Shining Force Neo: What the world needs now

Is another Diablo clone.

In the waning years of the American Dreamcast, a company called Neverland released “Record of Lodoss War” an action RPG in the mold of Diablo, based on the hit anime series. One could say it predated the whole Baldur’s Gate: Dark: Alliance. Well received, but sense it was released for the Dreamcast in 2001, in the death throes of the console, it didn’t sell that well.

Now, they have created yet another Diablo clone, this time under Sega’s Shining Force brand. 1up gave it a 9, which is rather high in my opinion. I’ve played about 6 hours of the game, and it isn’t bad. Not worth $50, unless you really like games in the BG:DA, but if it ever makes it down to twenty, it would be a good deal.

First the bad: the plot is generic. Save the world from the evil force that was mysteriously defeated 13 years ago, but has come back, and is trying to destroy the 3 crystals that protect all life from a menace beyond the stars. Oh, and one of them is your older brother, who went EEEEVVILLL. Yawn. The voice acting is mediocre to outright bad, so as a GAF goer said, “Turn that shit off”. Thankfully, each dialog can be skipped by pressing X, and the entire dialog scene can be skipped by pressing start.

The combat is gold though. Enemies appear in high number, generating from Gaunlet style monster generators. Slowdown is only apparent at the most extreme of times, when 25-30 monsters are on screen. There is a large variety of weapons and armor, each with different speeds, damage, and reach. I’ve been using a halbred lately, which pretty much clears the screen.

Advancement is done in several ways. Weapons can be found, and are able to be bought and upgraded at the home base. Same with armor. Skills can be added and updated by picking up crystals that are dropped my enemies and monster generators. And there is the basic xp system.

Graphics are bright and colorful, with a variety of environments beyond the dank caves usually found in games like this. The enemies, the players, and the NPCs are drawn and animated well. Nice little effects like arrows stick in an enemy are found throughout.

Problems with the game part of the game? Linear, repetitive, which are sorta hallmarks of the genre. Steep difficulty curve. Game doesn’t get hard until about five hours in, then suddenly a chance encounter can kill you. NPCs say the same line every 3 seconds, the centaur I have keeps yelling out “Tremble before my mighty footfalls” or something like that. It sounds like “Tremble before my mighty balls”. Juvenile, yes, but more interesting than hearing that over and over.

Overall, 7. 8 if you like the genre. Light fluffy fun to while away the hours.

What score would you have given Lodoss so I can compare your tastes to mine?

Man, I would trade a Diablo clone in for a new SRPG Shining Force game any day. Neo proves they can do the graphics for a good console game, and the success of Fire Emblem w/ the complaints about its sometimes harsh difficulty suggests it will do at least moderately well, so why the series of hack’n’slashers?

I want SFIII, and all of it, damn it.

I never got to play Lodoss that much. What I did play of it was good, but I couldn’t compare amounts of content, items, etc. I’m a sucker for Lodoss as well, it was one of the first anime I ever saw.

Meh, for the PS2 only? Why not on the PSP?

I bought the DVD set of Lodoss and regret it to this day. But the Record of Lodoss War for the dreamcast, now that was gaming gold. If you like your diablo style roguelike action rpg games anyways. When I heard the same team was making Shining Force Neo I was fairly excited, once I got over the whole Force vs Soul confusion.

The story is atocious, the anime artwork is bland, the voice acting is grating and if you don’t hate the characters in your party yet, you soon will. I didn’t think any game would ever match the annoying repetitive voice “It’s a mighty sword” in the Record of Lodoss dreamcast edition. The fine folks at Neverland obviously took that as a challenge, and I am irritated to admit they might just have done it.

But is it fun? Hell yes. I am playing the crap out of it. It gets a lot right in the gameplay department, with the easy teleports, rope to hang yourself, tons of inventory items to identify, upgrade, equip, and sell, fun combat and great graphics (not the anime cut scenes). Course I loved Record of Lodoss War, so take that for what’s worth.

Does is have Lodoss War’s insane item customization? That made the game for me.

I bought the DVD set of Lodoss and regret it to this day.

There are two versions. The full length TV series sucks. The shorter OVA version is great.

Any thoughts of this v. Xmen Legends 2 for someone looking at heading out to Toys R Us this week to collect a few games? They both seem somewhat similar in style, and I’m in the mood for a Diablo like.

The customization is moved to a weapon independent system called the Force Art. You pick up crystals on the ground. Some large, some small. The large one allow you to learn new abilities, the small ones allow you to increase those abilities.

For example, since I’ve been using a halbred, a slow wide sweeping weapon, I’ve been concentrating on putting points into weapon speed, critical strike rate, and knockback rate. If I pick up another weapon, these skills will remain. Some of them won’t be nearly as useful though. Weapon speed is done by decreasing the attack time by a precentage: on fast weapons, it doesn’t work that well. Some weapons have magic attacks, and you can increase those spell levels as well.

It’s nothing matching the level of a SRPG like Disgaea, and it does have the effect of making the actual item customization rather plain. Items can have a number of stars, which indicate cool added effects, like +100% damage to a certain creature. You can increase the damage of a weapon through a blacksmith, but that’s all you can increase.

My problem with XMen is the items. I love lots of random, upgradeable equipment to mix and match. I haven’t played an hour of 2, but it doesn’t seem greatly different than 1 in this regard. In Neo you have a rocking upgrade system plus oodles of items, and a much more explorable environment. XMen always seemed to me to be pretty much just a tiny series of one way corridors in comparison. With Neo I had wandered off the beaten path and got my self killed fairly quickly after the long tutorial ish beginning ended. I knew where to go, but wanted to explore and was midly successful till I started trying to ignore all the warning signs.

Picked this up at the flea market today, and did a Google search for “Tremble Before My Mighty Balls” after we got the centaur. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out anything else he could possibly be saying.

We’re liking the one, so far, balls and all. What is the deal? Is it supposed to be “Tremble before my mighty blow?” Cause that’s almost as bad.

Hot stuff coming your way!

I need to start hanging out at whatever flea market it is that you’re finding all this cool stuff at.