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Shining Force 2 as a competitive 2 player game

Discussion about this classic Genesis/Mega Drive game.

Shining Force 2 as a competitive 2 player game

Postby AlexL » Wed Aug 07 2019 10:11pm

Dear all,

I've been a Shining Force enthusiast for many years now, and I've find this forum extremely useful in many occasions, but this is my first post ever, and it's about something I don't think I've seen anywhere: A run through of the game as a 2-player, splitting teams and battling each other for kills and levels.

We've been playing like that for over ten years now, and the game is surprisingly balanced for this (with some twists) and highly competitive and addictive. We play live, each person giving instructions on the moves they want to make, but I guess it wouldn't be hard to arrange remote solutions these days.

If it's something that you would find interesting, here's some of the rules we use:

- Each character is assigned at random - (we use scissors-paper-rock for the first character of each pair - it gets pretty intense).
- Same thing goes for every first boost item (most come in pairs, except the third Power Water, which again is gained by chance)
- We take turns with the rings
- We leave out some players and spells due to their unfair xp advantage, so Fraja and Karna are out, and Sheela can't use her Boost spell. But we do allow Sarah her use of herbs.
- You can change any player at any time when the new ones join in, as long as you've won them
- The promotion items are also up for grabs for everyone, except when someone happens to have all the respective players. For example, if someone has Chester and Rick, but the other one wins and wants to use Higgins, then the Pegasus Wings will be fair game)
- Oh, and we also don't include Kiwi any more

I guess I don't have to analyse to you guys the increased importance of strategy in this setting, according to the characters and items that you've won each time. Luck plays a part also (imagine the struggle of making Slade the badass he can be... without that first Power Water), but that just increases the value of strategy. Who's going to have what ring every other battle? Will you leave that dying enemy for your character that needs it the most, risking that the opponent may take it? When will the right time be for promotions? Are you going to cling onto a character hoping he will turn the tables or change him, and when? And many many other similar decisions.

As I said, for a game not designed that way, it is surprisingly balanced for this, and the fact that who character will play next isn't fixed avoids making it boring (that's why I wouldn't recommend this for SF 1).

Hope you find this interesting!
AlexL

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Re: Shining Force 2 as a competitive 2 player game

Postby Morath » Sat Aug 10 2019 10:44pm

Thanks for this post; it got me thinking. I was considering which games are competitive and multiplayer but where you do not directly damage your opponent while you do directly damage the AI. There aren't many of them. You could try Heroes of Might and Magic III by allying with your friend and negotiating who controls mines or trading artifacts et cetera while both attacking enemy AI. You could also try some tower defense games although the interaction between human teams is often less. I was looking forward to a game mode in Diablo III that was in the same category (PvPvE) but that didn't materialize, partly due to trying to appease activision blizzard shareholders on a quarterly basis as the first concern instead of making great games being the first concern.

I think such a setup (humans competing but not cruelly and cooperating some) while opposing a common enemy (often the AI) is a good setup for social gaming. I would like to play more games of this type. Probably creative imagination of rules in games with teams of characters (like Shining Force 2) or with interactions between teams built-in could be played in new and interesting ways like what you have described.

Thank you.
Morath

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