Review by UnderratedGamer
"Not only one of my favorite games on the Genesis but my favorite Strategy RPG game to date!"
If there is any game in general that I could recommend at a great extent without obsessively over-hyping the game would definitely have to be Shining Force II. Not only is the game one of the most underrated Role-playing games of all time but it is also over-shadowed by even some old-school gamers. However this isn't a normally functioned Role-playing game, (like Final Fantasy) it still is a pretty easy to follow game with it's high quality challenges and unique game-play that simply make it a non-generic game.
The plot in this game is very simple at first. You have the Main Character [Bowie] who goes to school in a medieval castle-town called Granseal. This City has a pre-alliance with another castle-town named Galam slightly to the North/Northwest of it's position. As the game starts Bowie and his friends in Granseal are doing their daily routine of school until shortly after Bowie arrives, his teacher [Astral] is summoned to the King's chamber because of some weird occurrences and coincidences with the King's odd illness and a recent storm that had occurred late of the night before.
Bowie and his friends [Sarah] and [Chester] make a daring move to visit the castle for an "adventure"! Although it never is explained through the game; the only reason I found was that Sarah had never seen the castle before! But when Bowie and friends reach the King's chamber, they are quickly noticed by the Minister! In recent events following this Astral is sent to go to the Ancient Tower because of the relations between the large tower and storm. As part of Bowie's punishment, he is forced to tag along.
When entering the tower Astral notices an uneasy presence with them. Before solving anymore info the team of four get hastily assaulted by demons!! This then triggers your first battle! Afterwards the demons make an escape making multiple quick antagonists to the game! An earthquake sends your small scout team to retreat from the large landmass island "Grans" by ship which opens up a whole other continent to explore; also to create a small army to find and extinguish the devils and defeat them.
Like as many, the plot isn't the MOST original but it does open up to a wider look as if compared to the simplicity of the beginning. Shining Force II also adds the good old multiple greater villains and bosses in the game to make it seem more like it's not just 1 guy your looking after!
Definitely the highlight of the game! Because the fact you are not forced to use the same characters will ultimately leave the game opened up for better replay value in using multiple different strategies with the combinations of the characters.
On the journey you will venture into towns and mingle with the townspeople for additional info and story to behold. Lurking in secret areas are also multiple treasures and trigger event sequences that may even lead you to getting a secret character or two!!
Also in Shining Force II there are certain hidden treasures that can lead up to great weapons in the very last part of the game so make sure you spend a good quality time finding them in your play-through.The world map too is a great way to explore the hidden locations that may deem very useful. There is a good chunk of exploring the open world map and a great deal of-free-roaming when offered!
Okay I guess a quick summary of the graphics would be okay. But have low expectations for nowadays playing on the old-school games because any game player should know that almost every game before the year 1997 was 2-Dimensional. But for it's time the graphics were descent. Not going to say top-notch quality; but for a game system without a pitch clear color palette and sound the game does make an astonishing appearance with both!
Yes I do have to make a sub-category on the battle system for all the people that have never played a Strategic RPG! First of all on the screen you have (up to 12 characters) characters lined up in default at each battle in set checker boarded squares! The characters have certain steps that they can take in order to actually move. The least is number of movement is 4 which is the worst possible movement in the entire game.
The battle plainly starts as which ever character (or enemy) has the highest agility. This puts a small broken box to display which character's turn it is. You control every one of your players in a strategic combative battle position to (hopefully) outwit the enemies against you. By placing the character up to the other (vise-verse) they can perform an "attack" to cause damage to the others HP. (Hit Points) When attacking another character you gain EXP! (experience points) So in other words you do not have to kill the enemy in order to receive experience but by simply attacking you can even level up the force of characters! However you DO get more EXP by defeating an enemy.
The battle sequence ends when either all the enemies or all yours are dead. (unless they can manage to kill your leaders then you get an automatic game over) So in conclusion the battle system is definitely great and unique and it lets you be nit-picky and choose which characters have the highest stat points and basically 1-up the others.
I have explained in the graphics section the music was also outstanding in the game making it a great experience. It seems like the Original Soundtrack fits correctly with the game like bread and butter! Although there are only about a little more than 30 different tracks in the game all-together it still has a lot of catchy tunes!
-Character and Development-
This is a real difficult one to have to review about because of how many different characters there are it would be a pain in the ass to develop all the personality and emotion that each give off through the whole game! A good thing to note though is that although there is really no character development in most characters, (excluding Bowie, Astral, and maybe Peter) there is however the sequence event in getting the characters to at least have them give off what the mood of the character is and the achieving goal of the character! Not only that but it does let you talk to some of them when back at headquarters so that they can give a couple of caption boxes of their thoughts!
I think giving it a 9 would clearly overrate the character development issue but also giving it any less than a 7 would definitely not be fair!
Again here is another highlight of the game. It let's you "experiment" with the other characters in the second time through just in case you're at the end and feel like having fun starting over instead of grinding your characters against the strong buffed out end-game enemies!
With the petty cons of the game I do very much believe that the pros simply outweigh the minor flaws with even a little unfairness to certain aspects. All in all I do believe that besides Phantasy Star IV, this clearly is the best game on the Sega Genesis! Anyone that owns one or is willing to own one; this game is a definitive prime example of getting one. If you are new to Role-playing games, I really recommend playing this one. It's a great game (not the best) but still a fantastic never-to-miss game!
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 07/26/11
Game Release: Shining Force II (US, 10/19/94)
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