In 1987, Sega began localizing its games for the Japanese market and released Shining Force in Japan. After 30 years of staying locked away from Western gamers, the series’ three most recent titles are finally coming to English speaking territories!
The “shining force mobile game” is a series of games that were released in Japan only. The 30th anniversary of the series is as good a time as any to release these games worldwide.
Today marks the 30th anniversary of Sega’s iconic turn-based strategic RPG. To commemorate the occasion, we believe Sega should take advantage of the tactical RPG revival, which is being led by Square Enix’s brilliant Triangle Strategy, and do the right thing by releasing everything in the series that is presently only available in Japan internationally. Shining Force is a genre classic and a long-running Sega brand, but there are a slew of other entries in the series, including a handful of crucial sequels, that were never released outside of Japan.
Your humble writer is older than Shining Force. I have no shame in confessing that before the Genesis classic was available on Wii Virtual Console, I had never played it. Since playing Fire Emblem on the Game Boy Advance, I’ve been a fan of turn-based strategy RPGs, but few have stayed with me as much as Shining Force.
Sega provided this image.
One of the first digital games I purchased with my own money was Shining Force. The mix of Fire Emblem-style fights and Final Fantasy-style exploration had me hooked. Shining Force was the first game I had played that combined conventional JRPG aspects with tactical fights. It astounded me.
The fights are when Shining Force, ahem, shines brightest. Unlike many of its competitors, it does not have a player turn and an opponent turn. Instead, turn order is determined by the agility stat of each unit and, on sometimes, random selection. It’s unusual, yet it distinguishes the game as distinct in a crowded genre.
The excellent music, stunning sprite graphics, and fascinating cast of characters all linger with you long after you’ve defeated Kane and Dark Dragon. Shining Force depicts a narrative you’ve undoubtedly seen before, but it does it in a charming way. With robots, birdmen, dragons, and anything else you can conceive of joining your armies, the characters are plucked from the darkest of deep imagination. Gong the monk, Guntz the armadillo steam knight, and Zylo the wolf are characters I’ll never forget.
Sega provided this image.
It’s a pity that so many of the series’ subsequent installments were never released outside of the United States. There are a total of eight Shining titles that were never released outside of Japan. This covers direct sequels, as well as all three PSP games in the series. There are four games in particular that are conspicuously lacking from this list. They’re all called Shining Force and feature more classic turn-based gameplay.
Shining Force Feather is the most unique of the four, yet it is no less worthy of international distribution. The DS game was a bit different and looked fantastic. Shining Force Feather, unlike its predecessors, let you to freely move your characters around a mobility stat-limited circle, with combination attacks, smooth anime graphics, and real-time combat that looked like something from the Project X Zone series (which featured playable Shining Force EXA characters).
I had just finished playing the first Shining Force and its sequel on the Wii when Shining Force Feather was revealed. More was required. I’d been wanting to play the game for years, and I’d been tempted to check out an English fan translation, but none had been completed correctly. I’m still hoping for an official release, but DS game conversions and remakes are hard to come by.
Shining Wiki provided this image.
Another important component of the picture is Shining Force Gaiden: Final Conflict. A fan-made patch is available, like with other games in the series, but we’re talking about official releases here. Shining Force Gaiden and its sequel are not followed in Final Conflict. It takes place between Shining Force and Shining Force II, and it follows a fresh troop of soldiers on a mission to find Shining Force’s protagonist Max. Given that the previous two Game Gear games were released in the United States, it’s puzzling that the third portable game was not.
The most heinous of all the crimes is that Shining Force III is still incomplete outside of Japan. Only Scenario 1 was published in the west, out of three sections for the Sega Saturn. We’ll never know what happened to Medion, Synbios, and the other characters since official English translations of Scenarios 2 and 3 were never released. What we’d do if we wanted the whole set to be available on any platform. As long as it occurs, an HD version a la Square Enix’s Chrono Cross would suffice.
Shining Force is a tactical RPG classic, and it’s a pity that eight of the series’ games were never released outside of Japan. While fan-made English translation patches exist for a lot of the missing titles, they aren’t the same as having a physical or digital copy of the original release. Get on board the tactical RPG revival wagon, Sega, and give us what we want.
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