Shining Force for the PS2 renamed, dated

Sega's Shining Force series is being resurrected on the PlayStation 2 as an action RPG; manga series to precede launch of the game.

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TOKYO--Sega has updated the official Web site for the upcoming PlayStation 2 version of Shining Force. The title has been renamed Shining Force NEO, and its new release date of March 24 has been confirmed.

Shining Force NEO will be a real-time action RPG that plays without any screen switches between the field and the battle scenes. Gamers will control the lead character, Max, much like in the original Shining Force, which was released on the Sega Genesis in 1992.

The game's storyline, combat system, and characters, however, have been updated. You'll be controlling Max directly in Shining Force NEO, while the rest of your party will move on its own via the game's AI. Gamers can switch between four different weapons: the one-handed sword, which allows you to equip a shield on your other hand; the two-handed swords, which are extremely powerful but slow, and don't allow for a shield; the bow, which lets you attack from a distance but is the weakest of all four weapons; and the rods, which aren't useful for physical attacks but let you cast spells.

Shining Force NEO will first surface in manga form in Kodansha's monthly Magazine Z starting two months before the release of the PS2 game. The manga will be based on the same world and characters, but it will follow a storyline of its own. The game is expected to retail for 6,800 yen ($65).

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