Shining Hearts, the first game of Shining series from SEGA I played, also the first PSP RPG game I played. Released back at the end of 2010, the quality of the game, judging from the details released at the official website and over populated “illustrated by Tony Taka”, is just awesome and there could be tens of thousands of reason that I will need to give it a shot. So I did.
Hands on and it works like a charm. The opening video offers a good quality as a Kyoto Anime (and maybe we can anticipate one in the future like Shining Tears X Wind) does and the first impression is worth the waiting. Continue to the story and you will have to choose from three heroines. Of course, Neris (ネリス) is my favorite though they have the same CV’s back: Kanae Itou (伊藤 かな恵). Not a very popular voicer in my opinion but I love her voice a lot, especially in the game. The story starts and the flow is fine in total.
To clear the game, I used about 40 hours. Probably a reasonable time for a RPG of this time. I used to spent around 60 hours to clear the PS2 RPG Grandia III and it is still my favorite RPG game of all, and around 100 hours for Final Fantasy XII. Back to the Shining Heats game on the Portable device, it has a great quality in terms of all the illustrations and a great battle system in my opinion.
To point out, the Pan system is unique and the official website has already promote it a lot. In the game, you can collect different materials and make Pan for any characters in order to please them or help them out. In this way you collect different sorts of Hearts and these Hearts will be helpful if you want to use Skills in the battle system.
So much for the battle system and I did enjoy the game in this way a lot and it didn’t make me bore. But the enemy is so weak that you don’t even need to clear all the dungeons in order to level up. Even though the battle system is great but the boring enemy makes the fight meaningless.
One thing I have to point out is the story itself is way below my expectation. In other words, I would totally recommend the writer to consider rewrite the story since it’s just way too common (and nothing to expect) and I really can foreseen what will happen in the next story (guess that what I feel when I was watching the Shining Tears X Wind Anime).
And about the character. If you have checked the official website you will find there are not many characters in the game, but half of them could join you during the battle. But I only spent 40 hours on it. What does this mean? There are so many characters there in terms of the game hour and you can only see them from time to time. Apart from Rick and Neris, you can only ask two more partner to join you during the battle.
However, each character has their own stories. In order to have more fun, the game also offers different stories to other characters and you can finish all the submission of each characters. Though these tasks have no direct connection to the main plot of the game, it does give us a chance to interact more with your favorite characters. It also occurred to me that there are some plots been hidden, say how Queen (クイーン) became a friend of Kaguya (カグヤ) and helped her to escape (ok, I expect an Anime). And would very much appreciated that Misty (ミストラル) can join the party.
And about something very disappointed to me, is some most popular characters cannot join your party and only showed up in those submission. For instance, Hayane (ハヤネ), the silver-color hair girl, only shows up during the submission of Rouna and if you have never tried to accomplish one task, you will never see her face if you see her a lot on the official website or other printed magazine. The similar applies to Maxima (マキシマ), the girl with black hair and has a Katana in her hand. Will, I never see her actually fight (even though she appears from time to time) and guess the Katana is just a decoration and will sure to have all kinds of excuse to buy her figure :). And at the final stage of the game, she reveals who she is and this makes me pale. It’s a really strange and I have to say, please give me another scenario I think I read this before back in 1990.
There are few soundtracks in the series but are very good to me. You can get the Soundtrack from the PSP Game package (only?). And among all the good points of the series, the CVs’ hard work were greatly appreciated. We can see all the familiar names in the staff list and it’s a enjoyment to ears. And again, Neris’ voice feels like an angel to me.
Finally the series offer different endings and of course I picked Neris’ one. That’s the detail parts and for the rest you will have to play the game to find out.
I will say, despite all the pain and suffers above, it is still a good game but never expect it to be outstanding. And my rating for it will be 7 out of 10. The series is great if you don’t look at the story itself and guess it could lie in the reason that the illustration and game system are so great that we have over expected the story to be at the same level. And my wish is, to make the series an Anime and it will be awesome.