We like to poke fun at Luminous Arc and its successor due to all the boobs-and-butts shots, but we do it out of love. Despite the first title's somewhat lackluster overall review scores, it's looked on a little more fondly in the DS Fanboy offices. The first game had a lot working for it, and a major thing working against it: the controls. So when we sat down for a little quality time with the sequel, Luminous Arc 2, we paid particular attention to that aspect. And guess what?

It's better, and not only that, but the ability to do things your way is great. D-pad or stylus control? It's up to you. Tap through the cutscenes, play them automatically, or skip them altogether? Make it your game. For those reasons alone, Luminous Arc 2 is worth a go.


Of course, a game needs more than decent controls and customization, and Luminous Arc 2 has a lot to offer. The storyline isn't going to blow you away, and you're going to need at least a small taste for tactical RPGs to get into the fun here, but if you can manage both of those small hurdles, then there's a good time to be had here. The characters, graphics, and art design all shine, even if the costumes range from the impractical to the nearly impossible. The Witches must spend a lot of time and power just keeping everything in place and avoiding embarrassing slips.

Didn't play the first one, but find yourself intrigued? No problem. The title is more than friendly to gamers new to the burgeoning series. The tutorial is simple (and optional, of course) and the game will pull you right in. You're going to need to pay attention on the battlefield, however; here, it's very possible to take out your own guys in a friendly fire barrage.

The only real nitpick we can pull down in the game's early stages is about the occasional voice acting. Listen, the off-and-on voice approach is just fine when it's done, say, for a pivotal scene or something. But starting a voiced cutscene, only to have the voice acting stop just, y'know, whenever, is a little weird. Maybe they're trying to keep you guessing.

The bottom line is that if you're at all interested in marching a party across a battlefield laid out in a grid, this looks like a solid choice. We hope to have a full review for you after the title's official North American release.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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