Well well well fellow gamers, it is time once again to talk about the trials and tribulations of Saturn gaming. With import gaming, it is very important that the player does not buy a crappy or substandard import, because they are basically non-refundable. Luckily, most Saturn imports are top notch, but there are those who seem to be great titles, but fall somewhat short. This time it is with a relatively unknown anime/RPG/sim called Yuna 3: Lightning Angel.
You play Yuna, and along with you are your faithful friends Yuri and... oh drats, I forget her name. Anyway, a mysterious force has come to earth, and since everyone hates nasty aliens, you must guide Yuna and friends to battle these aliens, and even travel across the galaxy to fight them at their source. Along the way, youíll meet plenty of newer companions, all of which are girls (sorry, no male characters in this game). Well, to be honest thatís the extent of what I know about the storyline. I donít know much about Yuna. I never saw the anime series, I never played any of the previous Yuna games, but from what I knew and saw here, it seemed all very enticing, right? Well, almost. Let me elaborate on this.
1-10 rating scale
Everything is in the traditional 2D mode. The intermission picture stills are beautifully done in Sailormoon-esque anime style... now if there was only a way to capture the stills on your PC. The battle scene graphics are done nicely with many animation's per character, but the graphics are not extraordinary. Battle animations are done nicely, but again, nothing to choke over. I guess I wish there were more 2D graphics with Princess Crown quality, but that could be asking for too much. You are treated to many movies throughout the game, and they are definitely better quality than most of the Cinepak and TrueMotion out there, and though I would almost like to say that the movies are Playstation quality, it is not. I think there was some special MPEG compression used for the movies, but I could be wrong on this.
Itís all composed in PCM (that seems to be a Saturn thang, eh?). Hmmm... is it just me, or are there some tunes lacking in this game? Every battle seems to use the same few tunes, and while they arenít bad, this is a sim where battles last for long periods of time, so the music can get repetitive. They arenít bad songs, itís just that there arenít enough of them for the game!!!
I love the sound! Great explosions, great sword slashes, great effects! And like Super Robot Wars F, each character has a saying for an attack, but Yuna 3 goes beyond just that and makes the game overkill! In each intermission, the characters talk... there is so much dialogue I couldnít believe Hudson fit it all onto one disc.
Hey, this is a sim, not some fighting game. No rating available.
Oh... how a game can suffer in one area. Well, if thereís one thing that makes this game not very fun to play, it has to be how the game operates. Well, let me give the pluses first, then present the problems. Yuna is constituted of three different settings: battle, in-between, and intermission. Intermission is self-explanatory, with the player being treated with many stills and all the Yuna cast chatting. The in-between sections have the Yuna faced with options like purchasing items, saving the game, and deciding which route to go next (or you can backtrack as well). Battle is done in 3/4ís perspective and is turn based, with each character having a variety of attacks and magic. There is no close-up during the battle scene like Super Robot Wars F or Shining Force III--once you initiate an attack the surrounding screen is darkened while you are highlighted doing your move. Kind of like Ogre Battle I suppose.
What is good about Yuna is possibly the sheer number of personalities you acquire throughout the game, and they all happen to be females. Each of them happen to have a good variety of attacks (usually 3-4 different attacks) and also a decent number of spells (again, 3-4). Some of the girls remind me of distinct anime characters, like one Chinese girl who suspiciously is reminiscent of Shampoo, right down to the screechy voice. The menu system is also very easy to dive into; there are no complex conditionals the player needs to worry about, just the basic options like attack, spell, defend, status, and end turn. While I do love lots of options in sims, being simple and sweet like this isnít necessarily bad either.
Unfortunately, the battle scenes of this game need some rehashing or some renovation. One area could be in the enemy allocation. Frankly speaking, you run into the same five or six enemies in each battle (wow, sometimes they change colour... whoopee) with a different boss character. To make matters more mediocre, each enemy only has a few attacks which they initiate on you. There arenít even any special attacks which enemies can perform on you. Maybe it might be a tradition in the Yuna series to have so sparse number of enemies, but even so, I was really wishing to see more enemies, or at least the different coloured enemies attack in different ways. The bosses (well, most of them) are basically female soldiers that attack very similarly to you as well. Again, I was hoping for a little variety on this aspect of the game.
The other really terrible thing is that the game is nearly a no brainer. It is very easy to beat enemies, and very easy to live throughout the game. What happens eventually is that since it is so facile to survive, you start losing interest in the battle. No longer do you try to plan out any strategy, because there is none. All you do is advance all your characters towards the boss, killing anything in your way.
One more thing that bugged me, though Iím sure many anime and Yuna fans would love this, are the intermission scenes. Well, the voices are great, but the scenes themselves are incredibly LONG and to me they werenít really that funny. Unfortunately, I couldnít skip the scenes either, and every time I come to an intermission scene, I always sigh because I have to go through four or five minutes of chit-chat that Iím not interested in.
I believe the venerable reviewer Ken Lee gave this game an 8/10, a very good score. I guess this game wasnít my cup of tea, because I had to force myself to play far in this game. I kept thinking, maybe next battle Iíll see pretty cool-ass enemies, but I was basically fooling myself. I also tried to think of all the positives of this game to boost the score, but in the end I had no choice but to give this game a six (I guess thatís a C on the letter grade scale). This game had so much potential to be a pretty good Ogre Battle clone, but it doesnít do it quite up to par. I suppose anime fans, and especially Yuna fans, might enjoy the game for its cutscenes, but even so, the game itself lets you down with its easiness and its lack of battle variation. I feel as though this game were almost designed for young girls who love Sailormoon types of things, which I guess is not a bad thing, but I doubt any of you reading this review fit the description of a young female sailor scout. Whatever the case, Yuna 3 is one of those games that you complete once (or never?) and never touch again.
If you want to purchase an RPG/sim, there are many others out there that do wonders, like Super Robot Wars F, Shining Force III, Ogre Battle, or maybe even the upcoming Baroque. But as for this game... well, import it ONLY if you have to own every RPG/sim game out there.
One small plus in this game that I did enjoy overall: One of your original three characters (keep forgetting her name) sounds like sheís smoking a joint or something. Sheís just so slow-witted and ditzy, but thatís very funny to me. I have to snicker every time she initiates here attack she says Ho-to-ri Beam-u at snailís pace.
Need I mention that knowledge of the Japanese language does not hinder playing the game? Nah... if you read any of my previous reviews youíll know that by now.
Review By: Phil Shen