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SummaryOne of the best RPGs, one of the best games
The GoodSo I guess this was quite new, having a small army of characters, rather than a 3-4 character squad e.g the Dragon Warrior, Final Fantasy and Phantasy Star games and Shining in the Darkness(to which Shining Force is a follow up) and battles fought like chess, with an imaginary grid(like Nintendo's Fire Emblem, the first in the series released April 1990).
I think in a lot of ways the game is child-friendly, the cute graphics and music and the simplistic story. But there are a lot of good, emotional highs and lows in the story and the battles are often really close fought with the player often on the brink of losing. I like the way the story is divided into chapters like a book. I loved the recruiting too, meeting new and interesting characters who join Shining Force as part of the story or finding hidden or semi-hidden characters to recruit and improve your chances in battle. Like other RPGs, luck is a fairly big part of the battles in this game i.e if you're lucky you'll get in two hits instead of one or one extra hard hit, or you'll evade the enemy's attack. It can make the game sometimes feel out of your hands and I think the good side of that is, it's like a movie or story-telling.
The BadAs mentioned, the story is a bit simplistic and doesn't always make sense, but I don't feel that hurts the game all that much. I think it's hurt more by how demanding it is on the battlefields. The close fought battles help the game a lot, but sometimes your Shining Force is just too disadvantaged, forcing you to "grind" to get strong enough. I think by the early '90s, game developers were trying to move RPGs away from the boredom of grinding, which really interrupts the flow of the story.