I rarely play bad games because I know what I like so I'm rarely stuck with blunders. Lunar Dragon Song was a game I had read a lot about it and knew about it's many flaws, but I liked the Lunar series, so I maybe I could ignore some of them. I couldn't. This game is like a collection of bad ideas, didn't they have any playtesters to tell them that it wasn't any fun? Even worse, did no one in the design team noticed just how bad these ideas were? It's truly baffling how they could come up with this concept and think it would be fun.
The big one first: You have to choose if you want to get money or experience points before each battle, and no, you can't get both. What? What where they thinking? So now grinding becomes a two-fold task, since enemies level up with you, which I hate when games do it, since one of the most fun things you can do in RPGs is to go to older areas and see how strong you got(Which is, actually, a bit of a false sense of accomplishment since mashing the "Attack" button rarely means you got better, heh.). Still, you are gonna want more experience to extend your MP gauges. Speaking of MP, Magic skills are fairly limited, with almost no offense-oriented magic available. Later in the game you get items that change one of Jian's special attacks Elemental affinity, but that means taking away an item slot, and most often than not, they are not even worth it.
Combat is just the worst. You can't target enemies, that's right, there's a really dangerous monster among the group? Pray that your characters choose to gang up on him, otherwise they'll just go after whoever strikes their fancy. But there's a further annoyance, enemies can and will break your equipment. Bosses too. And this isn't just "Go to town and repair it" or what have you, once it's broken, it's gone for good. You have to go back and buy it again. Fun. Paired up with the fact that if a equipment-breaking enemy comes up with a group you can't even aim at him, makes combat potentially vexing. Scratch that, it's vexing all the time. There is a way to avoid equipment breaking... using the right enemy card. Enemy Cards are dropped at random while in "Get items but not XP" mode. Cards have limited uses and can't be hoarded. Remember how annoying the Draw system from Final Fantasy 8 was? This is worse. You can't possibly get 99 uses of an Enemy Card since you can't accumulate them, and they are dropped at random. Who came up with this? WHO THOUGHT THAT HIS WOULD BE FUN!?
It can't get any worse, right? I mean, all of this is just incredibly rage-inducingly stupid, how can you get any worse? Easy, running takes away your HP. It doesn't matter where you are, if you want to move around faster than at a snail's pace, you are going to have to hold that B button in order to run. And do you know what else happens? The HP of the entire party drops steadily. After they get to 20% of their HP, it stops dropping.... and you stop being able to run. So now you are weakened and you can't run to avoid enemy encounters. Who the ****ing **** came up with this **!*?! The combat system is a mess and it's infuriating, but this? Who could EVER even ENTERTAIN the IDEA that this could be fun? It's not even challenging, it's just infuriating.
The story can't even save this game, nothing could have saved this game, not even the Lunar licence. Lunar Dragon Song is a game I wanted to like, I wanted the Lunar franchise to come back, I just... Sigh. Lunar DS is a terrible game, it doesn't have a single redeeming quality, absolutely nothing. It definitely is one of the worst games I've ever played, right alongside Xenosaga II, but that's a story for another day.