Shining Force III - Preview

Shining Force III continues the fine tradition of the Shining Force series

By an RPGamer Writer

Fully polygonal environments

   Shining Force is one of Sega's top franchises, and Camelot's latest installment drags it kicking and screaming into the third dimension with incredible results. The landscape and environments are completely 3D and can be freely rotated. You can see every side of a building, town, or dungeon - they have a "solidity" to them that bitmaps lack. Battlegrounds, too, have entered the third dimension, and the variable terrain adds a new level of strategy to each fight.

Battles are also polygonal

   Battles are closer to those of Vandal Hearts or Final Fantasy Tactics than the traditional RPG system. Fights take place on grid-based terrain, and position joins strength and speed as defining battle characteristics. At its heart, however, Shining Force III remains true to previous series installments.

   One feature American gamers will not get to experience, sadly, is the "Synchronicity Modes." Shining Force III is the first of three Shining Force games for the Saturn - perhaps it should be called "Shining Force III, Part I." Events in each game will influence events in the other portions. Each game, however, stands alone, and the previous games are not necessary - they are more like concurrent stories than true sequels. Regardless, Shining Force III is an extremely polished and enjoyable RPG that Saturn fans should watch for when it hits the U.S.

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