Review by z129000
"Easily the best strategy/RPG hybrid ever created"
The Shining Force series more-or-less created the strategy/RPG genre, a game formula still used today. With gameplay relatively the same as more modern games of it's type, such as Final Fantasy Tactics, but still with deep RPG elements that some modern games lack, Shining Force 2 can easily be named one of the best, if not the best, strategy/RPG game of all time.
An interesting story full of politics, plot-twists, adventure and boy-saves-world elements. A classic RPG tale. There are many characters which will join your cause and many NPC personalities to know. There are different races and character classes which you will come to know and love throughout your long journy to recover a fallen nation.
For their time, Shining Force 2 had some pretty impressive visuals. Graphics are bright, colorful and cheery, characters each have their own portraits and battles zoom-in to the action when fighting breaks out. Spell effects are done well. My one complaint is that warriors never directly attack eachother, the only swing at air while the camera shifts to show their opposition getting hit.
For a Sega Genesis game, sound in Shining Force 2 is done very well. Music successfully conveys the feeling of the events at hand, something many games on the system lacked. Sound effects, as one might assume, are quite boring. Generic claning of metal and an annoying sound while you walk plague this game. Spells also have quite boring noises to accompany them, but you'll grow used to this and come to get along with it.
Every character has a second level class that they can ''evolve'' into. This can only be done if a certain item is found and if that character attains a required level. Items are well hidden and must be searched for. There are also a host of characters, including quite a few hidden recruits to discover. As with most RPGs, there are a few high level items that can be found before completing your quest.
The greatest part of Shining Force 2 is the classic strategy/RPG gameplay. One of the earliest hybrids of it's type, Shining Force 2 has everything you'd expect in a modern ''Tactics'' game and more. The ability to walk, like any RPG, is present, something that many Tactics games lack. While it may seem minor, this allows much more freedom and exploration off the battlefield. On the battlefield, Shining Force 2 plays just like Final Fantasy Tactics. You command a small group of warriors against a larger group of foes, positioning units and coordinating attacks are quite common and fun. Another key feature to Shining Force 2 is the outstanding and adventurous story. The story will take you accross the fantasy world and through a number of locations. And since you can walk outside of the battlefield, you are never confined to following the set plot as you are in a game such as FFT.
I doubt many will want to replay the story, as it can be fairly linear. But the game will take you quite a while to complete, especially if you upgrade every character's class and locate all hidden items and recruits.
Overall, Shining Force 2 paved the way for modern strategy/RPG games. While it definitely borrows a page from SNES' Ogre Battle series, Shining Force 2 pumps a lot more RPG into the budding strategy/RPG genre. Any fan of the genre, oldschool or new, should definitely check out this classic game.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 07/14/03, Updated 07/14/03
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