The Return of Talking Time

Go Back   The Return of Talking Time > Talking about media > Talking about television games

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #31  
Old 04-13-2014, 11:13 PM
Rya Rya is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 3,020
Default

Quote:
As much as I love SF II, you can see the writing on the wall for Camelot going from SF I to II. Many, many of the changes both mechanical and in terms of content are emblematic of their later excesses. Then it leads to the realization that Beyond the Beyond is basically Golden Sun .5 and the world becomes a much sadder place.
Beyond the Beyond is an amazing game. But I'm the only one who understands that. In fact Beyond the Beyond also has the charm that SF1 has with character growth being quite surprising.
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 04-13-2014, 11:27 PM
Loki's Avatar
Loki Loki is offline
Funko Superfan
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Pronouns: He/Him
Posts: 16,211
Default

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 04-14-2014, 09:22 AM
Sarge's Avatar
Sarge Sarge is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 4,341
Default

I think Beyond the Beyond isn't a bad game, but it could use some improvements. The whole "timed-hit" thing or whatever it is that helps you get criticals destroys the pacing, and the random battle rate is far too high. Tweak those two things, and you've got a decent game.

Honestly, you can tell Golden Sun fixes a lot of these problems, the pacing of the battles is far quicker, and the game is better for it, regardless of your position on their verbosity.
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 04-14-2014, 01:23 PM
Rya Rya is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 3,020
Default

What's bad about the timed hit and why does it destroy the pacing? I thought it was a really fun addition and it was quite fluent. It's much better implemented than let's say in Shadow Hearts where it really slows down combat a lot (and even there I thought it was a nice addition).

Encounter rate is really high and random (it can be every step but sometimes you can walk 16+ steps without any encounter, I assume it's 10% per step chance), but I never found it a problem. That you always had a spell to instant escape dungeons prevented me from having to fight encounters when I didn't want to. Also escaping was really easy in combat in this game. You basically had 100% chance to escape in some encounters (with slower monsters), I just learned which battles are easy to escape and which are not and then just fought the ones that are hard to escape.
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 04-14-2014, 01:33 PM
Sarge's Avatar
Sarge Sarge is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 4,341
Default

Mainly because it bounced up and down for way too long before you actually attack, so battles that could have been finished quickly take a lot longer than they should. Plus, it still feels incredibly random, and basically comes down to "press the button as fast as you can". Sometimes I question if the mechanic even works... If I knew anything worth a flip about PSX hacking, I'd probably try my hand at just dropping the encounter rate, doubling experience, and re-working the timed hit mechanic.

I definitely agree that it's not as bad as some make it out to be, but I also wouldn't hold it up as a classic, either. I think Golden Sun pretty much fixed most of my problems with the game overall, with battles that move very, very quickly.

(Also, you're not the only one that actually enjoyed a game most people hate. I kinda stuck up for Black Sigil a lot, and it's not perfect, but there is a period of time in there where it's pretty great. I'd love to hack that one, too, and re-adjust the encounter rate, experience points, and fix the bugs.)

(Oh, speaking to Shadow Hearts, I actually liked the mechanic there because I could actually tell if I was doing it right.)
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 04-14-2014, 02:13 PM
Loki's Avatar
Loki Loki is offline
Funko Superfan
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Pronouns: He/Him
Posts: 16,211
Default

It's just one thing to say "I like this recognized bad game," rather than "this game is actually great but I'm the only one who knows it," Rya.

I think everyone has a few games they love that the rest of the world despises. Personally, I'm quite fond of Shadow Madness, and I know there are several people on this forum that will even go to bat for Legend of Dragoon!

Let's just not put ourselves on a pedestal for it.
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 04-14-2014, 02:21 PM
LancerECNM's Avatar
LancerECNM LancerECNM is online now
It Is Frame Perfect
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Space Virginia
Posts: 9,245
Default

For instance, I kind of liked [YOUR FAVORITE GAME].

See, the joke is, I'm implying that [YOUR FAVORITE GAME] is known to be terrible.
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 04-14-2014, 02:28 PM
Kazin's Avatar
Kazin Kazin is online now
Brain Genius
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Pronouns: he/him
Posts: 6,947
Default

Ok, so being at PAX all weekend with only spotty access to WiFi means I missed this thread entirely. Whoops!

A couple things I would like to get across with regards to Shining Force II:

I think Camelot was attempting to go bigger and better for everything in Shining Force II. I like that there are more battles. Why would more battles be a negative? This is a strategy RPG - what are you here for if you don't like battles? The story? Because it's not like either of the games does anything mind blowing in that department.

I agree that every battle doesn't add some new mechanic in the second game, and it's one of the reasons I like it more than 1. Having some new, weird situation presented every single battle got a little tiring in the first game, to me. I think the second game presents new challenges to the player at a slower, more accessible curve. I'm perfectly okay with another desert battle, yo. Generally speaking, I think the difficulty curve in II is smoother than 1 (with the exception of the chess battle, holy crap).

Also, as to SFII being grindy - what? You actually bothered grinding your dudes out? I mean if you want every single possible character you get to be able to fight the last boss, sure, that would be tiring, but there is absolutely no reason to grind. The Egress spell is in both games, so you can grind in both anyway, so I kinda don't see why this is an issue for folks?

dosboot, with regards to your point about the "quest" pacing of II, I have to disagree. Sure, the second continent is enormous in II, but I like it that way. I really enjoy the exploration aspect of SFII. Being able to go around and look for stuff and backtrack if you want is pretty fun. It also makes getting back to Grans finally that more rewarding, in my mind, because it has been so long and things are pretty different there when you return.

To get to the 100% subjective part of my post, the graphics in II are such a vast improvement over the first game's I find it hard to look at. Everything looks misshapen to me, and the little character portraits are too simple, etc. etc. I like the music in II more, though the first game admittedly has pretty good music too.

I should also say that Shining Force II is my first RPG, of any type, as well, unless you count Crystalis on the NES. I have an overabundance of nostalgia for the game and am aware it's not as good as I feel it is. My cousin and I used to construct Lego towns based on the game and basically have little fanfic battles where the characters would move around on a grid (one space on the grid = one 2x2 area on the flat lego sheet). Characters would level up and we would have sheets of paper with HP and spells on it and since I was a little older than him I usually won. Also seeing the name "Bowie" always makes me think of the game before the singer, too.

McDohl, if you happen see this, I would still like to finish reading your LP of the game
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 04-14-2014, 03:30 PM
Phantoon's Avatar
Phantoon Phantoon is offline
I Cuss You Bad
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Albion
Posts: 5,043
Default

It's bad because more isn't better. It's just more. If you're playing a strategy RPG and it isn't changing it up and forcing you to think then it's mindless. If you're playing your fourth similar battle in a row why do anything other than what worked the last three times? Also it gets samey. I struggle to remember anything that stood out among the many battles.

SF2 is still enjoyable. But I'll never love it like the first one.
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 04-14-2014, 04:17 PM
Sarge's Avatar
Sarge Sarge is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 4,341
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Loki View Post
It's just one thing to say "I like this recognized bad game," rather than "this game is actually great but I'm the only one who knows it," Rya.

I think everyone has a few games they love that the rest of the world despises. Personally, I'm quite fond of Shadow Madness, and I know there are several people on this forum that will even go to bat for Legend of Dragoon!

Let's just not put ourselves on a pedestal for it.
Aw, yeah, Shadow Madness. The game that was horribly balanced, but had some really well-told story and dialogue. Also, Harv-5.

(And "ha ha" on Legend of Dragoon. That's the best FF on the system that isn't FF, and I'm not even kidding.)

Somewhat more on subject, I've got the GBA remake of Shining Force, and it's not something I'd observed because of the gap between when I played it, but were there any AI changes that occurred in it versus the original release? I know there's a little extra content tacked on as well, and the graphics were redone, but beyond that, I'm curious as to if they messed with some of the character balance and difficulty and whatnot. (It's something I should know, but I guess I just wasn't paying attention!)

I'm also still a little curious as to how well Arc the Lad II stacks up, if anyone has actually played through it. It definitely feels closer to SFII than SFI to me, and I also know it gets pretty difficult in the end, with the last boss being really tough to beat unless you snag the Invincible spell, which can be missed. I know, 'cause I did.
Reply With Quote
  #41  
Old 04-14-2014, 04:26 PM
dosboot's Avatar
dosboot dosboot is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,420
Default

There are AI and character stat changes in the GBA remake, but I don't know firsthand how it differs.
Reply With Quote
  #42  
Old 04-14-2014, 04:31 PM
WisteriaHysteria's Avatar
WisteriaHysteria WisteriaHysteria is online now
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 8,150
Default

I really miss Arc the Lad 1&2. That game did a great job of being an srpg with a faster pace/better story than most.
Reply With Quote
  #43  
Old 04-14-2014, 04:42 PM
Paul le Fou's Avatar
Paul le Fou Paul le Fou is offline
We just don't know.
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Seattle
Posts: 19,718
Default

Shining Force was my first RPG, the first game that really sucked me in to the whole storytelling via games thing, my first exposure to Anime and the Anime aesthetic, and possibly the first game where I was basically with it enough to plan and strategize and really engage with it instead of just going pew pew pew. I'm not saying it was for the better, but it was probably the single biggest formative game experience I had as a youth; Shining Force actually changed the course of my life. How odd.

I haven't played it since! I never played through SF2, I tried renting it and couldn't get into it from the beginning. I went back and emulated it in college and made it through to the end; I liked it a lot more, but it never grabbed that place in my heart that Shining Force did.
Reply With Quote
  #44  
Old 04-14-2014, 04:43 PM
Galadrome's Avatar
Galadrome Galadrome is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: The Capital of Canada
Posts: 2,699
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarge View Post
Legend of Dragoon
VOLCANO

The amount of nostalgia I have for Legend of Dragoon is ridiculous. I've watched my older brother beat it multiple times.

To actually add to the SRPG discussion I really like Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together (PSP) but it's class system is kind of flawed. It's plot, art and music are exceptionally good but almost all of it's systems could be better.
Reply With Quote
  #45  
Old 04-14-2014, 05:34 PM
Kazin's Avatar
Kazin Kazin is online now
Brain Genius
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Pronouns: he/him
Posts: 6,947
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul le Fou View Post
Shining Force was my first RPG, the first game that really sucked me in to the whole storytelling via games thing, my first exposure to Anime and the Anime aesthetic, and possibly the first game where I was basically with it enough to plan and strategize and really engage with it instead of just going pew pew pew. I'm not saying it was for the better, but it was probably the single biggest formative game experience I had as a youth; Shining Force actually changed the course of my life. How odd.

I haven't played it since! I never played through SF2, I tried renting it and couldn't get into it from the beginning. I went back and emulated it in college and made it through to the end; I liked it a lot more, but it never grabbed that place in my heart that Shining Force did.
Switch the games around and that's pretty much my exact experience, oddly enough, though I've never beaten SF1.

As to "more isn't better, it's just more," I see where you're coming from, Phantoon, but I wouldn't say it's mindless, just further testing your strategy. Refining your skills, is how I'd put it, I suppose.
Reply With Quote
  #46  
Old 04-14-2014, 05:55 PM
Regulus's Avatar
Regulus Regulus is online now
Boom
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 5,607
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Galadrome View Post
It's plot, art and music are exceptionally good but almost all of it's systems could be better.
The funny part is that the exact same thing is true of the original. Rather than fix the original's problems, they opted to basically overhaul the entire thing. I mean, it alleviated some of the mechanical issues that the original had, but introduced just as many new problems.
Reply With Quote
  #47  
Old 04-14-2014, 11:10 PM
Rya Rya is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 3,020
Default

I do agree that SF2 didn't have more grinding than SF1.

In SF1 I had to grind on the circus battle and then again on the laser eye battle (because of character promotion making them alot weaker in SF1). After promotion SF1 however got REALLY easy, because of your insane stat gains while enemies don't get much stronger anymore and can be happy if they can damage your for more than 1 HP without magic.

In SF2 I only really had to grind on the chess battle and the final battle. SF2 is much harder towards the end though because enemies gain ridiculous amount of attack power so they pretty much always damage your for 60-80% of HP meaning none of your characters (except maybe hero and monk class) can take more than 1 hit. But you really don't need to grind because it won't even make much of a difference whether you take 60% or 80% damage, you'll still be down in 2 hits.

I disagree that the art in SF2 is much better though. Sure the quality is higher but I think it also feels a bit more generic. SF1 feels more unique. It's like with RPG Maker - the default graphic set might look better than if someone drew the graphics himself but you still value the individual graphics more.

Regarding Arc The Lad - I played through Arc The Lad 1 and I kind of liked that one too but the battle layout was REALLY BORING. Often it was just one monster type spread around the map rather than a mix of many different ones, so it often lacking the need of strategy and was just pure force.
Arc The Lad 2 is a completely different game I wouldn't even compare to SF. The battles are frequent and super small scale so that it feels more like a normal RPG with an interesting battle system rather than an SRPG. I never finished that game (I got tired of it in that boring forest / sewer combination section of the game).

Well I guess we CAN compare it to SF because actually in Arc The Lad the same happened as in Shining Force. First part is super unique and unpredictable, second part is super big but has several aspects made less interesting.
Reply With Quote
  #48  
Old 04-15-2014, 12:37 AM
Phantoon's Avatar
Phantoon Phantoon is offline
I Cuss You Bad
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Albion
Posts: 5,043
Default

Resurrection of the Dark Dragon messes with the high level spells. Blaze 3 was low damage multi target and 4 was high damage single target and they swapped them round. They added optional objectives to each battle (with rewards for success). More battles going into King Ramladu's backstory, and three new characters who are different from the original cast. For instance, Zuika is a fighter whose attack power increases as he gets hurt. The lower his HP the more powerful he is. It's pretty good.
Reply With Quote
  #49  
Old 04-15-2014, 05:10 AM
Bunk Moreland's Avatar
Bunk Moreland Bunk Moreland is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: USA (for now)
Posts: 8,479
Default

I felt like Shining Force 2 was more grindy because, well... every time I got to the point in the game where I COULD promote, I'd get my team immediately destroyed after, and have to grind some levels for them right away. And then the best strategy I found/was told about was "grind up to about level 40 as your first class, then promote."

Shining Force was similar, except cut those level totals in half (10 to promote, 20 as the max before promoting) and it's still balanced so you can actually stick with starting classes up to level 20 and not die, OR promote at level 10ish and not die.
Reply With Quote
  #50  
Old 04-15-2014, 07:33 AM
Kazin's Avatar
Kazin Kazin is online now
Brain Genius
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Pronouns: he/him
Posts: 6,947
Default

I have beaten Shining Force II countless times, and I have never grinded my guys up to 40 before or after promotion. It is needlessly tedious.

Anyway, I just picked up Resurrection of the Dark Dragon again a few weeks ago. Maybe I should pick that up again, I never beat it...
Reply With Quote
  #51  
Old 04-15-2014, 08:46 AM
Mightyblue's Avatar
Mightyblue Mightyblue is offline
Are You Sure About That?
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: I am a Mountain Man, in a mountain land
Pronouns: He/Him/His
Posts: 23,364
Default

Yeah, SF II is balanced around promoting at 20. You do get more straight benefits out of promoting later because of how level ups work, but you only need to go past 20 if you're playing on one of the harder difficulties (which you probably should if it isn't your first time through).

Promotion in SF I works a bit oddly, because your stat values post-promotion are determined by your pre-promote class average scores and you get a bonus or penalty depending on how close you are to those average values. That said, promoting at 20 instead of 10 will always result in stronger characters, as the EXP curves reset at promotion anyway.
Reply With Quote
  #52  
Old 04-15-2014, 10:13 AM
The Keith's Avatar
The Keith The Keith is offline
I'm right. Just ask me!
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Erie, Colorado
Posts: 613
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantoon View Post
The one I do remember is the fight with Talos where only one weapon will damage him, and for no particular reason only the hero can wield it. If your strategy has been keeping the hero out of trouble, being an insta-win for the baddies if he's killed and he's under levelled I'm guessing you're kinda fucked.
My first thought was "why would you protect your hero? That way lays madness."

Then I remembered that the first time I played SF2, I did EXACTLY that, and basically got myself stuck half way through because I couldn't upgrade him. I had to start over from the beginning.

SF2 was the first game of that type that I played though, so I didn't get it. So when I started over, I was much better prepared for how the game plays, and by the time I got to the final battle, I had a wonderful party. In the end I LOVED the game.

I never did get around to playing SF1 though. I had a Saturn and got the single episode of III that was released. I've played, but never beaten it, a couple iterations of FFT, Ogre Battle, Arc the Lad 1 and 2, etc... Actually I beat Arc 1, and then in Arc 2 I got to the point where you could only use the girl and her animals, and somehow I hadn't been able to get her to be very strong, so I was stuck.

In the end, I guess I'm not much of an SRPGer. But there IS one that I loved to death.

Anyone play Dragon Force on the Saturn? That game was magical.
Reply With Quote
  #53  
Old 04-15-2014, 12:52 PM
breakman's Avatar
breakman breakman is offline
do-do-doo do-doo
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 3,239
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarge View Post
Somewhat more on subject, I've got the GBA remake of Shining Force, and it's not something I'd observed because of the gap between when I played it, but were there any AI changes that occurred in it versus the original release? I know there's a little extra content tacked on as well, and the graphics were redone, but beyond that, I'm curious as to if they messed with some of the character balance and difficulty and whatnot. (It's something I should know, but I guess I just wasn't paying attention!)
I never played all the way through the original, but I believe the remake is supposed to be easier, though perhaps just because of the extra characters. However, you can replay the game, and the difficulty increases each time. The second playthrough actually ends up being a bit easier though, because you get the three extra characters much earlier, and one of them in particular (I think his name was Mawlock) uses cards you collect throughout the game to activate various powers, and those cards carry over between playthroughs.

Also, Zuika's special ability in that game is pretty crazy. IIRC, in his promoted form, whenever he's below 50% HP, his Attack power, movement range, and attack range all double. And since there are spells to temporarily increase all of those stats, well...
Reply With Quote
  #54  
Old 04-15-2014, 12:58 PM
Sarge's Avatar
Sarge Sarge is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 4,341
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by breakman View Post
I never played all the way through the original, but I believe the remake is supposed to be easier, though perhaps just because of the extra characters. However, you can replay the game, and the difficulty increases each time. The second playthrough actually ends up being a bit easier though, because you get the three extra characters much earlier, and one of them in particular (I think his name was Mawlock) uses cards you collect throughout the game to activate various powers, and those cards carry over between playthroughs.

Also, Zuika's special ability in that game is pretty crazy. IIRC, in his promoted form, whenever he's below 50% HP, his Attack power, movement range, and attack range all double. And since there are spells to temporarily increase all of those stats, well...
Fascinating stuff. I didn't know about Zuika being that over-powered. That sounds completely nuts.

I don't remember how far in I went, honestly, but it clearly wasn't far enough to see him get that powerful, if I even got him.

I think I saw it mentioned earlier, but what's everyone's take on FEDA? I played quite a bit of it, and dropped it for whatever reason. Now that I've got a SD2SNES, I should start that back up... I had been playing on PSP. I know at a minimum that it's the same character designer behind it and SF. I'm not sure it ever felt quite as polished to me as SF, though.
Reply With Quote
  #55  
Old 04-16-2014, 09:16 AM
dosboot's Avatar
dosboot dosboot is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,420
Default

I wrote a thing on Shining Force.

The point I'm exploring is how Shining Force 1 concerns itself with keeping battles novel --- the topic I brought up using broad generalities earlier. This covers Battles 1-11, simply because I thought it was a sufficient chunk to get the pattern across. Patterns are best demonstrated by example and not by stating how the examples generalize into a pattern, but I didn't expect it to become such a long treatise (so sorry about that).

The battle by battle list of new ideas and changeups:

Battle 1: Ancient's Gate
------------------------
Enemies: Goblins, Dwarves, Rune Knight (boss)

Most of the details for the first battle aren't worth talking about here. But there is something I find very interesting about this first battle every time I play. It requires talking (perhaps at inordinate length) about something that happens throughout the whole game: how new enemies are gradually phased in and old ones phased out. This first battle or two is doing this at a weirdly accelerated pace.

Inflicting a finishing blow gives half of a level, and normal blows give a lot at this point too. You can easily gain 3-4 levels, especially if you egress and refight the goblins and dwarves (which you might be forced to do in a first playthrough, and which you might do for fun and profit in repeat playthroughs). If you don't egress, those levels will happen rapidly in battle 2 anyway. Goblins and Dwarves are the starter enemies. Initially Goblins are your rough equals and Dwarves are your clear betters. By *mid battle* your characters may have gotten those 3 levels of EXP and you will have grown enough for these rankings drop one notch.

I guess you could say there are two forces at work. 1. The first few levels ups arguably have bigger relative effects on your characters compared to later level ups. 2. There's an equilibrium system to EXP mechanics, with EXP gainer higher when you are equally leveled to the enemy, and especially higher when you are under leveled. Although the specific equilibrium your Force will reach could vary (depending on playstyle and random outcomes), you certainly start the game earning far above the equilibrium EXP.



Battle 2: Return to Guardiana
-----------------------------
. No new enemy types, but there are two Rune Kights this time.
. The battle starts with the Force in mountain terrain for the first time, and later you fight over forest for the first time.
. The Rune Knights are guarding a one-tile bridge together with a Dwarf. You can try to take them out at range across the river, or you can try to use your best unit with ranged backup to take out the Dwarf in one turn, which opens tiles for everyone to cross the bridge. If the player hasn't already, this situation forces them to come up with a multi character plan for how they will fight a group of units.

The game leaves you unmolested at the start, probably because they know this is where the player is beginning to learn how badly formations get jammed in rough terrain. I'm not going to describe it in detail, but character classes/races have different movement speeds in each terrain, and turn order is semi-random (influenced by speed). You want to move your wall of troops steadily upwards, and the problem happens when the "farthest up tile" (or even *all* tiles) are occupied. The real lesson is just how frequently this problem comes up when the blocking character happens to be slow in either their movement range or their turn order.



Battle 3: Path from Guardiana to Alterone
-----------------------------------------
. The bat enemy is new, and isn't just a stat increase like Goblin->Dwarf->Rune Knight. Bats fly, which makes fighting them near the river or the forest a disadvantage for you. Forests and rivers are old concepts, and this puts a new spin on them. Bats can also inflict sleep, which can't be underestimated.
. Rune Knights are basically a regular enemy now! A group of 4 Rune Knights represents the final encounter. Not to let that novelty suffice, these Knights will surprise the player by charging aggressively if you step on certain squares. (I can never help but think "Holy cow. 15 minutes ago they were bosses that would wipe anyone 1 on 1.")



Battle 4: Battle inside the town of Alterone
--------------------------------------------
. It's a battle inside the city. There's only two battles like this, both using different tilesets too.
. You have the option of splitting up your forces along two paths, or focus everyone along a single path.
. The boss is the first magic user, and he can cast Blaze 2.
. Or maybe the real bosses are the two sniper guards, who are likely to one shot any weakened character.



Battle 5: To Manarina
---------------------
. The battle starts with a pack of bats on the other side of a river and one tile bridge. Everyone who plays Shining Force at some point gets themselves into a really embarrassing situation with a character stuck on a chokepoint tile getting attacked from all sides. And the first time it happens will be in this battle. Well it might have happened in battle 2 if you crossed the bridge to the east (although there is no reason to) and got unlucky. But this is the battle where it happens for sure, and the one you might actually learn your lesson.

The layout is so much worse compared to bridges in battles 2/3, there are more flying enemies programmed much more smartly than battle 3, and the player has every reason at this point to feel like they should just charge and steamroll the easy (by now) enemies on the other side.

. The map is the only desert battle. Like mountains, this brings movement to a crawl. But the desert is long and wide. It is very tempting to leave slower characters behind. Even among equally fast characters, it is very tempting to spread out because that's more efficient than staying side by side and blocking each others potential squares. The tension here is obvious with the next gimmick.

. The map introduces the zombie enemy, a new enemy type with higher defense but weak to fire. These guys aren't just new enemies with a new gimmick, it's also another pattern break because they are introduced way too early from where you'd expect they should be based on a steady power curve. They easily have the attack power to be a boss enemy, and you have to fight 4 of them backed by mages and snipers. Sometimes I only have one unit who deals more than 1 or 2 damage to them without magic.



Battle 6: Cavern of Darkness
----------------------------
. It's a new tileset for a cave battle. It's also the first time you are tempted to divert your Force to collect treasure during battle.
. Two zombies bottle you up at the very start. You are forced into fighting for the single chokepoint tile against the boss-like enemies of the previous battle.
. The only new enemy is a skeleton boss, which is mostly just an upgraded zombie.



Battle 7: Circus Tent
---------------------
New ideas and changeups:

. Another unique tileset for inside the Tent. I would consider this a battle of smaller scale than you are used to, with basically just one small mass of enemies at front and the boss guards at the back. Adjusting the scale of battles is another way the designers keep the game varied.

. Three new enemy types: Evil Puppets, Mannequin, Dire Clowns.

. The boss is 'Marionette', by far different from all bosses thus encountered. It introduces the idea of bosses as unique types that are never repeated. The boss has "??/??" MP, which is the first time you see stats that are "off the scale". MP aside, the boss is certainly a notch above how strong bosses stats used to be relative to yours up to this point. The boss can also cast the extremely deadly Freeze 3. Seeing new spells and new spell levels is always scary, but introducing a new super boss with a new spell apparently wasn't good enough. They skipped showing the player Freeze 2 and went straight to the scariest spell in the whole game.



Battle 8: Shade Abbey Chapel
----------------------------
. Battle inside the church. This is a semi-unique battle setup where it is laid out as an ambush. You are surrounded by 3 sides by undead enemies, and while there will be distinct phases to the battle there aren't distinct waves of enemies strewn across the map that you fight each in turn.
. Event at this point, the now "basic" zombie enemies aren't goblin pushovers, and Skeletons are still your betters. The game really plays up the ambush idea by making you use every advantage at your disposal to win, especially sealing up your weaker characters from harms way. Probably the battle more than any other for a long while that requires you to be prepared for lots of healing (and removing poison.)
. New enemy type is the ghoul boss. Technically a unique enemy, but only remembered as an upgraded zombie that can cast sleep.



Battle 9: Bustoke's Quarry
--------------------------
. Again, a new quarry tileset. Skeletons are now regular enemies, and there are three new enemies: Dark Priests, upgraded Archers and a Lizardman.
. This is the first battle you are permitted to use flying members on your Force. The map is designed so it is all about cliffs which protect Dark Elf archers and create choke points on the stairs. Of course, your flying characters treat cliffs like empty tiles.



Battle 10: Bustoke Outskirts to the Bridge
------------------------------------------
. First battle where you travel over forested terrain the whole way. If Battles 7 and 8 were the designers intentionally crafting smaller battles, this is where they craft a long map with more delocalized fighting.
. New enemy: Pegasus Knights. These flying guys are obviously well suited to a rough terrain map, as are your newest members of the Force.



Battle 11: Laser Eye Bridge
---------------------------
. Just one new enemy: Silver Knight, an upgraded Rune Knight.
. The battle is about a unique gimmick centred on the boss, the stationary Laser Eye Weapon. The boss advertises that he is on a countdown that decreases each turn it takes. When the countdown reaches 0 he fires a mortal laser attack against all units (friend or foe) on the bridge with it.

Last edited by dosboot; 04-16-2014 at 09:36 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #56  
Old 04-17-2014, 08:59 AM
Kazin's Avatar
Kazin Kazin is online now
Brain Genius
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Pronouns: he/him
Posts: 6,947
Default

Ok, so because of this thread and the effusive praise people are heaping on the first game here, I started a new game in the GBA remake of Shining Force 1.

First things first - I really enjoy the secondary goals the game gives you for each battle, where you get items/gold for beating a map in a certain amount of time. It hasn't been a totally huge deal yet, although some of my dudes have good weapons a battle or two before they're usually available. It also sets a baseline for where the game thinks players should be in terms of amount of turns it takes to finish a battle. So all in all, I love this feature.

There are a few things that are annoying me already, though. This game accumulates characters fast. Like I'm at 11 characters at the Cavern of Darkness, the 6th battle in the game according to dosboot's post there (I think I missed the little squirrel guy or whatever he is. Yogurt, I think?). So I have a lot of dudes, but they start out way underleveled. Khris, a healer, is a pain to level, since he doesn't do much damage obviously, and is the last character on the map to act in any given turn since he's so slow. The battle I'm on now is a good one to level, though, since there are two zombies like two steps from the party right at the beginning.

As for the AI - and I'm hoping this changes as I get further in the game - I really hate how everything sits there, and doesn't move until I'm within their attack range. It's exacerbated because (and I think this is a GBA thing, not present on the Genesis) the computer takes FOREVER to move between enemies' turns. The cursor will settle on an enemy, it will sit there for like two seconds, the enemy won't move or act, and then it will move on. SF2 has enemies that sit around forever and that's annoying, too, but I feel like they'll move more quickly.

The jury is out for me so far on level ups. There was a random element to SF2, but not this random. Some of my guys will level up and will get nothing but 1 HP. There's no way I'm restarting a battle because of that, but that like, doesn't even count as a level up in my mind. That sucks.

Otherwise, though, the game has been pretty fun, and does start out a little harder than SF2. When the enemies do deign to move and attack you, most of them pack a wallop. I like the stories the party members tell you at home base that happens as you get further in the game. The interface is pretty intuitive, no complaints there. The jingle that plays when a character levels up is hella satisfying.

Good stuff.
Reply With Quote
  #57  
Old 04-17-2014, 09:51 AM
Phantoon's Avatar
Phantoon Phantoon is offline
I Cuss You Bad
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Albion
Posts: 5,043
Default

You can save on a map during a battle so you can savescum level ups if you're that way inclined.

Great writeup, dosboot. Makes me want to play it again, now.
Reply With Quote
  #58  
Old 04-17-2014, 09:57 AM
Kazin's Avatar
Kazin Kazin is online now
Brain Genius
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Pronouns: he/him
Posts: 6,947
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantoon View Post
You can save on a map during a battle so you can savescum level ups if you're that way inclined.
Oh, I thought the save got deleted every time you open it up? If that's the case, then when I'm leveling guys up (like I am at this point with Khris and Anri), I'll savescum. Still annoying, though. /bitching

Thanks!
Reply With Quote
  #59  
Old 04-17-2014, 09:59 AM
Rya Rya is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 3,020
Default

Quote:
There are a few things that are annoying me already, though. This game accumulates characters fast. Like I'm at 11 characters at the Cavern of Darkness, the 6th battle in the game according to dosboot's post there (I think I missed the little squirrel guy or whatever he is. Yogurt, I think?). So I have a lot of dudes, but they start out way underleveled. Khris, a healer, is a pain to level, since he doesn't do much damage obviously, and is the last character on the map to act in any given turn since he's so slow. The battle I'm on now is a good one to level, though, since there are two zombies like two steps from the party right at the beginning.
You can only take 12 characters to battle so you really don't need to level all.
Healers seem to be hard to level at first, but Shining Force does something very good - you get exp from healing.
Also at the beginning of chapter 2 you can buy a really strong weapon for healers that allows them to deal more damage than even your fighters. If you want to boost their exp you can use that part in the game to level them up.
Yogurt doesn't join until later, but you need to see him in the chapters before twice.

Yogurt is just a joke character anyway (all stats at 1), but I have a long history with him because I used a action replay 2 to get unlimited stat increasing items on him and then gave him similar stats as the Tortoise guy from SF2 at the same imaginary level. You could say this was the first character growth I've developed as game designer. It worked pretty cool because Yogurt actually takes half damage from magic so his low HP wasn't a too big hindrance (unlike for the Tortoise guy in SF2 who becomes useless later on).

Today I've developed hundreds of character growth systems (some even for some indie developers) and written hundreds of excel spreadsheets with character stats for each level just for fun. I love this~

Quote:
As for the AI - and I'm hoping this changes as I get further in the game - I really hate how everything sits there, and doesn't move until I'm within their attack range. It's exacerbated because (and I think this is a GBA thing, not present on the Genesis) the computer takes FOREVER to move between enemies' turns. The cursor will settle on an enemy, it will sit there for like two seconds, the enemy won't move or act, and then it will move on. SF2 has enemies that sit around forever and that's annoying, too, but I feel like they'll move more quickly.
Monsters won't move in SF1 once they reached their final formation or you come close to them. I think it makes the AI better than in SF2, though.
I explained it at the beginning already. In SF2 all the monsters have the same AI, if they can't reach you they will move 2 tiles towards you. In SF1 however each monster (I think except flying ones?) has assigned a target tile and they will move towards it as fast as possible and then stay there until enemies come in reach. It feels a lot more individual than in SF2. There is actually a lot moving around in SF1 - for example the rune knight in the first fight will move to the back and the dwarves will move in a position to guard him. All the goblins also will stand on different tiles they start on. In the second battles again the rune knights will retreat behind the bridge. And so on.

Quote:
The jury is out for me so far on level ups. There was a random element to SF2, but not this random. Some of my guys will level up and will get nothing but 1 HP. There's no way I'm restarting a battle because of that, but that like, doesn't even count as a level up in my mind. That sucks.
As explained by dosboot (I think?), the character growth in SF1 is fixed for each character at each level. The random factor applied will only be for your current level and will have NO effect on future levels. Basically think of it like this: On level 2 you can get 13 or 14 HP. On level 3 you can get 14 or 15 HP, so the possible growths are:
12->13->14
12->13->15
12->14->14
12->14->15
So no matter what you got at level 2, you will always end up with 14 or 15 HP at level 3. And if you had 14 HP at level 2 you might not gain any when reaching level 3.
(I hope I understood that correctly, but that's also what I experienced in the game.)

Also the growth is VERY different for each hero. Some don't gain any stats early on, but more later, some start strong but are just average later on. Every single character is different. Some even get surprising abilities (like that one knight who suddenly learns magic).

Which also brings me to characters starting on low levels - for some there is I guess what you can say risk and reward. Some start really weak but are very useful when you level them up, but you might as well just ignore them. As you get many character and only can take 12 you can just always take those you think are best and you will still be able to finish the game easily, so don't worry too much about it.
Reply With Quote
  #60  
Old 04-17-2014, 02:26 PM
Kazin's Avatar
Kazin Kazin is online now
Brain Genius
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Pronouns: he/him
Posts: 6,947
Default

Yeah, I know healers gain experience for healing, but they need someone to heal to get it, and if it's like SF2, the experience received changes based on how many hit points they heal. And generally, that's around 10 experience per heal, meaning they need to heal ten times to gain a level (or kill a guy, which can be tough since they generally don't do much damage).

Don't worry though - I'm gonna level them. I know I don't need to level everyone, and I probably won't, but since I've never beat the game before, I'm not sure who is good, average, or not worth leveling at all. That's why I'm trying to get everyone up to par because some of them might end up sucking.

It'd probably be easy to tell who might be worth leveling if the stat increases were somewhat consistent from the early levels to the later ones...!

Honestly though, most of this stuff is nitpicking. I'm enjoying the game quite a bit so far, and hopefully I beat it this time. It is making it painfully obvious how much I'd like another Shining Force game proper, though.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
shining force , zylo'd

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:30 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Your posts İyou, 2007