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    dkirschner's Shining Force EXA (PS2)

    [June 9, 2011 08:26:07 AM]
    Done done done, with the help of YouTube to see after the last boss fight because he kills me in one hit. Don't ask me why the boss needs to kill me in one hit, but after about 15 times and 1.5 hours of trying, I got tired of it. I almost had him a couple times. The only way I could stay alive was to pop invincibility potions throughout the entire fight so Malxatra couldn't damage me, but he'd inevitably smack me as a potion ran out. And since they cost 5 BILLION (literally) gold, I have exactly enough to last the fight and cannot buy more. So according to guides and YouTube, people who played through like me wound up somewhere between level 100-110 and had magnificent trouble with the last boss. Other people claimed he was 'the easiest boss fight ever,' and looking at stuff they posted, their characters are in the 150-200 level range and they kill Malxatra in 10 seconds or less. I almost had him at whatever I was, 106 I think, but it's crazy (I think) that people need to grind so many levels to kill the last boss. It's not like I skipped anything in the game at all. I went in practically every optional area, had decently upgraded gear, etc. But watching these people use 1-h swords and shields and doing 4x the damage of my 2-h sword makes want to cry.

    Anyway, let's pretend I won. I watched the ending sequence on YouTube too. Definitely up there for stupidest ending ever. Everything up to the boss is fine, but after, Cyrille (or Toma if you played with Cyrille) is lying on the ground passed out. You wake her up and try to tell her you love her. If you're Cyrille, you wake up Toma, tell him you love him and ask if he loves you too, which he says yes. Roll credits. That's IT? Of all the things they could have done at the end of the world, the writers ended with about 15 lines of dialogue about the contrived love story between the two heroes. This game should have been half the length it was, but to drag it on so long and have such a lame ending also makes me want to cry.

    In short: Shining Force EXA makes me want to cry. I should not pick up games that carry the namesakes of my favorite Sega Genesis games and expect them to magically be amazing.
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    [June 8, 2011 05:24:17 PM]
    The areas toward the end of the game 2, 3 hours. Soooooo unnecessary.

    I had an epic play session today that lasted way longer than it should have because of the above statement. And I'm still...not...done.

    This is the kind of game, though not a bad one, that if I could have talked to my future self, I would leave alone. It's just the same thing over and over. The only thing keeping me going is the story, which is mostly typical RPG evil-god-resurrecting end-of-the-world stuff, but it's not bad either. I find a couple of the characters interesting, especially these two kids, Amitaliri and Faulklin. Amitaliri is a stuck up bossy mage girl and Faulklin is her shy hopelessly-in-love-with-her sidekick. They're actually pretty funny, and have some surprisingly striking interactions that deal with loyalty and romance. There's only one I don't like and that's the merchant NPC who only cares about money, and relates everything to money, and says he'd rather die than give up his profits (and he's serious!). Just every time you talk to him (or his kids, but for them I blame him) it's some annoying comment about how he is out to screw people over for money. Maybe it's a purposeful critique of capitalism. Maybe. But he'd have to have something ironic happen to him in the end, sold himself. There was a part where he got attacked by monsters signaling the invasion of the dark lord Malxatra, the evil-god-boss, and he left his strongbox when he ran, and all he cared about was the strongbox, not the end of the world. And then his daughter said that he must have been scared, and the only time he's ever been so forgetful was when he lost his wallet after his wife died. That's not even funny!

    But back to my main point. The dungeons at the very very end of the game where I currently am (I hope I hope, please, please) get quite difficult, especially this (again, please!) last one. Shining Force EXA pulled one of the most annoying tricks in the book: "Hey, at the end of the game, we'll make ALL THE ENEMIES use status effects when you never had to worry about it the whole rest of the game! ALL THE STATUS EFFECTS, but ESPECIALLY PETRIFY! everyone loves petrify!" And the enemies in this dungeon (Malxatra's super ship of oblivion) are all just really big, have lots of HP. There are these prisons throughout the game that you can break if you want to release and fight a challenging monster. In this ship, there are rooms with like 6 or 8 of these prisons and a switch in the middle. When you hit it, ALL the prisons open at once and you have to fight all the super bad guys. I did the first one somehow, and the second room of them killed me. I'm not sure if they're optional yet, but that's when I finally turned it off.

    I'm considering finishing this off tomorrow to be done. Either that or forget about it for a few days and come back fresher with just the end to do.
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    [June 4, 2011 10:26:27 PM]
    I'm surprised by how much I like this, given some of the reviews. I mean, I knew I'd like it, but some of the reviews made things sound like big flaws that I don't find very bad. I'm looking at Gamespot right now to remember what all they didn't like:

    "Mind-numblingly shallow combat." Yeah, it is shallow, but the game's a hack n slash. I think it's fun (although reviews say it gets really old after a few hours, but I'm going strong!). You push X to swing, and you can chain swings together by timing X right. At any point you can hold X to charge a special attack, but if you do it after a certain number of combos, depending on the weapon and the timing, then your special attack becomes part of a chain, and after THAT you can hold X again to chain a super powerful special that uses mana, and chain a couple of those depending on weapon. The amount of enemies you kill chaining the mega combos is awesome. But there is a big difference between using Toma and Cyrille. Toma uses either a 2-handed sword (with no magic capability) or a 1-h sword & board with usually 1 spell. Cyrille uses either a bow (with limited magic I think, but I've never equipped her with one) or a book, with a ton of magic spells. So with Cyrille, I don't want to engage in melee because her defenses are weak and her magic is so strong anyway. So while Toma is fun with the combos and spinning around the screen like a tazmanian devil, with Cyrille I just stand back and press triangle to cast fireball over and over and over. But there is plenty of intensity because enemies are everywhere, and getting hit much is generally bad, especially with the bigger baddies. So, to sum, it's not a deep system at all, but it's fun in practice. Oh plus, you constantly get to upgrade abilities and so I constantly see my characters getting stronger.

    "Severe framerate instability." To look at this on the positive side, it builds tension! When a ton of enemies pop on screen, it does lag like crazy, which really should be annoying, but because the combat is so simple, you can keep fighting like normal. I like building combos and watching Toma annihilate 60 enemies in slo-mo.

    "Poor voice acting." The voice acting is totally not poor! It's not awesome or anything, but totally standard RPG fare I think. The writing is about standard as well, so I've got no complaints there. Actually a lot of this game is just pretty middle-of-the-road if I think about it.

    There are a few other *almost* annoying things that people could easily hate, but that I don't mind. In this game, your base is the 'Geo-Fortress,' which is build into a mountain and is used by the 'Heritor,' the person who unearths the holy sword, Shining Force, in his/her battle against the evil lord Malxatra. Your whole team is split into two parties: one that goes out and does whatever mission you're on, and the other who stays at the Geo-Fortress to defend it. The almost annoying thing is that (randomly?) enemies attack the Geo-Fortress, and whatever you're doing with the mission team gets totally interrupted, and you are forced to switch to the defensive team and have some 5-minute battle where you run around one of 4 levels looking for the 'boss' to kill it and stop the attack. Then the game ports you right back to the mission team, right back in the middle of whatever they were doing. Even if you're in the middle of fighting some really hard special enemy, the game will switch characters to defend, and then switch you back right into the middle of the fight again.

    One thing I like are all the optional areas to go to and optional challenges to take on. There are enemies in stasis fields to awaken if you dare (that yield Secret Scrolls, which are like skills you can attach to equipment), places called 'Path of Challenge' or something like that complete with warning signs that you have to bust through if you want to tackle it, again with great rewards, Arenas for each monster type where you fight really hard bosses and tons of minions that feature different things like turning you to stone or disappearing or using ice magic or whatever, Training grounds where you go into a dungeon and fight a boss every 5 levels, etc. All this stuff, totally optional, but hard and rewarding!

    The most unique thing about the game is upgrading the Geo-Fortress. Every now and then you find or are rewarded with Core Metal, which you use to upgrade the functions of the Geo-Fortress (you have to find other Metals to restore the functions in the first place, which I think I am still doing, or maybe have just completed, in the story). So it's got a radar to find treasures and bosses, it's got a defense system with defense robots to help with attacks, a long-range cannon, the training dungeon, and a couple other things. You spend core metal to make all of these stronger/more/better. Unfortunately though (or fortunately because it makes my decisions easier) most of the upgrades aren't that useful. I pretty much just upgrade the overall level of the Geo-Fortress and the training dungeon. I was upgrading some of the others, and might again later, but like the radar, okay, I explore the whole map anyway and I'll find all the treasure I can get. The defensive robots, I bought some, but I haven't had trouble defending the Geo-Fortress in a long time, so haven't bought more. But these things may come in handy later.

    That's about it on Shining Force. Pretty simple hack n slash. Fun though, and good for an hour or two here and there.
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    dkirschner's Shining Force EXA (PS2)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Friday 27 May, 2011

    GameLog closed on: Thursday 9 June, 2011

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Unique fighting style, Geo-Castle seems really neat, looking forward to playing more. ----- No. Don't play this. It's alright, way too long, terrible ending.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstar

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