Shining Soul II - GBA

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Viewed: 2D Isometric, Scrolling Genre:
Adventure: Role Playing
Arcade origin:No
Developer: SEGA Soft. Co.: SEGA
Publishers: SEGA (GB)
Released: 26 Mar 2004 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 3+
Connectivity: Link Cable


With the exception of Link's Awakening and Pokemon, handheld RPGs weren't overly popular in the days of Game Boy and Game Boy Color. This was due to limited graphics making games look bland and that were often unable to keep the player's interest. But with the arrival of Advance, all that changed, and suddenly we saw remakes of classics such as Breath of Fire and Phantasy Star, as well as fresh RPGs like Golden Sun and Final Fantasy Tactics. The latest to hit Nintendo in 2004 is Sega's Shining Soul II.

In the distant past, the legendary Warriors of Light were relied upon to defeat the Forces of Darkness, ensuring a world of peace and tranquility. However, changes are slowly affecting the lands, and droughts, storms and even monsters have filled this once peaceful world with despair. But who will be charged with a quest against evil? In order to identify those capable to defeat the obstacles of evil, the King held a combat tournament... and you came out on top.

Your typical RPG then. Getting into the game proper, Shining Soul II is very much like other GBA RPGs, in that players roam a selection of 2D fantasy locales, looking items, treasure chests and the occasional battle. Environments here can be either isometric or top-down scrolling, and there's obvious inspiration from games such as Secret of Mana seen in the game's setting. So in these respects, it's bog standard.

But what's special about Shining Soul II is its multi-player option. That's right, in what is a rare thing in video games in general, Shining Soul II gifts its players with the ability to participate in the adventure with up to three other friends. You can choose from different character classes such as Mage, Acher, Monk and Wizard, and you're free to partake in battles, collect-a-thons and puzzles.

It's great to see the RPG getting a taste of multi-player gaming. Shining Soul II isn't the first handheld RPG from Sega, and it probably wont be the last.