– A long time ago, a girl traveled around Tirasweel. Her silver hair shone even in the moonlight, and her eyes were as clear as a fountain. She could cast a glance into the future. When good things happened, people admired her. When bad things happened, people accused her. Some people called her the Moonlight Witch. A long time ago, a Witch traveled around Tirasweel. She disappeared, leaving many questions behind-
Which is the story basis of The Legend of Heroes II: Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch, (we’ll call it LoH II from here on out, the complete title is a mouthful)- It was developed by Falcom, who are responsible for the first LoH: Tears of Vermillion and the wonderful Ys series, and published by Namco Bandai Games of America. The story is not as bloody and dramatic as LOH: ToV, LOH: II is serious, but more lighthearted than its predecessor.
The story begins by introducing the two main characters, Jurio and Chris (a girl..)who live in a small village called Ragpick. RPG players will immediately think that the duo must immediately begin a quest to save the world. This is not so in LoH: II, at least not at first. The tradition in Ragpick is that the young adults must go on a pilgrimage to the Oldos Cathedral as a coming of age ceremony. They are required to visit shrines throughout Tirasweel, each shrine contains a mirror in which the pilgrims see visions of the future. Instead of the visions being pleasant, the visions Jurio and Chris see are of death and destruction. This, in addition to the journey, and meeting others along the way, propels the story along.
The first thing you will notice about LOH: II is how really great the game looks. The environments, buildings, etc. are 3D, with the characters in 2D sprites. The developers paid a lot of attention to detail, when Jurio runs, he leaves footprints in sand..when roaming through the forest, wind blows leaves off of trees-
The characters dialogue is carried out by using 2D anime style cartoon, and they have several different expressions/reactions which depend on what’s being discussed.
The music in LOH: II is top notch as well. The instrumentals are truly lovely, and suit the environments of the game. It’s nice to pop a game in and have the ears treated instead of assaulted by endless variations of saccharine J-Pop or poorly done Techno.
This is a point in LOH: II which I really enjoyed-much of the dialogue is funny. Many complained about bad translations, localizations of the LOH series-there were a few instances of bad text wrapping, however the translation of LOH: II wasn’t bad at all. In fact, at times it was hilarious, and at times very suggestive, not sure if this was intentional or completely the result of a creative translator. For Example: Chris and Jurio are sailing to their next destination on a fishing boat..they begin to discuss boats-.(this isn’t verbatim mind you..)
Jurio: “What kind of boats do you like?”
Chris: “I would like to be on a boat with a really big mast-”
The dialogue really keeps you playing simply to find out what they will say next. The story could progress quickly, as in this RPG the folks you need to talk to will have a red exclamation point over their heads, no more talking to everyone in town to find out what you have to do next. However, at times, the folks you talk to aren’t very clear with telling Jurio and Chris where to go next. Which leads to a bit of confusion and perhaps a bit of needless wandering? This is prevented somewhat because if you are clearly headed in the wrong direction, one of your party mates pops up and tells you-”You’re going the wrong way-” You may want to go ahead talk to everyone in town though, sometimes the conversations are funny, and sometimes they give Jurio items.
As with any RPGs, the main character(s) pick up additional traveling companions along the way, this is another are which LOH: II stands out. The characters, in particular Goose and Shirla, are charming and funny. They also flesh out the battle party quite nicely, and RPG players know it’s a Pain in the *** to gain folks in RPGs who are completely ineffective. One suggestion is, when you gain a party member**(hint Lodi)-LEVEL UP so that when the party member leaves, and they come and go quite often in this game, Jurio and Chris won’t be left in the lurch. Chris uses Chapel Magic, she’s a lover, not a fighter, so Jurio needs to be up to snuff. One nice touch the developers added, is that when added, they usually have the top o’ the line weapon and armor, and if you have purchased new, expensive stuff for them, when they leave, they don’t take it with them. I can’t tell you how annoying it is to spend 3000 (insert RPG currency of choice) on new stuff for a character, only to have them die or leave the party permanently and take all of the good crap with them! Thanks for thinking of us Falcom.
The battles, well, they aren’t good and they aren’t bad really-just there. When Jurio passes by an enemy (no random battles here-) a little icon above the enemy’s head will turn either red (stronger than you) and it will pursue you, or turn blue (weaker)-it will avoid you-Yes, you can run from area to area and avoid all battles if you so desire.
If you choose to engage in battle, you get the familiar **whoosh**, then are placed in the battle, which is turn based-attack, use magic, skills, finishing moves, use items, wait (I never used this one-) or escape.
- Attack: Simple enough. Attack using a weapon
- Magic: Again Simple enough: Attack or inflict status using magic
- Skills: Use a skill, which are learned at certain levels, you can also use these as much as you want.
- Finishing Moves: Can be used when your Power Gauge is full. These are ridiculously overpowered, a finishing move performed by all four characters are usually enough to fell most bosses.
- Items: Use an item
- Wait: This is really a bit useless. Use if you need to move your character.
- Escape: Escape
With each attack, magic, and move, you get a corresponding animation. The enemies do the same, some of their animations for things such as “defense up” are too long, and when you have four enemies, who all decide to use “defense up”..the animation time can be a bit annoying. It’s a good thing when Jurio learns to use Spirit Magic, then you finally have a spell that can do major damage to all enemies. It does eat up Magic Points, so you’ll need a supply of Mind Potions to replenish Jurio’s MP-I praised my pet repeatedly when he would find Mind Potion-so it wasn’t a problem.
Pet? Yes, LOH:II has the pet option that LOH: ToV had, and it’s better in LOH: II. In the beginning of the game, you can choose to have a pet accompany Jurio and Chris on their pilgrimage. I chose the rabbit. You can then access the pet menu and feed it, praise it, scold it, or look at it. The rabbit will appear in battles and act, and the action depends upon what you’ve fed him. Some foods will cause him to attack enemies, some will cause him to give your party a stat increase/increased defense. The little guy schleps along behind Jurio, and at times you will see little lightning bolts coming from his head. This means he has found something. I’m not entirely sure, but I found that when I praised him, he continued to bring more of the same. So I would assume if you scold him, he will bring a different item until you praise him. This is just a theory, the rabbit was too cute for me to scold!
This is easily a 30+ game, so don’t grab this game if you want a quickie game to blow through in 10 hours, or if you don’t like reading..this is a story driven game in which you must read text to learn what’s going on. For those who persevere, no cheap endings here. The ending is long, and does a good job wrapping up the story. LoH II is another solid, fun addition to the PSPs growing, albeit slowly, library of RPGs.