NLHG: Shining Force II
For this weeks NLHG it’s time to go old school to a game that was released in 1993 in Japan and 1994 in Europe and North America. I remember this being the game that made me jump from kiddie game player to becoming a seasoned gamer. The game? Shining Force II: The ancient seal.
The game hooked me when I saw some Witch tell me of an enchanted forest, and with that I entered a game. A game that had every single cliché in an RPG, young man coming of age, devils, princesses etc. but it also had a fresh feel. Maybe my 12 year old self loved this or maybe it was done in a way that didn’t seem like it had been done to death. The game itself offers a great mix of RPG and strategy that made me fall in love with both genres.
This game had story at the heart and was a nice mix of easy at the start, hard at the end. Mixed in with some loveable characters such as your turtle type pet who can blow fire to Peter the Phoenix and then there’s characters I hate such as Chester, we can’t win them all. There are plenty of secrets and twists and turns make this one for the ages and was developed by Sonic software planning who now go by Camelot software planning who were responsible for Golden Sun.
Here’s what IGN had to say about the game:
The Shining Force series introduced many of us to Strategy-RPGs, and we couldn’t ask for more perfect games to have the honor. Taking a step away from Nintendo’s hardcore-leaning Fire Emblem series, Sonic Software’s 16-bit classic blended a traditional RPG feel with the chess-like turn-based strategy we would come to love.
While it only strove for subtle refinements to its predecessor, Shining Force II marked the sweet spot for the series. A far cry from the complex strategy of today’s games, it sported a devious simplicity that still managed to pack a challenge later in the game. Like the first, it also had exploration and character interaction like a traditional RPG, which further helped to make this relatively new genre less intimidating.
One has to wonder if games like Shining Force II still have a place in our world. There is no shortage of S-RPGs, but for some, the addictive and straightforward gameplay of the classic Shining Force series would be a welcome alternative to drowning in the depth of the genre’s contemporaries.
This is definitely worth picking up, it’s rare on the Megadrive but you can get it on Virtual console or on the Mega Drive classic collection for PS360.