Game Review

Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

A brilliant retelling of a classic RPG

When the original Lufia 2 was released on the Super Nintendo, it came rather late in the console's lifespan and with very little fanfare. Sadly, this meant that many gamers missed out on one of the true RPG gems to come out of the 16-bit era. Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals is a complete re-imagining of Lufia 2, complete with a radical action RPG makeover and an interesting new telling of the classic storyline. While this new version of the game features plenty of touches from the original to keep long time fans interested, its action-style gameplay is what should make it appeal to a much wider audience this time around.

The gameplay in Lufia 2 was fairly standard for a traditional RPG of its time period, but you can pretty much toss out just about everything you know about it when it comes to this new remake of the game. There are no more turned-based battles or moving around on the world map doing battle, instead Curse of the Sinistrals reduces the experience down to its essence.

When you want to visit a new area, you merely hop aboard the Excelion ship and select your destination from a menu. As you progress through the adventure, new areas will automatically be added to the list of destinations. Once inside a town or dungeon, you'll then be free to move around. In towns, you'll be able to talk to people and purchase useful items, as well as outfit your characters with better equipment. You'll find that most of your adventure will be played out in the various towns and it's generally here that you'll receive new individual adventures to take on.

Since Curse of the Sinistrals is now an action RPG, all of the combat you'll undertake will play out in real time. You'll be able to quickly switch between the various characters in your party by simply touching their picture on the touchscreen, and you'll soon find that each character has his/her own unique set of attacks and special abilities. Many of the puzzles you'll encounter in the dungeons can only be completed with a specific character. As if these puzzles weren't enough, there's also a lot of platforming in many of the game's dungeons that will not only require you to use pinpoint jumps, but also an occasional special move from various characters. Much of the fun in the tricky puzzles is figuring out which character to use in different situations.

Since you'll be facing a fairly steady barrage of enemies throughout the game, you'll need to quickly come to grips with the game's action-oriented combat system. The attack button will make your character swing their weapon, but you can also pull off combos by continually pressing the button in rapid succession. You'll quickly learn how to balance your attacks with moving around in order to dodge enemy attacks, as well as switching between the characters in your party to find the one most effective against your current foe. Even though the game uses a more action-oriented battle system, there's still plenty of strategy in how you execute it.

While levelling up your characters is accomplished by defeating enemies, there are other ways to make your characters increase their offensive and defensive characteristics. Locating and purchasing better armour and weapons in towns and dungeons is one way, but the game also offers up a very unique system that involves collecting and placing Mystic Stones on a board. Where you place these stones on the board can have very different results and you can pretty much control which special abilities and powers you wish to acquire while using it. It takes a little trial and error to get a handle on how exactly it all works, but once you do you'll soon see how useful it can be in making your characters perform better in battle.

It's hard not to appreciate just how playable the developers have been able to make the game using a more action-style approach. Not only are the different attacks extremely effective, but the variations that can be achieved by using different characters gives the game a nearly infinite amount of diversity in how each battle can be approached. And when you couple the solid platforming feel with some downright mind-bending puzzles to solve, you've got an RPG experience that's as playable as it is enjoyable.

To say that the new 3D visual presentation really brings the world of Lufia alive onscreen would be a gross understatement. Not only are all of the vibrant colours and trademark visual nuances all still firmly intact, but the more spacious and realistic look of the game can be truly mesmerising at times. While the towns tend to offer up more visual splash than the dungeons, you'd be hard-pressed to find an area in the game that's not easy on the eyes. Even the characters show a nice level of detail and realism in the way they move and attack, even at various angles.

Anyone who's played the original Lufia 2 knows what an amazing musical score the game featured, so it's no surprise to see the developers basically give it a slight update in musical quality and bring it straight over to this new release. Just about every track from the original makes an appearance and you'll hear everything from up-tempo battle sequences to extremely moving and melodic tracks during some of the game's softer moments. The game even treats you to a bit of voiced dialogue from time to time to give the characters themselves a bit more personality. It's nice to see the developers take an "if it's not broke, don't fix it" mentality when it came to the game's audio presentation.


For long-time fans of Lufia 2, the biggest hurdle in Curse of the Sinistrals will be getting over the initial shock of the game's radical action RPG makeover. But once you come to grips with the game's new look and feel, you'll quickly find out just how refreshing an experience the game truly is. And for newcomers, the game's unique blend of action-style combat and problem solving elements make it a game that just about anyone can enjoy. Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals might not be the straight remake many fans of the series were hoping for, but those who prematurely dismiss it will be missing out on a truly unique action-rpg adventure and a whole new take on the classic storyline.

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User Comments (39)



irken004 said:

LOL Corpsey xD
I didn't think the game would be THAT good Might have to give it a shot, since it's an Action RPG



SwerdMurd said:

Great review Corpsey!

Are the puzzles still brutal? And is the Ancient Cave still in-tact?



blink83 said:

Corpsey? well it is the 31st. If this is a remake, why dont they call it 2? oh it is not turn based. hmm



edhe said:

"To Be Announced (UK/EU)"

I'll just go ahead and import this from America then, shall I?



motang said:

It's good to see Lufia back in the gaming scene again!

@edhe you know that's one thing I am going to miss with 3DS as it will be region locked.



Ernest_The_Crab said:

Hm...what's with Tia's sudden hair colour change? I'm pretty sure it was blue originally.

@motang Where is your confirmation that the 3DS is region-locked? I hope you aren't going by the DSi and DSiXL as those only had the online store locked (and the very few cartridge games). At most, I only see the online store being locked.



Lefty_Noob said:

I don't post here much, but I just wanted to say--excellent review. I enjoyed the original Lufia II, and loved this game as well. Most fun I've had with an RPG all year. Not sure why some fans of the original seem to hate this one so much. To me, its like being able to enjoy both the original Batman and Batman Begins. Same basic story, but each with their own nuances that make them unique and equally good.



JeanLuc_Vaycard said:

Awesome review Corbs. Lol you ranked it slightly higher than i did. I give it an 8, but a 9 could be argued for. This game truly is great. I hate to see this flying under the radar. I just can't believe how good the remake is. Also @ Swerd, the ancient Cave indeed is intact, along with Dragon Eggs. There is also something to be said for the Mystic Cave in New Game +, but i I won't spoil it. There are also other reasons to replay this game. If you want to know just ask me personally. But it does involve spoilers, Good job Corbs and I'm glad it turned out well for you.



JeanLuc_Vaycard said:

Oh still the original is better. This is a great remake though. If you can get your hands on the original, get that first.



Kevin said:

Ok Vaynard. I'lll buy it off Amazon sometime. Thanks for the input.



JeanLuc_Vaycard said:

No problem. Hope you enjoy. I would love to see more people getting into Lufia games. Oh and I hope by original, you meant Lufia 2? This is what the remake is off of. The first Lufia, which is actually 100 years after the setting in Lufia 2 is not as good.



Sagadego09 said:

awesome review! i bought this 2 days ago and really enjoyed this game!
my ds game game of the year so far!



CanisWolfred said:

Good to see a positive review. I was really looking forward to this one, too bad I couldn't find it in stores.



Iggy said:

Ive been looking at Lufia 2 for the snes lately I really want to play that game so ill defentally be checking this game out.



Radbot42 said:

I've heard this game actually takes out a lot of features that was in the original, including a lot of the places and characters, and I've heard it changed too many or the character's personality.



CanisWolfred said:


That's why it's a retelling rather than a straight remake. It's not the same game. It's different, but it's still good as is.



Tasuki said:

Lufia 2 is one of my favorite SNES games. I played it years ago but I never owned it since it was hard to find. I just got this game the other day from Amazon and I am enjoying it alot. If you are looking for a great RPG on the DS look no further.



Corbs said:

I found the character's personalities quite similar, but they did change a lot of gameplay and story elements around a bit. Many story details are still intact, but they're sometimes in different order and slightly different in places.



ZarroTsu said:

I wasn't hoping for a remake; I was hoping for a new game!
Nevertheless, this looks like a great recreation, and I hope to own it some time by/for Christmas. A happy holiday indeed.



Twilight_Crow said:

Oh, It seems I'm gonna have to put this on my wish list, still, I'll keep hoping for Lufia 2 to come to the VC. Thanks for the good review Corbs.



Lefty_Noob said:

@zionich - Unless you send lots of time in the Ancient Cave, or revisiting areas just for fun, about 15 hours for a single playthrough (not counting New Game +)



Stuffgamer1 said:

My brother got this and has finished his first playthrough. The general reaction seems to fit Corbie's quite well, actually...good, but different. I still hope they release the original on VC at some point so people can more easily compare the two.

@zranoll: I think the biggest omission would have to be capsule monsters. RIP, Foomy.



MeloMan said:

LOL my Foomy was a TANK!

I may even give this remake a goo myself if I'm lucky. I'm just glad it doesn't suck and they brought over most of the classic music. Hope Forfeit Island is still in tact too.

Well new folk, hope you like this game when you play it. If they captured the emotion of the original, it will be quite a memorable experience.



NeoShinobi said:

I don't really know why but I was more interested in this game then any other DS game thats coming out this fall.

I guess this is just another game to add to my large list of DS games that I still need to buy (eventually).



StarBoy91 said:

Nice review, Corbie. I hope I get a chance to try this one someday (though I still want to experience the SNES original, too).

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