Sega/Shin Force | PSP Previews

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Shin Force ~ Shining Force ~
Shining Ark | Preview
Media Vision
1x Disc
Feb. 28, 2013 (Japan)
3rd Person
     > After checking out Shining Blade and Shining Ark I have to admit the gameplay isn't the end of the world. Shining Ark is another Shining game for the PSP with real time tactical gameplay and anime art. Shining Ark is basically a spiritual sequel to Shining Blade. The gameplay is more or less the same but the game has new characters. The game begins with the main character finding a girl who has one black wing. She is a strange sight to behold, and stranger still she can summon animals by singing, but as always, darker things await as you delve deeper into this mystery.

     > There's a lot of voice acting which is probably one reason why Sega would be less willing to translate this game.

     > I'll try to be concise because I don't want to bore you with too many details. The difference between Shining Ark in addition to Blade and previous Shining Force games is Ark and Blade have less characters and are played from a third person perspective (behind and slightly above the characters), and instead of moving on a grid, characters have an energy bar that shows how much more a character is allowed to move. The bar will decrease while moving until it runs out and you are forced to stop. Your movement is limited by how much energy a character has. You move in real time until you run out of energy then swap to other characters or the game swaps to enemies. When attacking, combat is paused to aim or to synchronize attacks with other characters to strike at the same time.

     > It's not bad. I can forgive Shining Blade and Shining Ark for not being traditional Shining Force games because they aren't. "Shining Force" Neo wasn't a Shining Force game (it was an action/RPG with anime art) but it used the name as if it was replacing the older games as if it was the next step in the evolution of the series. That was bad PR, especially when Neo means new and/or modern in Greek which implies that the original games are old and outdated. If Neo hadn't been called Shining Force then fans might have given it a chance. What was an otherwise good game was destroyed by its own name.

     > Shining Ark isn't pretending to be a Shining Force game, as in a Force game. Like before, the game has anime characters drawn by Tony Taka, the famous/infamous Hentai artist. The female characters he draws easily grab your attention. They are distracting. I'm trying not to look at the pirate woman's breasts. Shining Ark is clearly a male fantasy but it's harmless because it's just *a game*. It's not real. It's a male dominated genre, lest we forget, so what do people expect? If you don't like it then don't buy it. The main character is male but I'm not sure. He looks feminine. Mister Taka really needs to fix that.

First Impression
     > Tony Taka will never run out of work. He draws beautiful anime girls and gets paid tons of money. It's a hard life.

     > Shining Ark is another Shining game that's doomed to never leave Japan. This is very easy to pick up and play it seems; not much thought is required. Hopefully we will see a game like this on a home console but with more characters and more depth. Shining Ark is linear but has tons of action to keep players hooked. This game seems like an interactive movie rather than a game but that's what I expect from this platform where players don't see gaming as a hobby.

     > The PSP Shining games just make me miss Shining Force III. Imagine what a true Shining Force game with modern graphics would look like. Still, I'm sure that Shining Force fans would love an Ark-style game with more characters and a bigger world to explore on a modern console. Until then, Shining Ark might satisfy your hunger for a new Shining Force game if you can read Japanese.


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