E3: Shining Force Neo Hands-On

We go hands-on with the latest, long-awaited installment in Sega's Shining Force series.

While Shining Force Neo the game is being billed as an action-RPG the demo we played felt a lot more like a fast-paced action game with some minor RPG elements sprinkled in.

The game features a character-driven storyline and new gameplay elements that will supposedly take the series in a "bold new direction". From what we played of the E3 demo the game appears to be shaping up quite nicely and is really easy to pick up and play thanks to its real-time combat system and fast-paced action. The E3 demo started us off with a single AI-controlled member in our group and a bunch of goons wasting no time in attacking us at the game's outset.

Like Phantasy Star Universe's Ethan Waber, your character wields a sword that's noticeably bigger than he is and thanks to the game's cool real-time combat system will have plenty of opportunities to flex those muscles, as you work your way through the game's colorful environments, hacking, slashing as well as performing cool-looking spell attacks on a variety of enemy types you'll encounter throughout the game with defeated enemies dropping items that you'll be able to collect along the way.

The action in Shining Force Neo moved at a pretty brisk pace with plenty of on-screen activity and not a hint of slowdown to be found. What we experienced on the show floor was a lot of fun while it lasted as the game controlled really well sporting a convenient control setup that allows players to easily map some of the gameplay functions to different buttons so that accessing and navigating the gameplay interface in real-time is as painless as can be.

Graphically, Shining Force Neo offers a very pleasing aesthetic design with colorful, vibrant backgrounds and cool anime styled character designs, as well as cutscenes done by the animation crew behind the pleasing visual style of anime classics like Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke!

Other Shining Force Neo features include deeper character customization options which will allow players to turn their character into a mighty warrior or a powerful socererer. Players will also be able to utilize Force Arts, which will consist of more than 150 stat improving items that can be equipped in order to further specialize their character.

Players will also be able to have up to three AI-controlled party members in their crew to aid them during battles and each member of your group will be able to increase their levels and gain additional abilities. On top of all that players can expect to clock in close to 35 hours during their first playthrough of Shining Force NEO with an advanced dungeon becoming unlocked after defeating the final boss.

Shining Force Neo ships in the US this Fall, keep it here for further updates.

Joseph Jackson
Executive Editor, Kikizo Games

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