11 November 2012

Taste #7 - Shining Force Neo (PS2)

Shining Force Neo

Developers: Neverland and Amusement Vision
Publisher: Sega
Released: October 2005 (NA)
Time played: 90 minutes


  • Voice acting is ordinary, but not excruciating. The game is apparently known for extremely bad voice acting in this English release.

  • I've never played a Shining Force game until now, despite a strong connection with early Sega and having access to the original games via various compilations.

  • The game is best described as an action RPG with hack and slash Diablo style combat mechanics.

  • It's a well designed game given the platform constraints. Comes across as quite polished and reasonably stylish.

  • The game shows large outdoor areas and seamlessly transitions to indoor environments without interrupting play. Building roofs fade into transparency as the character enters revealing the building interior. This is impressive, and very rare for a game of this vintage, and probably still not a given some 12 years later. I'm curious about the engine used in this game and whether it was used to power any other games.

  • Story is about young hero returning home, family mystery, protection from ancient power that has re-emerged etc etc. Nothing particularly novel, but competent enough from the looks of things. Mystery and betrayal used to drive things along and retain player interest in the story.

  • Combat mechanics seem simple, but further systems are being introduced as the game progresses. Loot drops from items in the environment as well as enemies.

  • Straightforward but competent real-time action-rpg mechanics make a nice change of pace from obtuse turn based systems iterating on tired decade old ideas.

  • The cut-scenes are well done and very manga-like. There is a bit of a disconnect between the art in these cut-scenes and the art used during the many talking head conversations in game. Differences between in-game character models and pre-rendered cut-scenes is expected but for whatever reason the art used in the conversation talking heads is different again - surely this could have been created to match the cut-scenes?

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