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The Element of Fun

The Element of Fun

By September 8, 2014 Tabletop & Video Games 3 Comments

I just beat a game, and it wasn’t a good one. In no way would I ever say that this was a good game, but boy was it fun and that’s what kept me coming back. Well, that and I wanted to put it on my Beaten Games List.

I’m getting ahead of myself. The game is called Shining Force II. There are three Shining Force titles in all; I have beaten them all and none of them, in my opinion are good games so allow me a couple moments to explain.

Shining Force I and II were released for the Sega Genesis. The game-play is like a primitive Fire Emblem. Rather than having turns, your characters are able to move depending on their speed stat. If your swordsman is attacking the boss, you could potentially get whooped. The boss could have enough speed to attack your dude three times before your swordsman gets the chance to fight back. It’s a super simple game (which is one of its charms).

However, the story was just plain awful: it was not engaging and most of it didn’t make any sense. Everything moved too fast and, for the most part, I had no idea what was going on because, while it moved quickly, it didn’t flow like a story should. All of a sudden, I accidentally broke this seal that released a bunch of spiritual devils into the world or something. I still have no idea because, HOLY CRAP, the story-telling was god-awful. The writers didn’t allow me to come to any conclusions. It was always spelled out for me. If somebody fell into a pit, the text box would literally read “He fell into the pit.” It was ridiculous, bland and had no personality at all. I’d rather be reading a nutrition label on my cereal box. The things I could tell you about my Lucky Charms!

Then there are the graphics. With the story full of holes, the poor graphics become very apparent – now, I know that it was for the Genesis, but the sprites were TOO blocky. The names of the enemies were pretty lame too. Like Death Archer: He’s an archer who shoots death.

However, despite ALL of this, I still say this game is awesome. The old-timey charm is extremely prevalent. As soon as I turned on the game, I was instantly launched back to the 90s. And I was drowning in bad graphics and abysmal writing. So why did I play this game at all? Maybe it was because I’ve already beaten every Fire Emblem game. Maybe.

There’s an actual legit reason I kept coming back to Shining Force II: because it’s just a flippin’ fun game. It’s so fun. When you see this White Dragon – that’s the actual name, no prizes for describing him – coming to annihilate your team, you want to play. You want to conjure up a strategy to win. And it’s a merciful game too. You know in Fire Emblem when one of your characters gets whooped, and he’s dead forever? And you have to start the level all over again if you want to keep him alive? Yeah. That’s not the case for Shining Force II. I don’t know if I’d willingly trade good writing for mercy, but whatever.

I really don’t have to cry too much about the difficulty. You just sit down and play. The game isn’t too long; It’s definitely under 20 hours. So it’s not too much to chew on. Though you may not get involved in the story, you kind of make your own fun. The characters are pretttttty bland, so you have to color them for yourself.

I would never recommend Shining Force II. But here I am, promoting Shining Force II. What is the world coming to? Don’t play it if you’re looking for a gripping story or memorable characters. If you get sick of waiting for Super Smash Bros., and you’re looking for a game to pass the time, try any of the Shining Force titles… or just play Fire Emblem.

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  • http://www.d20crit.com/ tristan

    Honestly, I’m dying over this article, Andy! I LOVE Shining Force II! Joe and I both hail it as super amazing. Part of that probably has a lot to do with the fact that we weren’t even CLOSE to adult when we played through it, but we followed the storyline OK, and loved the ending. Again, not super mature at this point lol. But I totally get your feelings on it – it IS super literal, and I felt the storyline moved a bit too slowly at times, but it’s all moments, right? I remember naming my character “Cherry” and Peter the Phoenix was my favorite tool in battle. It does really make you want to buckle down and tighten your strategy up – this was my first real rpg strategy game and what got me hooked on FF!

    I’m so glad you played it through and liked (sort of) it! It is weirdly compelling. I still get so many feels about this game.

    • Andy

      Oh. I LOVED IT. I can’t get over how good this game is. Like, it’s bad in a good way. Despite all of my gripes, I played through it. It was so much fun. And even though it was a bit clunky at times, I loved it. And I’m so glad that you and I can share this together :)

    • Andy Briggs

      I don’t want anyone to think that I hate Shining Force. I love it. LOVE IT. Why do you think I played/beat it in the first place? haha. It may be primitive, but it’s so fun. And that’s why people like you and me play it :) Because it rocks. And it also has a special place in our hearts!

      And Peter the Phoenix is a baller. I especially liked his Flamingo Form :)