Review by BlueInferno83

"Strategy + RPG = Shining Force"

Shining Force is a classic RPG for the Sega Genesis console. If you like Strategy games, then this game is a can't miss. This game contains great elements of strategy, but also contains an RPG feel that makes the game very unique. This is the first in what is now the epic Shining Force series.

This game was released in 1993. When it was released, the market was dominated by Phantasy Star and Final Fantasy turnbased gameplay. Climax had previously released Shining in the Darkness, where they tried to take a bold step by having the entire game in a first person, dungeon perspective. Unfortunately, the game did not do so well. They tried again with Shining Force: The Legacy of Great Intention.

Graphics: 8/10
For it's time, this game had some very killer graphics. The characters were all very well designed, and the up close battle scenes were absolutely great. I especially liked the deep colors and textures put into each and every scene.

Sound: 5/10
Don't get me wrong, this game had some nice music, but they overplayed it. I swear I was gonna take a baseball bat to my own head if I had to hear the cave music one more time. They really needed to expand on their music and mix it up a little.

Characters: 7/10
Not really special here. There was a large cast of characters, including the force, but there wasn't anything much in the way of personality. A lot of them were stiffs and like robots (Adam was a robot, hehe). The reason it got a 7 wasn't the personality, but because of the unique classes, such as a Steam Knight and Wing Knight. I don't know what a Steam Knight is supposed to be, or even what that suit was supposed to do, but Guntz was my favorite character, so I won't complain too much.

Difficulty: 6/10
Fairly simple. You really don't even need to strategize that much. There are a few difficult battles, but other than that, this game is pretty simple. Also, there is little to nothing to find in this game, so really it's straight forward and linear.

Battle System: 9/10
I really liked the strategy end of this game. The battles were fun, although some of them were time consuming. The battle system really makes this game special and creates the Shining Force feel, which would later be seen to influence other games.

Originality: 10/10
I know what you’re thinking. If you play this game, you’ll probably think it’s not original at all. Well, try telling that to 1993. In 1993, turn based, random battles were the mainstream in role playing games. Shining Force was one of the first to have the hybrid of RPG with strategy, resulting in what has come to influence many games of today.

Story: 4/10
This is definitely the weakest area of the game. The story is very bland and clichéd. It follows the basic hero and evil doer scheme. If you’re looking for a deep involved story, don’t bother too much with this one.

If you’re in the mood for a good strategy game, then Shining Force is the answer. Shining Force set the standard for strategy. It redefined its genre, and to this day, there has been no game quite like the games in this series. If you like Shining Force 1, then play Shining Force 2. Also, in June 2004, there will be a re-release of Shining Force 1 on Gameboy Advance called “Shining Force: The Resurrection of Dark Dragon.” For those in Europe, the game is already out. I strongly encourage anyone to pick this game up and give it a try if you liked Shining Force 1. I can’t really say much about it because I haven’t played it, but I will be getting it the day it is released. I already plan to reserve a copy.

I would recommend Shining Force to just about anyone. It is easy, so if you’re a beginner RPG player, then this game is an excellent start. Even veteran role-playing gamers should give this one a shot. If you’re a fan of strategy, you won’t regret it.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 04/07/04

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