Nintendo DS - Lunar Knights game review

I have decided to post a review I did recently for the game Lunar Knights for the Nintendo DS, It is the first review I have ever done for a game. I did not include a score because I feel like giving it a score takes away from the actual review of the game. Let me know what you think, and I hope you enjoy it!

Lunar Knights is a 3/4 perspective dungeon crawling hack and slash from Konami and Kojima Studios. It is basically a straight up dungeon crawler, but with several twists that I believe add alot of fun and strategy to the game. The game starts you off with Lucian the Swordsman, who is, of course, the brooding loner, as he infiltrates a vampire's hideout, this stage is basically a tutorial that gets you acquainted with the basic mechanics and controls of the game. The second chapter of the game gets you acquainted with the second main character Aaron, who is a gunslinger, and teaches you more basics about the game such as sneaking and Mic control. Once you get past the characters individual levels the game really kicks off.

CONTROLS
Switching between characters and elements is easy with the control set-up the game gives you. The 3/4 view can be a bit confusing at times, but the control options give you a way to try and manage it easier. Attacking is a straightforward process of tapping on the Y button, while blocking is handled by B. You will be using blocking quite frequently as you get further into the game. Switching characters is mapped to the select button, which is a bit clumsy to handle on the DS Lite but works well on the DS Phat. The Touch screen comes into play during specials which give you on screen instructions to execute powerful specials as well as during space battle in which you steer and shoot with the Stylus. The space battles would have been more fun in my opinion if steering was regulated to the D-pad, and shooting to the stylus, but the space battles are fun none the less. The Mic also comes into play, When your elemental lights up it can deliver a status boost or back up attack when you blow into the Mic. The Mic is also used during sneaking segments, you blow into the Mic and your character lets out a whistle to lure the enemy to that spot allowing you to slyly sneak past. All in all the controls are intuitive and do not take you out of the game.

GRAPHICS
The graphics and production value are some of the best I have seen on the DS, and for a third party game pretty much put all other third party games to shame. The game kicks off with a lengthy anime intro with some amazing music. Cut scenes are numerous and sprinkled throughout the game, which adds a nice touch and gives the characters more depth and feel. The in game graphics are well animated and move smoothly, even when there are many enemies on screen as well as many other things going on the frame rate never slows down. One problem is that many enemies are palette swaps making them fairly uninteresting by the end of the game. The game uses very well rendered 3D graphics for the space shooting mini game and sports a polished yet very different look from the main game. The graphics are great for the DS and it's amazing how many cut scenes they pack into this game.

SOUND
The sound is incredible, most characters have several spoken phrases and most NPCs have some as well. The music is very catchy and high quality, and the cut scenes also have a lot of dialogue and great sound. Lots of things like sword swings and footsteps also have different sounds in different environments, which adds well to getting really into the game. If you are a person who is easily annoyed by hearing a character say the same phrases over and over you may not care at all for the in game voice overs though. So to sum it up the music is top-notch, the sound effects are done well for a DS game, but still do not sound overly realistic, and the voice acting can get on ones nerves easily if you are the sort of person who is annoyed by that.

GAME PLAY
The most important aspect of the game of course, and definitely the aspect in which it delivers most! The game is fun to play, especially as you pick up more weapons such as the homing missile gun, and scythe which are very different from other weapons and add a nice variety to your strategy. The elements system that the game incorporates also adds more depth to one's strategy, in different weather and at different times of day certain elements become more powerful while some become far weaker. The game has a nice length of 10-15 hours (took me 18, but I am slow). There is quite a lot of replay value to the game though, upon completion of the game, you unlock hard mode, as well as a PLUS game which let's you start from the beginning with all weapons, money, and items intact. Also in PLUS mode you unlock Boss Rush mode as well as the epilogue Tower, which has you climbing a 100 level building riddled with enemies. If that isn't enough there is also a wireless battle mode which is up to four players on one card. There are also a couple side missions within the main game that will keep you busy, as well as trying to collect all the items. The gameplay definitely delivers in this game, and combined with all the other great qualities of Graphics, Sound, and Controls leaves one with a very memorable gaming experience.

ANALYSIS
The game is not strikingly new, but takes the old dungeon crawling formula and adds enough tweaks, production values and extras to make it stand out very well amongst all the other major DS titles. Unless you have a major problem with dungeon crawling adventures I highly recommend this game to all DS owners. Konami is definitely on to something with their vampire killing games for the DS! Basically Konami + vampires = great DS game