I hope you didn’t forget me. I took a break from Crestoria reviews due to work and other things that preoccupied my time like playing other games.
Now I’m back with a review of Side Story Luke!
This contains spoilers for Crestoria, Abyss, Xillia, Zestiria, and Destiny.
To be honest, I think this is the best of the side stories and this isn’t because of my Abyss bias. This is actually a nicely written side story that continues Luke’s story after embarking on his own journey in Chapter 4. It’s straight-to-the-point but consistent and not a disservice to his character.
This side story is basically Luke learns what atonement truly means. He gets the help of Alisha Diphda, the countess-to-be of Southvein…the city Luke destroyed back in Chapter 4…and Muzet who is a spirit in this universe.
Luke’s journey is one of forgiveness but also one of maturity. He vowed to go on his own journey to seek redemption for his actions alone. In the beginning, he doesn’t seem quite well adjusted to the solo life due to him accidentally saying Asbel’s name. His journey is full of rocky paths due to his tendency to wanting to die to atone (like in the original Abyss). Fortunately, Luke gets to live on due to someone wanting him to live—Alisha.
This iteration of Luke is more mature and self-aware than Abyss’s Luke, but he feels more impulsive here than the original. He just keeps spewing “kill me” to Alisha without any second thoughts and regards to how Alisha might feel in the ordeal. I think the biggest difference is that Crestoria’s Luke is human albeit sheltered which is why he’s immature, impulsive and impatient. Abyss’s Luke is a replica that has only been alive for seven years and is still developing his own sense of self.
On the topic of Alisha, I feel bad for her. Imagine going out of town for a few months and then coming home and seeing your hometown in ruins. That’s Alisha’s situation right there. If she weren’t such a rational character, she’d be out for blood. Thankfully, she’s a rational character. She does not give into emotions and impulses. Instead, she tries to assess the situation as best as she could to see the true reason behind the fall of her home and she also wants Luke to live his best life. She makes her own judgments and does not condemn Luke in any way. In fact, she herself has her own guilt for not being there when the people needed her. Crestoria’s iteration of Alisha is much different from the original.
In Zestiria, Alisha is a princess that’s viewed unfavorably by politicians due to her commoner mother, but she works hard as a knight to protect her homeland. She doesn’t lose her homeland in Zestiria but she has lost some of her people due to the calamities caused by the Malevolence. Crestoria does a good job giving into the theory of what would become of Alisha if she had lost her homeland in the original game.
The dynamic the two have with each other is very interesting. It’s straightforward but it works. Essentially, Alisha functions like Tear but is less strict with Luke—she’s stricter with herself. I also do like how their atonement issues were answered but still search for other answers after the story ends. Their adventure to find other answers would be something interesting to see if Luke were to reunite with Kanata and his friends in the main story or in an event.
Muzet plays the role of a spirit in this universe, showing that spirits and such do exist. How they are incorporated into this realm isn’t elaborated thoroughly due to Muzet’s role in this side story as a wish-granter of sorts. I did like how Alisha was excited upon hearing about her and became very devoted to her once she meets her; her love for supernatural beings is something shown in Zestiria where she believed in the existence of Seraphim and that she’s super devoted to her seraphim pals when she gets to see them. Muzet’s trollish personality is present in this universe as she had granted Luke’s wish of resurrecting the dead Southvein people, but it turned out to be just a manifestation of Luke and Alisha’s thoughts. She didn’t really grant their wishes, she just incorporated a spell to manifest the spirits of the fallen.
In Xillia, Muzet was a bit of a tease, a trickster, so to see her like that here was fun. In the first Xillia, she was a villain but in the second one, she was a companion. I think the game took in her Xillia 2 personality. I wonder what sort of shenanigans Luke, Alisha and Muzet will get themselves into, as they all are travel companions now.
Garr, known as Woodrow in Japan, makes an appearance as the village manager of sorts. He’s the one that tells Luke and Alisha of Muzet’s existence and her location, which is how they encounter her. Garr is a cool dude. He’s understanding, knowledgeable and the scene where he protects a little girl from monsters and helps her search for her cat.
I’m not familiar with Destiny, but I do know that Garr is a prince in the original game and that he disguises himself as a wanderer in order to explore the world. I’m not sure if that’s what Garr is doing in this universe since he wasn’t being specific with his occupation. Out of the characters in this chapter, Garr gets a continuation of his story in the Chelsea event where he and Chelsea help out people. Other than that, I found Garr likeable even if I never played Destiny.
I think the cat portion was an interesting foreshadowing of the wish twist, but it is the one thing I didn’t like about this chapter. The poor little girl’s cat disappeared and she doesn’t even know. That’s so sad. Another aspect that I didn't like is how spirits are suddenly incorporated into this world. I know that they probably put in spirits and such to show off the fantasy/supernatural elements of the universe but what is the point of having spirits if they're not going to be brought up again in the main story or in another side story? The only other aspect of spirits and such being brought up again is the Christmas event where Mikleo is revealed to be a Seraphim that plays the same role as his species did in the original game. The story of Crestoria mainly revolves around condemnation and monsters that show up because of sin. I just think it makes the world feel convoluted if too much is added it without major relevance.
I’m also a bit divisive on the boss. Like, it showed up because the consequences of the large wish Luke and Alisha wanted caused it to appear and it was so abrupt that it was just added there for the sake of having a boss at the end of the chapter like with other side stories. At least there aren’t fixed guests with terrible stats hindering you this time around—that’s the best part. Yeah, I’m looking at you, Side Story Farah.
Gameplay wise, I do find it amusing how Luke and Alisha are locked towards different parts of the chapter. Luke is a fixed guest at the very beginning of the chapter while Alisha is a fixed guest towards the end. I think it symbolizes the involvement in the story. Since this is Luke’s chapter, having him be a fixed guest is to be expected. With Alisha being a fixed guest, it’s no longer Luke’s story, but now Luke and Alisha’s. Playable Alisha was actually long before Alisha became an actual unit in the game. I liked that little foreshadowing. The best thing about the fixed guest portion is that they weren’t locked during a boss fight.
Overall, I liked this side story. The characters seem like their original counterparts and aren’t too out of character to be unrecognizable. I just hope that Luke and his group shows up again soon whether it be in another side story, event or in the main story. I'm sure Asbel and Kanata's group would be happy to see Luke's growth.