#362 Shining Force III

Posted: 19th July 2021 by Jeroen in Games
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979th played so far

Genre: Role-Playing
Platform: Saturn
Year of Release: 1998
Developer: Camelot Software Planning
Publisher: Sega

It feels like I’ve been needing to get through a number of Saturn-only titles that never gained a port, so require quite a bit more effort on my part. I played Burning Rangers last week and I’m still staring at Panzer Dragoon Saga as another RPG I’ll play near the end. Today’s is the somewhat tactical RPG Shining Force III that I hope will get me something out of it as well. I’ve been enjoying the likes of Final Fantasy Tactics so far but, to be honest, I am a bit scared at how many of them I’ve left until the end. As they’re not quite as high up there as others, I have to hope they won’t turn me off at the final hurdle.

Our Thoughts

I have to admit that it’s rare that I see class warfare as a core part of a tactical RPG, especially one where it’s at the forefront from the first moments of the game. The central conflict, at least at this point, is one of the empire versus the republic, in a country that split itself through nobility versus middle class. It’s an interesting setting, one that I felt had some practical issues, but it felt like an interesting enough set up that I’d like to explore a lot further as it didn’t feel quite as stereotypical good guys versus bad. It’s similar to what we saw in Suikoden III on some level, but feeling even more internal. That is, of course, still undermined by a demon invasion, but I found the world building surprisingly effective. Like that game, this game also ended up with three overlapping storylines, but here they were released as three separate scenarios. Only the first was ever released outside Japan, though, so I don’t think I will ever see the full story.

Exploration is fine in the game, working as a standard RPG overworld although it’s a bit clunky to navigate – again, the Saturn’s gamepad isn’t quite suited to a 3D world. Then we get the battles, and although it got me a while to get there, it’s where it all ground to a halt. The battles are incredibly tough from the start – even with multiple attempts I couldn’t manage to clear it, and even looking at videos of people playing through it I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. The implication, from some things I saw, is that since restarting after death is easy, while you keep your gained XP and so on  when you do, the best strategy is to grind that way. I don’t think it’s meant to be needed for the first battle, but it can be done. I didn’t quite make it, and that wall became too steep for me to climb over.

Final Thoughts

The difficulty of the first battle was really off putting, and I struggle to convince myself to want to give Shining Force III another go. I actually don’t really see what the selling point of the game here is, other than its three scenario set up. That feels like it’s lost on us anyway and in the end this feels like the game is too aggravating to really keep trying.