Reviews by amjsolstice

70

An SRPG Classic

amjsolstice | Aug. 10, 2011 | Review of Shining Force ™

Shining Force was one of the few genuine RPGs on the Sega Genesis, and the fact that it's among the few Genesis games available for sale (albeit emulated) in 2011 should tell you something.

As far as SRPGs go, Shining Force is pretty basic, and the story is one we've heard a million times. There's an ancient evil stirring that only the hero can stop, so you gather your friends and go on a grand journey to stop the rebirth/unsealing/rise of the Big Bad. There's no exploration and very little in the way of secrets; the game is as linear as they come, and there's no way to go back and get something you missed later on. The game even follows a chapter-by-chapter plot, with around 5 battles each.

Despite all this, the game is still captivating. Taken by the standards of gaming when Shining Force was first released, it's a masterpiece. Though the actual battles aren't that plentiful, they grow steadily more and more complex, featuring dozens of enemies against your party of up to 11. The combat can take actual strategy, though if you remember enemy movement patterns, you can cheese the battles a bit. The game can be genuinely difficult without seeming totally unfair. The music is actually good, and actually fits the mood. Though later SRPGs would add much more complexity, this game, along with the Nintendo classic Fire Emblem, is among the building blocks for any sort of modern SRPGs. Games like Wild Arms XF, Vandal Hearts, Tactics Ogre and Final Fantasy tactics were the evolution of Shining Force.

Though compared to games of today Shining Force falls behind, it's still fun to play even now, and that's the most important part. At only $2.95, it's well worth the money you pay for it.

Pros – Genuinely fun combat, and passable graphics for the time. Good music. Varied unit types with different strengths and weaknesses – more than just a 'rock paper scissors' mentality. More characters than most games of its' time, each with their own character portrait, combat graphic and map sprite. Entertaining and very easy to learn. Massive, sweeping battles against sometimes dozens of enemies.

Cons – Very basic storyline. Incredibly linear. Little to no secrets. Absolutely zero exploration. Large number of characters keeps them from being fleshed out. Very predictable enemy AI.

Pet peeves – Inability in combat to target an empty square. High imbalance in some characters' usefulness.grand journey to stop the rebirth/unsealing/rise of the Big Bad.