"A Shining Force with Soul"

History
Shining Force is one of the older, yet unpopular, Strategy RPG games to ever have graced the Sega systems. Now, since Sega is a developer, their games moved to GBA. Shining Soul 1 came out a little while back, having a meager impact to revolutionize the story. Now, Shining Soul 2 comes out, improving EVERYTHING, even the story!
Set in a similar Shining Force world, this game follows in it's elder brother's footsteps: it's a Diablo-esque / Gauntlet-esque game with a lot of monsters to wipe out and experience to be gained. Money is hard to come by so collect and sell those precious item drops.

Gameplay
10/10

Now Sega has outdone itself this time around. Everything is much easier to do: spell casting, attack controls, reflex timing when moving around, everything. The versatility and freedom you get from the better collision detection in this game makes it more realistic when you actually try to dodge spells and projectiles.

Story
7/10

Ok, I won't lie. The storyline lacks some major work. Though it's better than the first one's, this game still doesn't really have much more than a straight story (linear to the point of it being excruciatingly easy to know where to go next). The only thing that saves this game's storyline is the fact that there ARE side quests (find them!) and though they're pretty easy for the most part, they're a good way to steer away from the actual storyline for a bit.

Graphics/Sound
9/10

Yes, they're that good. The chibi-style (super deformed / super cute) of the whole world is true to the Shining Force world. Even though this game is in 2D it excels in it's looks. As for the sound, well, it's good music, but it's still GBA sound. As anyone already knows, that can annoy the heck out of anyone. That's why I put the score at 9, since you don't have any way to shut off the background music or the SFX volume without having to turn down the master sound control.

Play Time/Replayability
At least over 60 hours of playtime, near-infinite replayability

Yes, you read right: this game is VERY long, even though it's a GBA hack-and-slash game. The Diablo-style inventory & equipment system keeps things infinitely customizable. The NEED to level up in certain cases in this game also make it so that you have to work your way through the same areas again and again, though you pick up a few new items to sell each time. I must admit, 60 hours is a bit much to play this game, but if you're not one of the more daring gamers who like to go beat games in record time, 60 hours is what you'll need to finish this game.

Buy or Rent?
BUY!!!
Find it, buy it, cherish it, and play it for many long hours to come. This game will keep you hooked through whole bus rides and whole road trips!

Final Score (Not an average)
9/10
This game is that good. Go out there and get it NOW!


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 03/28/04


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