The little hack 'n slash that did.

User Rating: 9 | Shining Soul II GBA
Most hack and slash's nowadays are complete replicas of the Diablo series; but with the huge success of Diablo II, its not surprising. Shining Soul II took a new approach, which actually turned out for the best.

Gameplay-- 9/10
SSII has 8 different playable characters; a dark wizard, a dragonute (half-dragon warrior), an archer, a ninja, a brawler, a sorceress, a priestess and finally, a warrior. Each of these characters have their strengths and weakness'. The brawler for instance, is very powerful; but his defense is relatively low. With all the variety of characters to choose from, there is something for everyone. Each of the characters have a variety skills they may choose from when they level up, warrior types may specialize in weapon proficiencies, and mage types may specialize in different spells. These spells and skill can be powered up, resulting in higher damage. SSII really leaves a lot of customization for the player, which really adds to the whole experience.

Just like every hack and slash, the majority of the game is combat. In SSII, the environment plays a key role in the combat. In most cases, you will find yourself stabbing through walls to kill your enemy, or getting them stuck behind a chair, and blasting them with spells. Some players may be turned off by this aspect of the game; but personally, I find it spices up the game a bit. Bosses are a real enjoyment in SSII, and are very similar to those from the Mana series. Most of the bosses have some sort of special attack they use; and if not countered, will turn out to be deadly.

There is much more to SSII then just dungeons and combat. The player is able to forge weapons and armor, collect monster cards, collect souls, battle in the arena against monsters and even friends and all sorts of side quests.

Sound-- 6.5/10
SSII has some good tunes; but most of it isn't very memorable.

Graphics-- 8/10

Visually, the game is pretty impressive. The character and monster sprites are detailed. The bosses are huge and look astonishing. The environments are fairly impressive. Some of the environments were taken from the first game; hence look pretty bland and out of place.

Replay-- 10/10
You will get more than your money's worth from this cartridge. Not only does SSII have a multiplayer mode; but it also has an advanced mode after you beat the game. In the "advanced mode", monsters are tougher and you will receive better loot for killing them. Not everyone plays through the advanced mode; but it is there. The main reason why I found this game so appealing was the item system. Similar to Diablo, there are item sets; which receive bonuses when they are equipped. There are tons of different sets throughout the game. Some are fairly useless; but others have awesome bonuses and take a lot of time and dedication to collect. There are also tons of different weapons that have useful abilities.

Overall-- 9/10
SSII is a great hack 'n slash for the gba, and has way more going for it than most would originally assume. But SSII is not perfect, just like every other game; it has it's flaws. The dialogue is awful, some of it doesn't even follow the context. The save system is annoying, every time you save, you are brought back to the title screen. There is no "pause" in the game, so even when equipping items or assigning skill points monsters continue stabbing at you; This can become pretty annoying.

SSII is arguably the best hack 'n slash you can find on the gba. But just like every hack 'n slash though, its not for everyone.