Review by BlueInferno83

"Shining Force II shines brightly"

For anyone familiar with Sega Genesis RPGs, Shining Force II is usually brought to mind when one discusses some of the all time great games. Shining Force II was released in October of 1994. This game blew the gaming world's door right off its hinges. A cast of unique and colorful characters, running adjacent to excellent gameplay and killer graphics makes this game a must-play for any strategy and RPG fan.

Sega took the basic idea for Shining Force I and then kicked it up a notch. This game discards the ''Chapter'' system in which you are confined to a small area and replaces it with the continent of Parmecia and Grans Island. There are new classes, such as ranger, Pegasus knight, and baron, among others. This game truly takes RPG playing to the next level.

Graphics: 10/10
The graphics and character designs on this game are absolutely brilliant. They are drawn in a cartoonish style that really makes the characters sparkle and shine. There are attack scenes where it shows the enemy or character attacking the other, and these are done masterfully. In addition, an array of spells that greatly departs from Shining Force I creates brilliant displays.

Music: 10/10
This is one of my favorite parts of the game. The music in this game is just out of this world! There are so many cool tunes that I can't even begin to list them all here. I listen to a lot of them on mp3 regularly. This game fixed the problem presented by SF I. It created more battle music in order to create a sense of variation so that we don't feel like pulling our hair out of our scalps. The music in this game was so well done.

Story: 6/10
This, like in Shining Force I, is the weakest area of the game. The story is basically identical to that of Shining Force I except there are a few twists and turns inserted into the game. This game's story is the basic hero trying to save the world kind of deal. The story is so weak that it's the sole reason that the game got a 9 instead of a 10.

Battle System: 9/10
You have your basic formation, strategy based battle here. It is highly original and innovative. The battles in this game are actually fun, which is more than I can say for other games I have played. You will really agree that the battle system, which allows you to place 12 characters on the battle field and build up their special abilities and stats, is quite entertaining and a blast to play.

Characters: 8/10
Let me just say that I did like the characters in this game. Bowie rocked my socks, and I also liked Lemon and Jaha. However, the characters didn’t have enough interaction with each other. Basically the only time you could talk to a party member is when you first met them or they were in the headquarters. There is a little improvement from the first Shining Force as far as character interaction is concerned. However, I do wish they would have worked a little harder on this area.

Replay Value: 10/10
I have played this one countless times. I tell you, it never gets old. I usually like to bring up and build characters that I haven’t used in previous games. Because the battles require so much strategy, it is easy to forget the individual techniques you used in the previous game. I would definitely hold on to this one.

Difficulty: 7/10
Not terribly difficult. There are a few parts where you have to do some searching, but other than that, you shouldn’t have too many problems. This game is definitely harder than Shining Force I, though. Some of the battles are difficult, and you have to think in order to win them.

Originality: 10/10
Shining Force II and its older brother, Shining Force, are both extremely original games, especially in an era when game play was dominated by the turn based, random battles of Phantasy Star and Final Fantasy. This game provided a refreshing change on the gaming landscape, and its affects continue to be seen in games even to this day.

I feel that Shining Force did not enjoy the success that it rightfully deserved. If you ask me, I think the series is stronger in a lot of areas over Phantasy Star and definitely stronger than Final Fantasy. Unfortunately, Shining Force II is hard to find these days. I’m very grateful that I was able to snag a copy from Fun Co Land, although it wasn’t cheap. You should be able to find this baby on eBay for a reasonable price if you search nicely.

Shining Force II is a game that I think everyone, RPG fan or not, should play. It has something for everyone. That is why I would recommend this game to anyone.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 04/07/04

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