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Shining Wisdom Foregoes Franchise Standards on Sega Saturn – Today in Retro Gaming – June 27th, 1996

Shining Wisdom is an official part of the “Shining” series of titles.  That is fact.  In this release you are tasked with avenging your father’s image, defeating a great evil and setting the world right again. All in the day of an adventurer.  The difference between Shining Wisdom and Shining the Holy Ark, Shining Force series and the rest is, here you are doing it in real time.

While ALL of the other Shining games were turn based either role playing games or strategy role playing games, Shining Wisdom was more Legend of Zelda.  This departure from the standards of the series is probably a good reason that many fans were turned off by it.  Having Working Designs localize it for North America probably didn’t help either.  You see, Working Designs had a habit of adding in quips and comments about current events in their titles.  While cool at the time, it severely dates the games as time goes on.

Shining Wisdom is based in Parmicia, a few years after the events of Shining Force II (for Sega Genesis).  There is even a bit of crossover between characters of these two games.  There is even some references to the first title, Shining in the Darkness.  The problem is, all of that cool “game franchise connecting fun” is only available in the European and Japanese versions.

Working Designs removed it from the North American version.  Why?

Sega of Japan.  Sega of Japan would not allow Working Designs to use many of the names of people and countries from the series in Shining Wisdom.  This really screwed fans wanting a coherent story and just to continue playing in the rich fantasy world that Sega had created.  This was not the first time the Japanese headquarters screwed over the North American arm of a company.

What fans were left with was a CGI action based adventure that was quite linear.  No wonder sales were abysmal for Shining Wisdom upon release.

Go enjoy Shining the Holy Ark or Shining Force III if you only own a Saturn.  If you own a Sega Genesis then check out the Shining Force series or Shining in the Darkness.  While Sega has released a remake of the first Shining Force for the Game Boy Advance, they have pretty much turned their backs on the franchise- as they are often doing unless it is a speed running hedgehog.

Carl Williams

It is time gaming journalism takes its rightful place as proper sources and not fanboys giving free advertising. If you wish to support writers like Carl please use the links below.

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