Shining Force 2 is a strategy RPG by Sega, released in North America for the Sega Genesis in 1994. It's a loyal sequel, taking the gameplay from Shining Force 1 in its entirety and polishing it. Shining Force 2 adds new magic, new job classes, and more. The pace is not as linear and gives a sense of exploration.
Sega gave Shining Force 2's development the same minimal budget as the first Shining Force. As a result, most of the Shining series development team dropped out and had to be replaced with new staff!
Shining Force 2 Tribute was a fan remake of Shining Force 2 for the Nintendo DS. The person behind this project was a Brazilian programmer, Renato Bittencourt. He added new graphics, music, and more to the original game. However, this project remains incomplete with only the opening and a first battle available in the playable demo. The project lasted from around 2008-2010; it's been abandoned since. You should check out the awesome screenshots from the demo. It's a gorgeous game! It's nice to see what could've been an amazing full game.
What's strange is that Shining Force 2 was excluded from Sega's Smash Packs released in the early 2000s (Shining Force 1 was always included). We had to wait until the late 2000s for a re-release of Shining Force 2. The full list of re-release dates is below (these are the North American dates).
I want to highlight a couple of these. Shining Force Classics is a neat bundle that includes Shining Force 1, Shining Force 2, and Shining in the Darkness. Sega Genesis Classics is a very generous collection that contains over 50 games! It has every major Genesis RPG. The emulator it uses is my favorite 'collections emulator' so far. It has rewind, fast forward, screen filters, save states, 'quick access' save states, and you can turn the background solid black (I hate it when game collections surround the screen with decorative borders).
The citizens of Granseal are hard at work. Inside the castle grounds, the centaurs concentrate on jousting and target practice while the spellcasters compare teleportation and healing spells. Granseal isn't at war, but there has been trouble with monsters on the outskirts of the kingdom, and the king has ordered troops to sweep the area and drive the creatures away.
All noticed the thunderclouds that gather above the castle. Not only is rain unusual for the season, but the storm does not look to be an ordinary one. The storm is a harbinger of coming events - events which will change Granseal and its neighboring kingdoms forever. An ancient evil has broken free and is spreading over the land of Rune, devastating all that it touches. Is there anyone, or anything, that can stop it? Start the adventure and find out!
You control your very own army across vast battlefields. The battles take place on flat terrain. Most of the time, you fight on land; other times you fight in temples or caves. Your job is to command your army to defeat the enemy army.
You start out with three soldiers, and by the end of the game you end up with nearly 30. An awesome cinematic sequence is displayed when you encounter an enemy. Your army and enemy armies are made up of knights, wizards, warriors, and archers. Not all of them are human; there are centaurs, birdmen, wolfmen, robots, and half-breeds. Each character has their strengths and weaknesses.
Your characters are able to be promoted, making them able to wield stronger weapons and have stronger attacks. Also when they are promoted, they look different and attack in different ways.
Shining Force 2 is one of my favorite games on the Genesis! Compared to Shining Force 1, Shining Force 2 definitely moves more smoothly with its polished battle system. I love the feature of special promotions with a special item. Such as having Sarah promote to a Monster Monk (instead of a boring Vicor) or having Kazin promote to a Sorcerer (instead of a regular Wizard).
I've been in the classic gaming scene for a long time. I know that, in general, Shining Force 2 is more popular than Shining Force 1. In some ways, I agree. Shining Force 2 is more 'modern'; it was put together better in a way for new-comers to enjoy the game. In that sense, Shining Force 1 is not as easy for new-comers to jump in and enjoy it, due to it 'feeling old.' However, to me, Shining Force 2 feels rushed when compared to Shining Force 1. Every battle in Shining Force 1 has a meaning that directly ties into the story. Shining Force 2 primarily consists of field-based battles that feel more like random battles than having a strong relation to the story. Shining Force 2's army consists more of humans, as opposed to Shining Force 1's army that has more variety with animal hybrids and other non-human characters.
Get ready for a challenge with Shining Force 2! It's harder than Shining Force 1. The game especially gets brutal around the middle. Even if a character has a lot of HP, they still get defeated in 1-2 hits! You'll be praying for enemies not to attack twice. And to think when you start a new game, the game offers you two more levels of higher difficult above normal.
One of my favorite new additions is the Sorcerer class. The ability to summon Gods into battle was a really good idea! And they can cause some serious damage! It's a nice change of pace to see the Jinn-like Dao crushing enemies with a quake as opposed to seeing a normal Blaze spell you've already seen a million times. My favorite character is Kiwi, the turtle character to the right because he's so cute :)
Despite its minor faults, Shining Force 2 is an incredibly fun and well-made game. I recommend it. I've beaten both Shining Force 1 and 2 so many times. The Shining Force series is a solid part of my childhood.
As I mentioned in History, I think the Sega Genesis Classics collection released in 2018 is an excellent way to experience Shining Force 2 on modern systems. Its emulator is almost as feature-rich as a fan-made emulator. The emulators offered in other official collections (i.e. Nintendo Switch Online, Collection of Mana, Castlevania Collection, etc.) offer limited features.