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Shining Force Neo (PlayStation 2) artwork

Shining Force Neo (PlayStation 2) review


"How wonderfully dreadful that publishers such as Sega can shun the developers that made their games worthy in the first place, but still churn out sequels and counterparts to them. Sequels, mind you, that make no effort to recreate Shining Force’s strategy, luster or quality. If this is Sega’s way of trying to cash in on the popularity of Baldur’s Gate or Warcraft, evolving it from something we know and love, then I must regrettably remove myself as a Shining Force fan girl. "



How wonderfully dreadful that publishers such as Sega can shun the developers that made their games worthy in the first place, but still churn out sequels and counterparts to them. Sequels, mind you, that make no effort to recreate Shining Force’s strategy, luster or quality. If this is Sega’s way of trying to cash in on the popularity of Baldur’s Gate or Warcraft, evolving it from something we know and love, then I must regrettably remove myself as a Shining Force fan girl.

Although the game remains a constant, visual splendor with wonderful cel-shadding and high-quality animation, horrible dialogue mauls any enjoyment you may have gotten from cut-scenes. It is then further brutalized by voice-over performances so bad they could make porn stars cringe from their lack of acting talent. So awful it is, you may even turn it off. I make no exaggeration in my statement, either. It was a spike in my ear and a non-stop headache.

I do not know what it is about this game and its lagging, half-hearted emotions. I would swell with pride in other SF games as I charged my army across the battlefield; rewarding myself after my strategy proved so flawless everyone came home. There is no strategy to be had here--it is a mindless, chaotic melee, dormant of any forethought or planning aside from warming your thumb up. Countless hordes exist and countless times you will tap one button to destroy them. I am no longer a brilliant general, rather a mindless thug who knows nothing but to kill.

Urgency became my only goal in battles; end them before the boredom crept up. It was not to be had. With all those enemies, the game bogged down so much it made bullet time look like fast-forward. It is not for a dramatic effect either as you hear the clicking PS2 as it tries to catch up, leaving you in a choppy slow-motion battle until you destroy most of the enemies. You may not even have time to heal yourself, or even realize you need to until it is too late. It is like running through mud while you try to escape a tiger. Knowing of the horrible fate, too mucked up to escape it.

The only thing reminiscent of previous Shining Force games is the story, and sadly it is not in the good way. I played the first one but for those of you that did not here is a brief summary. The default hero’s name is Max, who has a brother named Cain--whom he is also fighting with, a faithful robot servant named Adam and a big three-headed villain named Dark Dragon. Now, let us talk about Neo. Your hero’s name? Max. Max has a brother, whom he’s fighting with, named Cain. Want to guess the name of the robot character or the main villain? You do not need to as I’ve already said them. The story line, however, doesn’t completely bomb--you don’t have amnesia.

The one upside to this game: The Force Frame--a customizable tool that allows you to boost any stat you choose, but you have to find the force art for it first. Your Force Frame will start out completely blank, but as time passes enemies will drop force arts that will provide you with a much-needed edge. Higher Hp, resistance to fire, ice, dark magic, poison, faster attack speed, higher magic, higher defense--if it is a stat, chances are you will be able to find it. After you have the art, you have to build it up with energy, something the enemies also provide. Some arts gain levels after you fill them up, others will only reach a certain point. The wonderful thing, it is completely up to you how you want to spend that energy once you have it. Some things are a necessity, but others will determine your path as either a swordsman or a wizard; a devil killer or dragon slayer.

After the Force Frame’s glitter wore off, I was again reminded of the dark facts. Shining Force Neo is a game that lacks everything worthy of its predecessors, seems as though it was put together by children and sounds worse than it plays. I have only pity for Sega now. Camelot is gone; Shining Force may be dead.

Rating: 3/10

crimson_phoenix's avatar
Community review by crimson_phoenix (January 25, 2006)

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