Shining Force EXA - hands-on impressions

Tapping X swings Toma’s sword, while holding X unleashes a charged slash attack. Conversely, the same goes for Cyrille and her spell book. However, if you tap X twice for either character and then hold X for the charge attack, you can chain together quite a combo and take out a slew of enemies. One more charge attack after that unleashes a flurry of power slashes or magic that will drain your magic meter and deal much more damage. Suck on that, forces of evil.

Magic spells are mapped to the triangle button, while items are mapped to the square button. New equipment brings new spells to use - such as different offensive magic - in addition to the Power Arts system. Sometimes you’ll come upon giant, black Monoliths - straight out of 2001: A Space Odyssey - that when found will grant you a new Power Art. These Power Arts enable your character to learn much more powerful magic attacks – like fire or ice - without having to equip the necessary equipment.

Early on, you’ll be tasked with roaming dungeons or villages for rare metals to power your fortress back to its full potential or, in game speak: You’ll slowly be introduced to the game’s mechanics. During the middle of certain quests, the action will break – almost jarringly so – and you’ll be tasked with protecting your Geo-Fortress from invading forces. Remember what we said about keeping both characters leveled up? Whoever’s left behind will be forced into Defensive battles. Each Defensive battle has a different objective, such as destroying the boss or simply vanquishing all monsters. If you fail to protect your miniature kingdom, it’s automatic game over for ya.

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