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Shining Force Video Game Review

Updated on June 6, 2017
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A "gamer" since way before the term was coined, I have been playing video games in one form or another since the late 1980's.

Shining Force Neo Music Collection Sega Soundtrack CD
Shining Force Neo Music Collection Sega Soundtrack CD | Source

The Force Keeps Shining Brightly With This Classic RPG

Hey, gamers and geeks of all ages, let's take a journey in the way back machine - way back to the 16-bit generation with a review of the classic Shining Force video game.

A lot of gamers will remember playing Shining Force when we were younger. Most of us will remember having a ton of fun with it as well.

The story is simple - stop the evil Dark Sol from reviving Dark Dragon and save the world from his tyranny. You traverse many different lands in search of a way to stop him and make several friends along the way.

Have we heard this story before? I thought we did: in pretty much every RPG ever made.

Nevertheless, I still love this classic game and will explain why.

Shining Force Opening
Shining Force Opening | Source

Shining Force Storyline

Shining Force is actually an SRPG, which is an RPG with a strategy element.

The fact that this story is just like every other saga in most RPGs is a completely different tale in and of itself. The story in Shining Force is certainly not going to blow anyone's mind anytime soon. You'll never catch yourself saying "Wow, that story in Shining Force is the best I've ever heard!" Probably because you've heard it before. But I digress.

The characters in this game are actually pretty interesting. You get ninjas, a samurai, and even a magical jellyfish that casts ice magic. Yes, I'm talking about Domingo. If there's one reason to play this game it's that cute little guy. He kicks so much butt it's not even funny. It's downright hilarious.

Shining Force Cover Art
Shining Force Cover Art | Source

Shining Force Game Flaws

As is normal with the limitations of technology in the golden age of 16 bits, when placed side by side with today's games, Shining Force comes up short in a lot of areas that might turn off a large section of today's gaming audience.

The gameplay is rather simplistic, the story line somewhat transparent, and the graphics are quite obviously out of date.

Shining Force has a few more flaws to contend with as well. The menus can be somewhat clunky to navigate and character stat growths are very inconsistent (especially after promotion). The game also suffers from a rather uninspiring cast of enemies. Regardless, these are the flaws that most serious gamers can get past.

Once you advance further into the game you'll find that the terrain restricts your movement to two spaces in almost every map, and the realization that some enemies have such high evade capability that it's almost impossible to dispose of them without using magic, you might be ready to come back down to earth.

Not to worry, as the game is somewhat easy to master, and after a few times beating the game you can blow through it in one session if you have the desire to do so.

End of Shining Force Game
End of Shining Force Game | Source

Shining Force Summary

Because of its impact, this game is widely regarded as a classic. Back in the day (1992) this game was garnering 9 out of 10's and almost perfect reviews. When you think about the games that were out back then, it's easy to see why.

If Shining Force were released today, there might be some who would still play it, but for the most part, you'd be finding this in bargain bins at your local Gamestop. It is a decent game, but most of its value today comes from its nostalgia factor. If you played it when you were a kid or are a just fan of SRPGs, definitely give Shining Force a playthrough or two. Otherwise, stick to games that come out of the current era.

Gamers who can appreciate good gameplay in spite of dated graphics and minor flaws will get the most out of this one.

Shining Force garners a 7 out of 10 - good enough to have a fan base, but flawed enough that some people won't give it the time of day.

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© 2012 Hal Gall

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