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Shining Force EXA review

A basic, by-the-numbers Action RPG that looks okay, plays okay, and makes you feel more or less okay

For

  • Colorful
  • smooth graphics
  • Easy to get into
  • Talking
  • tattooed dog

Against

  • Overly simplistic combat
  • Toma
  • It's all slightly too generic

Shining Force EXA arrives as a near-identical clone of its predecessor, Shining Force Neo. Which is to say, it's nothing like the beloved strategy RPGs that started the series back on Sega consoles. Instead, it's a smooth-moving, inoffensive Action RPG that ticks most of the boxes it needs to, but lacks the overall inspiration to make itself truly memorable. See those monsters? Can you press X? Okay, have fun!

There are several colorful side characters who accompany you in battle at times, including Maebelle, a female elf with a huge appetite and a compound bow the size of a picnic table, or Gadfort, a lance-wielding centaurian knight (a series trademark). We mention them first because they're notably more likeable than the two playable characters. One is Cyrille, a white-haired, humorless sorceress with a dragon-squirrel sidekick named Zhirra. The other is Toma, a stereotypically smart-ass teen swordsman who constantly barfs up idiotic, self-absorbed dialogue such as mentioning he's so awesome even he doesn't realize how awesome he is sometimes. Even if the spotty voice acting were actually top-notch and the average script was instead captivating, it would be tough to like Toma.

More Info

GenreRole Playing
DescriptionA basic, by-the-numbers Action RPG that looks okay, plays okay, and makes you feel more or less okay.
PlatformPS2
US censor ratingEveryone 10+
UK censor rating
Release date:20 March 2007 (US), (UK)
Available platforms:PS2
Genre:Role Playing

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I was the founding Executive Editor/Editor in Chief here at GR, charged with making sure we published great stories every day without burning down the building or getting sued. Which isn't nearly as easy as you might imagine. I don't work for GR any longer, but I still come here - why wouldn't I? It's awesome. I'm a fairly average person who has nursed an above average love of video games since I first played Pong just over 30 years ago. I entered the games journalism world as a freelancer and have since been on staff at the magazines Next Generation and PSM before coming over to GamesRadar. Outside of gaming, I also love music (especially classic metal and hard rock), my lovely wife, my pet pig Bacon, Japanese monster movies, and my dented, now dearly departed '89 Ranger pickup truck. I pray sincerely. I cheer for the Bears, Bulls, and White Sox. And behind Tyler Nagata, I am probably the GR staffer least likely to get arrested... again.
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