review, video games

Shining Force EXA

Shining Force EXA cover art
Playing as both Toma and Cyrille, you seek the ancient sword Shining Force. You travel with a Centaur named Gadfort, a Noswald knight. He seeks out the ancient sword’s power to restore justice and honor to the world. Your other traveling companion is an elf named Maebelle, one of the last of her people, who seeks to restore her race to it’s former glory. You have been searching for some time now and have banded together as allies, if not friends. Each one of your party has a special skill that they posses. Gadfort has a striking attack and is good with swords and Maebelle, as an elf, is an archer. Playing as Toma, you are a swordsman and combine your fast physical attacks with limited magic. Playing s Cyrille though, you are a skilled magic user and combine elemental attacks with limited physical attacks.

Together your group comes across a cave that leads into a vast mountainside. Adventuring in, you finally come face-to-face with the ancient sword, Shining Force. Each in turn tries to raise it from it’s mount in the middle of the room. No one is able to move the sword until Toma tries at which time the sword melts into his arm and the mountain begins to tremble. What was thought to be yet another mountain is in fact an ancient castle that is now under your command. With this castle and the vast power of the Shining Force sword, the world is in your hands. Now, what will you do?

Notes:

  • I really like this game. After being burned by some of the other games I’ve recently reviewed, I found this game to be both fun and challenging.
  • It is classified as an Action Role Playing Game and plays very similarly to Diablo with a fixed camera view of an environment with traditional role playing game elements added to that style.
  • Both graphics and music are pretty good. In some places the visuals look great but the quality drops a bit in places to merely looking decent. The cut-scenes use an accented cell-shaded style that looks similar to Wind Waker but with more realism and in a more serious fantasy setting.
  • Gameplay is decent with a balance between playing as Toma or Cyrille. One needs to get close for physical attacks and the other needs more distance for magic. Interesting additions to the traditional action role playing game model are the use of an attack charging system and the ability to heal both health points and magic points over time.
  • The most notable thing I found about the game is that each dungeon has an area where the game tells you that the route you are about to take is not part of the current scenario but is there solely for testing your skills. I appreciated the inclusion of parts of the game that were created solely for more hardcore gamers.