Some random thoughts today all stemming from having finished Shining Force on the iPhone:
First, I just realized the first gen iPhone that I have is really slow compared to the latest phone. Now this might not come as a shock to others, but I was under the impression the actual hardware had not changed much in terms of speed. Oops. Shining Force on my buddies phone ran very smooth, while (after seeing his) I realized my game as running at what looked like 15-25FPS. Bleh. I was also getting some music-related slowdown, but just kinda assumed it was the game and not the hardware. New iPhone for Christmas, check!
Second, how is it that after all these years, with games evolving and improving, that Shining Force is still amazing? And not just nostalgia “hey this brings me back” amazing, but pure gameplay and entertainment amazing. Sure the AI is laughable bad, the overall game is super easy 95% of the time (yay cheap boss fights), and the plot can be summed up as “bad guy is bad, wants to awaken badder guy, you stop him, NOW….ish. First visit these 7 chapters of content”.
The game just has that ‘something’ about it that makes you want to continue on, and makes you a little sad when it’s finally over. It has tons of charm in terms of graphics and little details, a nice spin on the fantasy setting, and a huge range of characters to play with, giving it some nice replay value as well.
Finally, I found it interesting that I dread talking to even quest NPCs in many games, yet in Shining Force I literally talked to every single NPC in every single town. I think it’s a combination of things, from the fact that what the NPCs in Shining Force say is short and to the point (if they have one that is) versus a life story in text from current-day NPCs, to NPCs not having a giant ! over their head indicating “hey I’m the important one, everyone else is just wasting your time”.
Release Shining Force 2 already!
Chuck-o-the-day: Some sideshow performers can look at a person and tell them their birthday. Chuck Norris can look at a person and tell them when they will die.
I think that last point is really important. The “!” quest givers basically are a giant “don’t talk to any one else” sign. I liked talking to various people. You’d end up with lots of useless stuff (but could be easily ignored “Welcome to Corneria!, I like swords!”) But, you’d also sometimes get little nuggets of random info that would help you, or point you towards some random side thing.
Nowadays you may as well just get a to do list when you come to a new town and be done with it.
I tend to talk to all the NPCs regardless of whether they do or don’t have a “!”. In most MMOs they have dialog and in the good ones it’s often amusing. I see the quest indicator as a suggestion, not an instruction, but then I cherish the illusion of free will.
(I’ve never heard of “Shining Force”, by the way, and when I saw the title I thought momentarily that you were going to tell us what you’d learned from The Shining Path…)
Didn’t own a Sega megadrive/Genesis Bhagpuss? It and Phantasy Star were the Final Fantasies of it.
Or you could buy the Nintendo DS, which has a ton of tactical RPGs like Shining Force on it. Some very hardcore: Knights in the Nightmare takes Shining Force, and combines it with elements of Bullet Hell shooters like Ikaruga. It has to be seen to be believed.
Retro RPGs are fun though.
I still don’t get why the DS gets all the good TBS games like FFT and such. I’ve been more than interested to pick one up just for those style of games… hmmm maybe the 3DS…