Shining Force EXA - first look

Sega has graced our presence by offering a first look at Shining Force EXA. What a long way we have come, oh Shining Force. Starting off as a turn based strategy in 1992, our newest edition of this long running franchise is now an "Action RPG."

Our story begins with a nation torn in war. Two fighting clans have made the world not our favorite place to be. We have a small team of adventurers searching for a magical sword, called the Shining Force. The myth surrounding this sword is that in dark times, a chosen individual will draw the sword from its resting place. This hero will end the turmoil and bring peace (has a King Arthur type of ring to it, doesn't it?).

Visuals are bright and colorful. Pulling from anime style influences, the scenery and characters are half cell-shaded, half cartoon. If you are familiar with Rogue Galaxy or Dragon Quest VIII 's visuals, you'll feel right at home. Most of the story is revealed through anime cut scenes and voice-over dialog between static images of the characters.

As you start the game, you are introduced to Toma, one of two playable characters in the game. Toma is a young, brash, sword wielding hero to be. He battles with either one or two handed swords. Our second character is Cyrille, a slightly depressed but logical character. She is our magic/crossbow user in the game. During each portion of the game, you are given a choice of whether to play either character. So in a mission, if you feel like a bit of hack and slash, or either a lil magic, the choice is yours.