Review by RiggsCrossfire

"Shining Force II; Sequal to a Great"

Most sequels aren't as great as their predecessor. They won't be looked at the way the first game of the series way. This is mainly because the sequel is just a second version, where as the first one revolutionized it.

Shining Force II is an exception to this, though. I believe it has beaten Shining Force in every aspect that a game could.

Graphics are usually the first thing looked at for any game. The graphics for Shining Force II are great for it's time, but will probably be overlooked by this generations games. If you look at other games that were made during this time, Shining Force II will overshadow most of them. Much detail is put in to each party member, each NPC, each villager, basically everything.

Like all other RPGs, the main part of this game is the level system. If you want to stand a chance during battles, you'll have to level up your characters. Don't just put your most powerful characters in the front of the party, utilize every character's powers to their full extent. For swordsmen, attack the enemy head-on. For wizards and magicians, attack a bit back from the enemy using magical attacks. For healers, heal your allies or boost up their powers. Every character has their pros and cons, you just have to find them out.

Once you've levelled up enough, you'll be able to promote your party members. Most of them have only one option for promotion, so you'll have no choice for them. For others, with the help of special items, you'll have an extra option (usually the better of the two). Don't take your characters for granite. Somebody who can only do 2 damage to the enemy may seem useless now, but get them promoted and they could become a killing machine.

Be sure to learn about which weapons your characters can equip, if you want them to become more powerful. Some weapons even hold special powers like fire attacks and healing. Be sure to take advantage of these rare abilities.

STORY: 8/10
The story for Shining Force II is very typical. Bowie, the main character, and two of his friends sneak into the castle after their mentor is summoned by the king. It seems that the sacred tower has been opened by somebody, and is causing mayhem across the continent. Bowie, his friends, and his mentor investigate the castle, only to find devils lurking about. One of the devils escape, taking control of the king, and causing him to become very violent. The king becomes rid of the devil, and returns to normal. A serious earthquake begins, and the villagers escape from the city in a boat, just before they're swallowed up by a huge chasm.

They learn that the tower was sealing the king of devils. Because the tower had been opened, the king of devils was regaining his powers, and would soon become at full strength. Along the way you'll fight many different kinds of devils, and try to figure out their weaknesses to defeat them. Once the king of devils has almost completed regaining his powers, he'll start sending out some greater devils to try and defeat you. They are no pushover either.

Replayability plays a large factor for most games. You don't want to just finish the game once and be done with it. You want to play it over and over, trying different strategies with different people. With the large party you'll be getting (about 30 people), you can try many different combinations, because you can only fight with less than half of those people.

You can try many different things like not promoting until you have to (level 40), promoting everybody even if you don't use them, anything at all. Make up a goal for yourself, and see if you can manage it.

If you're a fan of the first Shining Force and RPGs, it's definitely a buy for you. If you've never played the first and aren't very fond of RPGs, I'd suggest renting it first, just to make sure.

Shining Force II is easily my favorite RPG, up there with the Final Fantasy series. If you love RPGs and/or loved the first Shining Force, you'll definitely like Shining Force II. This was actually the first RPG I owned, and I instantly got hooked on it.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/30/05

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