Today in Sega's booth, I spied a game called Shining Force Neo tucked neatly amongst the other games on display. Being the curious sort that I am, and seeing as how I'm among those who have never played a Shining Force title, I picked up the controller and had at.
Firstly, as many people are already aware, this isn't your father's Shining Force title. The "classic" Shining Force battle system is nowhere to be found. Instead, the battle system is strictly action RPG. I began the demo with the main character, as well as a computer-controlled mage to back up my main character's melee attacks. I was quickly bombarded with wave after wave of enemy to hack to pieces. While this sort of gameplay may keep some people entertained, it's the sort of thing that would get very repetitive after a while for a lot of people.
You use spells by pressing the triangle button, and you can cycle through all the spells that are available by moving the right analog stick up and down. Alternatively, you can move the right analog stick left and right to switch between which available items you can use when pressing the square button. This interface seemed like it worked very well, and it was easy to switch between spells or items while you're in the middle of a fast-paced battle. However, there was one striking aspect of the actual controls of the game that seemed dubious: Items aren't picked up automatically by walking over them. Instead, you have to press the x button to pick up any item that you may get by killing a monster or destroying one of the destoryable objects on the map. This feature seems like a burden that is highly unecessary. It was very annoying to have to stand over an object and press a button to pick it up opposed to the tride and true method of just walking into the object to aquire it.
If you're into games where there's always action somewhere, and hoardes of monsters come at you almost non stop, then Shining Foce Neo is looking like it's for you. Of course, as mentioned earlier, it definitely does have its downsides. Unfortunately, the demo on the show floor did not feature any story sequences, so the quality of the story is still up in the air. We'll see just how good the finished product is when it's released in North America this fall.