Author Topic: RetroActive #10: Shining Force II Discussion Thread  (Read 10632 times)

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Offline Yoshidious

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RetroActive #10: Shining Force II Discussion Thread
« on: October 26, 2009, 10:54:19 AM »
This is the official forum thread for discussing the winner of our recent Genesis poll, Shining Force II. Please make sure your posts are on topic. Comments from this thread may be quoted on Radio Free Nintendo during our RetroActive segments.

Shining Force II is available on Virtual Console for 800 points. We encourage all podcast listeners to play it with fresh eyes and post your thoughts here!
« Last Edit: October 26, 2009, 10:56:50 AM by Yoshidious »
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Offline NWR_DrewMG

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Re: RetroActive #10: Shining Force II Discussion Thread
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2009, 12:03:06 PM »
I'm maybe 4-5 battles in now, playing on the Ouch! difficulty level.  I'm finding the sprite movement mechanics in the game (exploring the overworld) to be more dated than I remember, and the menu system is a bit clunky.  I still like the "4 items per character" rule and think it adds a lot of strategy to the game.  The music is really what's taking me back more than anything else. 

The story is pretty standard fantasy INEXPERIENCED GOOD VS. ANCIENT EVIL fare, but it's told well enough. 

I loved this game in middle school when I first got it (it was a Christmas present in 8th grade) and I still love it now.  One of my all time faves.
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Offline Stratos

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Re: RetroActive #10: Shining Force II Discussion Thread
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2009, 09:46:53 PM »
The King looks like freaking Santa Clause. LOL

I have not fought a battle yet, but the first thing I've notice is that other allies follow you around the town and it is very fluid movement. Some previous games I have played like Dragon Quest 3 have your allies following along rather woodenly from grid to grid, but here they flow a bit more naturally behind you.
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Offline NWR_Neal

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Re: RetroActive #10: Shining Force II Discussion Thread
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2009, 10:06:32 PM »
Bah. I forgot to snag my Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection disc when I was home last weekend. Guess I'll have to wait to join the fun until next weekend. :(
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Offline Stratos

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Re: RetroActive #10: Shining Force II Discussion Thread
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2009, 10:37:35 PM »
LOL, best quote ever:

"But it's OK if he dies, he's old anyway".

Must be mentioned on the podcast.
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Offline noname2200

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Re: RetroActive #10: Shining Force II Discussion Thread
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2009, 12:28:13 PM »
Sweet choice. I enjoyed this game, but never had a chance to finish it. I really doubt I will this time either, but I'll give it my best.

I have to second NWR DrewMG about the clunkiness of the menu though.

Offline vudu

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Re: RetroActive #10: Shining Force II Discussion Thread
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2009, 01:06:39 PM »
The game is a very simplified mix of Fire Emblem and Final Fantasy games of the day (I - VI).

Gone are the intricacies of Fire Emblem.  As far as I can there there is no weapon triangle.  Very rarely do characters counter-attack or double-attack and since there's no way to know before it happens you can't plan for it.  You can't even tell how much damage you will deal before a fight takes place!  Death is irrelevant because there's almost no penalty for falling in battle.  In fact, it seems you can actually "game" the system by purposefully losing or fleeing from battle at the very end and then start over with all your experience from the previous encounter intact.

Similarly, while Shining Force seems to share a lot in common with RPGs of the day the game is missing a lot of complexities that are assumed to be there.  There don't seem to be any stat-boosting equipment or items other than weapons.  Because it's a strategy game it is completely linear so you don't get any of the freedom you come to expect from an RPG.

I've only completed the first 7 battles so it's possible that armor and additional items will be introduced later in the game.  Unfortunately, I don't expect the other short-comings will be resolved because they're built into the basic framework of the game.

This isn't to say that I don't enjoy the game.  I am enjoying it and I expect to play it to completion.  I'm just a bit let down after hearing so many great things about the game.  I'm also completely miffed that Slade the thief doesn't seem to be able to do any thieving!  What good is a thief who can't steal?
Why must all things be so bright? Why can things not appear only in hues of brown! I am so serious about this! Dull colors are the future! The next generation! I will never accept a world with such bright colors! It is far too childish! I will rage against your cheery palette with my last breath!

Offline gtownclown

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Re: RetroActive #10: Shining Force II Discussion Thread
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2009, 07:31:47 AM »
I remember playing this game as a kid and have been waiting for it to come out on vc but I thought it was shinning force 3 so I’m glad this game was chosen. Because now I realize this game that has been out for a while is actually the one I’ve been waiting on.  I’m only about 1.5 hours in maybe a little more and I remember the appeal this game had so vividly now. I have some complaints right up front with it that my former kid self didn’t have. First the dialogue is so so so bad. They have just enough info in the statements to make it tolerable to care about the story line. Hopefully it gets a lot better further in but I’m not gonna hold my breath on that one. And my second complaint it why didn’t they give themselves enough room in the class or job description box to type out all of the job descriptions. It is just one of those things that by being over looked makes this game come across in the first 15 minutes as crap when it really isn’t….well not at least from what I remember.

Offline NWR_DrewMG

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Re: RetroActive #10: Shining Force II Discussion Thread
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2009, 06:05:51 AM »
I remember playing this game as a kid and have been waiting for it to come out on vc but I thought it was shinning force 3 so I’m glad this game was chosen.

I had the real Shining Force III for Saturn for awhile.  It was pretty hard to track down, as it was released at the end of the Saturn's life and not very many copies were made.

Interestingly, the game was split up in Japan into three separate scenarios, all sold separately.  Supposedly, you could really only get the true ending at the end of the third scenario, because the game story was basically retold from three points of view. 

Only the first scenario was released in the US, and I only played through half of it - the story was pretty convoluted and complicated from what I remember.  The gameplay was more or less the same as the previous Shining Force titles, however. 

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Offline Stratos

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Re: RetroActive #10: Shining Force II Discussion Thread
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2009, 04:05:09 AM »
Is it just me or do some of the enemies seem really powerful? The first time I had to fight enemy swordsmen they seemed to do an awful amount of damage to most of my fighting units. Are you guys having issues with this or am I missing something?
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Offline vudu

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Re: RetroActive #10: Shining Force II Discussion Thread
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2009, 10:35:10 AM »
I don't think I've run into a swordsman yet.  I completed battle #9 yesterday (the second battle after they relocate the village).  When do they start to appear?

The strongest enemy I've encountered so far is the Vampire Bat.
Why must all things be so bright? Why can things not appear only in hues of brown! I am so serious about this! Dull colors are the future! The next generation! I will never accept a world with such bright colors! It is far too childish! I will rage against your cheery palette with my last breath!

Offline Stratos

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Re: RetroActive #10: Shining Force II Discussion Thread
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2009, 03:27:09 PM »
Sorry, the axemen. I forgot their real names. the first human armed warriors you fight in the game.
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Offline gojira

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Re: RetroActive #10: Shining Force II Discussion Thread
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2009, 10:01:25 AM »
The game is a very simplified mix of Fire Emblem and Final Fantasy games of the day (I - VI).

Gone are the intricacies of Fire Emblem.  As far as I can there there is no weapon triangle. 

I know it's a small detail.  But the weapon triangle mechanic of the Fire Emblem series came after Shining Force II was released.  So you can't really fault it for that. 

Offline vudu

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Re: RetroActive #10: Shining Force II Discussion Thread
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2009, 12:41:16 PM »
I can't fault the game for not coming up with something original?  ;)
Why must all things be so bright? Why can things not appear only in hues of brown! I am so serious about this! Dull colors are the future! The next generation! I will never accept a world with such bright colors! It is far too childish! I will rage against your cheery palette with my last breath!

Offline gojira

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Re: RetroActive #10: Shining Force II Discussion Thread
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2009, 09:02:04 PM »
I can't fault the game for not coming up with something original?  ;)

True, it wasn't exactly a ground breaking game.  But it did take pretty much everything from the first Shining Force and improve upon it.  And since the Fire Emblem series had no presence in the West at that time, it has nothing else to directly compare with.

Offline gtownclown

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Re: RetroActive #10: Shining Force II Discussion Thread
« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2009, 06:02:26 AM »
Ok so after playing this for hours and hours now, I have my opinions locked in. this game has a lot of good things that are done just a little off to make them not good.
 My first example is the music. I really like the music a lot….. But during battles every time the screen changes it has to start the song over again. And the music that plays as you are moving the characters on the field has a very noticeable intro to the song. And you get to hear it every 30-60 seconds. It got to the point that I had to turn the music way down to not get frustrated. My second example of something just a little off that is a lot of fun in theory is the leveling system.
 The characters level pretty quickly and get promotions with a new picture for the character. They even hold new weapons when you buy them and equip them. So it keeps somewhat interesting to buy new weapons and promote characters. But when a character has fallen by the side lines in a couple of battles all of the sudden it is impossible to get them caught back up without totally screwing around the entire battle getting enemies to 1 hp and then moving that character in for the kill. This is annoying.
 I remember playing this as a kid and my turtle being one of my best people and this time he didn’t get to finish off the enemy in a couple battles and now he is a total suck fest. I’m going through the trouble of getting him kills just because I know how useful he can be.
 I love the big battles that make even the small leveling battles seam important. This is a lot different than games I played at the same time like ff6. Which you end up grinding forever and it never takes any brains. With these battles even the grinding feels somewhat difficult. The balancing is done very well in this game.
The characters are diverse and interesting. That cute little turtles attack is fucking adorable. All in all I like this game a lot.
It was a good game to play as a kid about the same time as ff6 and it is still a good game today. If you can get past the dialogue which has gotten better but still sucks pretty freaking bad.

Offline gojira

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Re: RetroActive #10: Shining Force II Discussion Thread
« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2009, 07:03:08 AM »
The whole thing about characters being left behind is very true.  It's also the case for other SRPGs like Fire Emblem.  Which is why I loved the bonus EXP feature in the GameCube game. 

Offline vudu

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Re: RetroActive #10: Shining Force II Discussion Thread
« Reply #17 on: November 02, 2009, 10:54:23 AM »
When do I actually get to start controlling Peter?
Why must all things be so bright? Why can things not appear only in hues of brown! I am so serious about this! Dull colors are the future! The next generation! I will never accept a world with such bright colors! It is far too childish! I will rage against your cheery palette with my last breath!

Offline Stratos

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Re: RetroActive #10: Shining Force II Discussion Thread
« Reply #18 on: November 02, 2009, 11:03:55 AM »
The whole thing about characters being left behind is very true.  It's also the case for other SRPGs like Fire Emblem.  Which is why I loved the bonus EXP feature in the GameCube game.

Yeah, this happens in a lot of RPGs, not just the FE/SF SRPGs.

That is the great thing about games like Knights of the Old Reublic and (I think) Chrono Trigger where all of your characters, active and inactive, share your experience and level up together.

Though the second US GBA Fire Emblem had a lot of open-ended encounters and the 'endless' towers you could keep repeating to train some of your alts. But the bonus EXP system on the GC/Wii games was a different breakthrough all together because you could actually max out your non-combat units to level 20 and promote them. I had never done that before the GC Fe.

It's always frustrating when you get a core set of characters you always use and then one battle comes up that let's you use twice as many characters as normal so you have a bunch of weak unused characters taking the battlefield.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2009, 11:05:44 AM by Stratos »
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Offline SkiDragon

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Re: RetroActive #10: Shining Force II Discussion Thread
« Reply #19 on: November 02, 2009, 03:56:38 PM »
Shining Force has always stood out for me as the only game I am aware of that combines strategy RPG type battles and traditional "exploration" type gameplay (i.e. walking around towns and the overworld). Games like Fire Emblem or Final Fantasy Tactics are nothing but a bunch of battles strung one after another, which becomes tedious after awhile. Unfortunately, neither the combat or the exploration in this game are really up to par with other RPGs. It is as a whole package where I think the game stands out.

I also like the music.


Offline gtownclown

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Re: RetroActive #10: Shining Force II Discussion Thread
« Reply #20 on: November 05, 2009, 09:15:24 AM »
I guess in the end my complaint isn’t that my characters fell behind. I’m used to that in ff games and other rpg’s but it is just how fast the characters were pushed out of the group. It was just a couple of battles where they weren’t getting the kills. Then they were useless before I even realized it. and there hits are only doing like 1 or 2 damage so it is very hard to get the enemies close enough to death without killing them to get things evened out. I’m going through the process but it is just frustrating. An easy fix would be low level allies should pull extra exp for killing high level enemies. That would help even it out faster or something. Which might be already in place but I haven’t noticed it. I notice the reverse is true where upgraded allies get less experience for killing low level enemies which kind of has the same effect with evening out but just a lot slower and indirectly.

Offline Jonnyboy117

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Re: RetroActive #10: Shining Force II Discussion Thread
« Reply #21 on: November 05, 2009, 03:08:10 PM »
I'm still early in the game, but it seems there are some built-in methods for catching up characters who have been "left behind" in levels. You can have them take pot shots at enemies out of their league, because they'll still get experience for the hit even if it does little damage. If a character knows magic, you can have him spam that (even healing) to gain experience without direct battle. Do you get experience for using items? I haven't tried it yet, but it seems possible given how the game rewards everything else. If all else fails, you can wait until new equipment is available for the character, and purchase that, which will artificially boost his stats, hopefully to the point that he can be somewhat useful in combat and start to catch up.

I do think the leveling up could get lopsided, due to the fact that killing an enemy provides far more experience than doing damage to it. But as gtownclown explained, this system can also be leveraged to boost characters who have fallen behind.
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Offline Stratos

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Re: RetroActive #10: Shining Force II Discussion Thread
« Reply #22 on: November 05, 2009, 03:51:03 PM »
Do people actually use Slade? He seems to be terribly weak.
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Offline NWR_DrewMG

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Re: RetroActive #10: Shining Force II Discussion Thread
« Reply #23 on: November 05, 2009, 04:26:31 PM »
I'm trying to get Slade to a usable state, but it's tricky.  He's really weak.
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Offline vudu

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Re: RetroActive #10: Shining Force II Discussion Thread
« Reply #24 on: November 05, 2009, 04:32:19 PM »
Do people actually use Slade? He seems to be terribly weak.

Apparently he gets really good after promotion.  In the Fire Emblem games I always tend to like both thieves/assassins and swordsmen--both weak but fast classes--so I'll probably try to stick with him.
Why must all things be so bright? Why can things not appear only in hues of brown! I am so serious about this! Dull colors are the future! The next generation! I will never accept a world with such bright colors! It is far too childish! I will rage against your cheery palette with my last breath!