August 4th, 2010, 21:26 Posted By: Shrygue
If you've been dreaming about a new Shining Force in the vein of the classic strategy games of old, keep dreaming! There's a new Shining game on the way for PSP, but it's more along the lines of Shining Wind and Shining Tears, with characters from Tony, the same designer who worked on those games.
Shining Hearts is a traditional 2D overhead RPG with menu-based battles, but it also has romance and lifestyle elements. You play as Rick, a young warrior who works in a bakery on Wyndaria Island. Throughout the course of the game, you'll form a relationship with one of the three girls who work alongside you at at the bakery, while engaging in battle out at sea and taking on quests from your fellow islanders.
Wyndaria is usually a peaceful place. This changes with the appearance of a mysterious girl named Kaguya, who arrives on the island one morning following a great storm. Kaguya has lost her memory and her heart, and pirates are after the spirit stone she wears on her neck. You'll need to help Kaguya restore her heart while protecting her and the island from pirates.
To help Kaguya restore her heart, you'll need to collect "Hearts." These can be obtained by taking on quests across the island. As you give your hearts to Kaguya, her spirit stone will release "heart keys," which can be used to open up new areas of the world.
To protect the island and Kaguya, you'll need to engage in battle with the pirates on land and sea. The game's combat system is command-based, with the action switching from the adventure component's overhead view to a side view. Visually, it looks a bit like the Tales series, although when you perform special attacks, you'll be treated with Super Robot Wars-style character cut-ins. The relationship component of the game plays a part here, as your three party members will see their favor for you change depending on your performance.
Sea-based play looks like a major part of the Shining Hearts experience. Your base of operations is a ship which you'll be expanding throughout the game. As you collect those heart keys from Kaguya, you'll be able to head off to new islands via your ship.
Outside of combat and questing, you can take part in a variety of activities on the island. Activities include fishing and collecting crops (which you won't have to actually plant) and other items for use in baking bread and forging new weapons.
All this could make for an enjoyable JPRG experience on PSP when Shining Hearts hits Japan this Winter. But we won't blame you if you still find yourself wanting a strategy-based Shining Force game from Sega. Maybe next time?
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