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Old 11-01-2007, 09:41 PM   #1335
Joe Redifer
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 20,149
Shining Force 2
Sega Genesis

Yeesh! What an ugly bastard!

After completing Shining Force, I just had to play through Shining Force 2 immediately. Good thing I owned the game and it was ready for me! Surprisingly I had never rented or played Shining Force 2 before I bought it a couple of months ago. I guess the Genesis rental business took a dive by the time this was released as I always made a point to play every single game even if it didn't look interesting to me (I even rented The Little Mermaid for cryin' out loud). Anyway they've made some interesting tweaks to the game engine itself as well as adding many more battles. It's more of the same yet different at the same time.

Here we go again! 2D is perfect for strategy RPGs.

Story: 5/10
Been there, done that. Nothing new here. Something bad happens, a princess is kidnapped, you must save the world and stuff like that. I found myself not really caring too much about the story, but not enough to where I totally forgot about it. It's there and it serves its purpose, but you won't see any great novels written about it nor will you see an Uwe Boll Shining Force 2 movie.

They got creative with the enemy names this time.
"Gizmo" for an evil cloud? Creativity +100!

Graphics: 7/10
The graphics have definitely improved over part 1. We get more detail in just about everything now as well as an additional background layer in some scenes. This extra extra layer can make it difficult to see where you can move at times in battle due to the shadow/highlight not working on the transparent part, though. Not really a big deal. The battle sequences still look pretty good but there are still plenty of color-swapped enemies. Most of your playable characters (30 total) have their own unique graphics for these scenes, which is nice. The scrolling tries to be smoother than the last game by starting out slow and then speeding up. This can feel a bit odd, but you'll get used to it after maybe 5 or 10 seconds. For some reason there is an ever-present black bar running all the way down the left side of the screen for the entire game except for the battles. What's up with that? This game doesn't have any special effects like Gunstar Heroes where the left-most column needs to be hidden. The interesting part is that there are some unique rotation effects in certain battles when using a certain sorcerer's certain magic, and there is no black bar there. There is even a tiny bit of scaling when getting in and out of the caravan. Not really noteworthy, but I don't have anything else to write about here. The towns don't look ass-tasticly simple like they did in the first game, meaning that you might actually think this is a 16-bit game when looking at the towns.

These battles can be a bit tough at first.
Characters taunt you and hurt your feelings.

Sound: 8/10
The music is definitely better this time in both composition, sound quality and variation, though it can still get repetitive at times due to the game's length. There's more than one piece of music during battle now, thank goodness, and it changes when you promote someone. Sound effects are mostly the same as the previous game. The musical instruments sound very similar to Ghouls 'n Ghosts' sound library, only different. Presented in (((stereo))). Unfortunately this game does not feature Rob Zombie's "Dragula" nor anything from Kris Kross.

Who names a bird "Peter"? Seriously, what the hell?
He also sports a toupee in the beginning of the game.
He is a major powerhouse in this game, though.

Gameplay: 9/10
This is a strategy RPG, but fortunately the battles aren’t drowning in endless enemy statistics and percentages like many other, much more boring SRPGs (for example, Final Fantasy Tactics, etc). This makes the battles a great deal of fun instead of a sleep-inducing study of analytical data. However, some of the battles are extremely small and kind of pathetic. Many of the battles can be fought again and again as they trap you when you walk over a certain part of the map each and every time. You can't use these for leveling up much, though, as the enemies always seem to only give 1 experience point when they die. Assholes. Anyway, the game plays almost exactly the same as Shining Force 1, so if you're curious read my previous review I did recently. In both Shining games I have noticed an option called "repair" in the weapons shop. What is this? None of my weapons have ever broken. Maybe my game playing skillz are too awesome and I do not need this function... that must be it. One nice thing that is better about Shining Force 2 is that your characters don't immediately start sucking ass when you promote them, even if you promote them early. Many characters can be promoted two different ways depending on if you happen to have an item in your possession. If the priest informs you that your guy/girl can be promoted because you have the item, do it. It's always the better choice. But don't feel too bad if you never found the item (which differs for each character). I was able to level up two of my dudes so high that his maximum hit points were displayed as ?? instead of an actual number. Rock on! This game is really hard toward the end, but obviously quite beatable. Can YOU do it?

That's right, you can now learn multiple offensive spells.
Just be careful to always have enough points left for Egress!

Wrap up:
A great follow-up and a great game in it's own right as well. You do not need to be familiar with the first game at all to enjoy this. I prefer the original game's pace a little more than this one. It just seemed to be put together better. This one definitely dives more into the RPG side than the first one did, and there were at least a few times where I did not know what the hell was going on or what I had to do to get the damn game to advance. It still gets a 9 for the improved audio/visual experience with the same great strategy, though. Now the question is what should should I play next? Should it be Shining Force CD (Sega CD) which seems like a mix of both 1 and 2 as far as the way it is built, or Shining Force 3 (Saturn) which drowns you in text dialog, glitchy and slow 3D graphics which do more to harm the gameplay than help but has a slightly-above-average soundtrack. Or maybe I should just play Q-Bert?
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