Sega/Shin Force | PSP Previews

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Shin Force ~ Shining Force ~
Shining Blade | Preview
1x Disc
Mar. 15, 2012 (Japan)
3rd Person
     > It's a shame that there isn't a bigger market for games like this outside of Japan. I can't blame Sega for not wanting to lose money; Sega are merely supplying demand. Sega took the Shining Force series in a new direction by making Shining Force Neo an action/RPG instead of making a strategy/RPG with modern graphics like Fire Emblem which angered a lot of fans. It was heartbreaking, but such is life. However, it is good to see that Sega haven't given up on this series yet. The Shining series has become more mainstream no doubt but maybe we can steer it back in the right direction. If not, then we always have the original games. 

     > Shining Blade is basically a real time strategy game like Valkyria Chronicles with anime artwork but set in a medieval fantasy world. Sadly the game only revolves around a small group of characters unlike traditional Shining Force games. Characters move in real time and when a character attacks with melee or ranged attacks the game focuses on their attack. The graphics look great for the platform. I can't complain. The graphics are colorful and solid and thus immerse you in the game. 

     > This is the next step in the evolution of strategy/RPGs according to some people but I disagree. The older games were turn-based. In Shining Force III you moved characters across a grid map and took turns to move with the enemy, and when a character attacked, the screen would show them attacking in a more fully realized 3D environment. I liked Mystaria more in this respect because the camera would zoom in on your characters and show them attack instead. It was more seamless.

     > Shining Blade is not a turn-based strategy/RPG like the Shining Force games of old. Shining Blade is played much more in real time and is far less tactical. For better or for worse. This isn't meant to be a criticism of Blade; I am merely highlighting the fact that it's not the next step in Shining Force's evolution. It's a different game. But maybe that's the price it had to pay to become successful. Companies have a right to make games for people who actually buy their products. I can't criticize the graphics. Whether you like the gameplay or not is subjective.

     > The characters look like they came straight out of an anime. One thing that will grab anyone's attention are the female characters. The women are hot as hell. The artist is Tony Taka, a famous Hentai/erotic anime artist (aka anime porn for the uninitiated). He knows how to draw eye candy, that's for sure. The women are very beautiful indeed. It's hard to take your eyes off them especially the white haired elf girl Altina. However, the art seems generic. 

     > Maybe it's just me but the game screams mainstream. The women look like porn stars and the men look like metrosexuals. The men don't look like men. Men should look battle hardened and mentally independent in a medieval fantasy world because that's what they would have to be in order to survive, but alas, you won't find that here. 

     > Of course, I'm not expecting realism from this game. Perhaps it's not meant to be. Nonetheless, Shining Blade has some of the traditional art of the previous Shining games such as centaur knights which will please older fans. While the art isn't ideal (this is subjective), I can't complain about the quality.

First Impression
     > I have mixed feelings about Shining Blade. If Shining fans are looking for a modern Shining Force strategy/RPG they won't find it here, but Blade is definitely a step in the right direction. You will have to judge it on its own merits. I freely admit that I am blinded by my own bias. You might be able to find a translation patch for this game so it might be worth importing if you like this type of game. If Sega don't translate this then fans probably will sooner or later. It seems that Shining Blade was successful because this game spawned a similar game called Shining Ark. Needless to say, I prefer the older games, but there's no denying that the new games are well made. Things could be a lot worse.

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