occasional bits of voice work, but the implementation comes across as weird due to the fact that sometimes only half a scene will be voiced, so you'll be listening along and then switch back to reading text. Pairing with the standard story segments are special breaks where you are given the option of chatting with a particular character in your party (via a dialog tree) to boost your relationship with them. Persona devotees will recognize and appreciate this distinct Atlus touch.
There is incentive to pickup Luminous Arc 2 soon: buyers of new copies will get a soundtrack CD, something that has become somewhat of an Atlus staple. Nevertheless, Luminous Arc 2 stands out enough in its own right as a charming tactical title that it should provide gamers with plenty of hours of satisfying, strategy-centric role playing.
CCC Freelance Writer