Shining Force: Heroes of Light and Darkness

Hive, the Japanese subsidiary of Korean company Vespa, has licensed the rights to develop Shining Force games from Sega, and announced strategy RPG Shining Force: Hikari to Yami no Eiyuu (tentative) ( Heroes of Light and Darkness ) for mobile. It will launch in the first half of 2022 worldwide as a free-to-play title with item-based in-app purchases.

I’m always a bit skeptical about new entries in this series, but the fact that this is a strategy RPG is promising. Perhaps it will be play like Fire Emblem Heroes? (a cut down version of console Fire Emblem games).

I absolutely hate these types of cash ins. Shining Force was right up there with PD as one of my favorite game series, particularly the Genesis/Sega CD entries. I would love a full console title without micro-transactions. As this announcement stands, there is no way I would every play this as I absolutely despise the mechanics of free to play mobile games. My wife loves words with friends and I installed it for a week to play her, but after a week of playing with someone I love, I couldn’t stomach the ads and mechanics anymore. I would never install a single player game that continually prompts me for money or runs ads during gameplay.

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They’re doing the same thing with Secret of Mana with a mobile game called Echoes of Mana. Same garbage. Either a gacha pay-to-win game or one full of micro-transactions.

And don’t say “well it’s free”, because now that we’re all older our time is limited and precious meaning, either we pay to win or have to stop playing at some point because we can no longer make progress in a reasonable amount of time, making the time we have available feel wasted.

I’d like to see a new console game as well, or remasters/remakes of the MegaDrive and Saturn games. Whether this mobile title will lead to something like that remains to be seen. But yes, because it’s free to play means that it will probably provide limited value to core Shining Force fans.

Some screenshots and a trailer:

The quality of the game remains to be seen, but I do like that they’re revisiting classic Shining Force characters from the Mega Drive era. Lots of nostalgia in that trailer! We’re seeing the return of the grid based gameplay of Camelot’s series, with the old battle cutscenes reimagined to look good on high pixel displays.

This could look a lot worse than it does but the big question is of course how bad the gacha aspect is going to be. And unfortunately reviving an old license like this with a mobile game may not be the smartest move. A different Korean company tried to do the same with Sakura Wars and that didn’t work out either. On the plus side, like with Sakura Wars, it’s unlikely to really damage the original IP and it’s not like Sega was interested in bringing Shining Force back anyway.

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Gacha games just ruin the entire experience imo. If the experience goes beyond being self-contained then it stops being fun. Because, you always hit a road block. And if you want to get past that road blocking your progress you either:

A. Have to waste a unreasonable amount of time which isn’t fun, or

B. Pay money to win!

I don’t come away feeling accomplished or fulfilled either. In the end I’m better off re-playing a better game in the series one that had heart and soul put into it…

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I’m hoping it will turn out to be Crimson Dragon. Not a masterpiece, but not bad and worth playing. We’ll see. It looks more like a Shining Force game than anything Sega has released in the last 20 years.

Looks quite nice, but the format and pay model has no interest for me.