Review by Hadespet

"Do yourself a favor and play this game!"

Every 1,000 years or so, a hero of light is called upon to save the world. This hero forms a party of fighters “the shining force” and light prevails over darkness. Such was the case with shining in the darkness, Shining force I and now Shining force II. The hero can chose from 30 different characters and form a party of 12. The cast of characters includes an amazing variety of classes: swordsmen, archers, mages, dwarves, centaurs, a werewolf, birdmen, a phoenix and many, many more!

The main story is neither original nor complex. A great Demon is released by mistake from the dimension he is trapped and he kidnaps the king's daughter. It's up to the hero to save the princess and the world from the great demon Zeon. However, the beauty of this game is that the storytelling is excellent. You feel like you are in a fairytale due to the variety of the different characters and the different situations and battles that take place. Add to that gods, advanced civilizations from the past, nice dialogs that do not last too long and a few twists and turns and you have a game that does not tire you and that keeps you playing to see what happens next. 8/10

The game play is pretty much perfect. It combines strategy and a great variety of different spells and attacks. Every type of class has its own advantages and disadvantages making every class useful and necessary in the game. You need tanks for defence, mages because they can attack multiple targets, healers to heal and boost the stats of the party members, birdmen and other flying creatures to reach areas that other classes cannot, bowmen to attack from large distances. Each character has different statistics and movement range and speed and this plays a part in the strategy department. The game play is pretty much like a chess game that combines all the elements I mentioned above. 9/10

The Graphics were amazing for the standards of the time that the game was released. They were so beautiful in the battle sequences that I thought the game was going to last only 5 hours when I first played it. When I realized that the game has 30 characters most of which can be promoted to another class which changes their appearance and attacks and that the game lasts over 30 hours I was blown away. Even now that 16 years have passed, the graphics will not put you off, like it happens with other games of the same period. 9/10

Music gives you an epic, glorious feel which matches the game perfectly. Like the graphics it will not put you off listening to it even today. 8/10

Replay value is quite high, which is hard to accomplish in an RPG. It has 4 different difficulty settings, 30 different characters a few of which are hidden and also since you can only use 12 of them in the force, you will want to replay the game and see how the other characters turn out when you level them up. Add to that items that can change the class of some characters when you promote them and you have plenty of reasons to replay the game. But the most important reason is that you will want to replay it in order to re-live the magic of this game. 8/10

Overall I give this game a 9/10. Even today I consider it to be the best game I have ever played and I highly recommend that you buy a collection that includes it or download an emulator and play it. As I said in the title, do yourself a favor and play this game!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 01/05/11

Game Release: Shining Force II (EU, 07/02/94)

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