Shining Ark Follows The RPG Trend Of Having “Normal” And “Casual” Difficulty

By Sato . February 28, 2013 . 2:00pm


There’s a growing trend of adding a "casual mode" to role playing games to make them more accessible. Games like Fire Emblem: Awakening, Shin Megami Tensei IV, and even Final Fantasy XIII (well, at least for the Xbox 360 version in Japan) have an optional easy difficulty and a standard mode for fans of the genre. Casual mode or easy mode as it’s called in other games has always been optional and this feature makes RPGs appeal to a wider audience. Sega also added a casual mode difficulty level to Shining Ark, the latest game in the long running Shining series.


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You can pick either casual or standard mode when you start a new game. Going with one mode or another will not affect the game’s story or item drops. Shining Ark’s difficult can also be changed through the system menu at any given time in the game.


What does toggling the difficulty do?


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In casual mode, your allies will have their turns show up more frequently than the opponent’s. Notice the character order in the above images. The left shows more ally turns in casual mode, while the right portrays a more balanced order in standard mode. You also take less damage in casual mode. Playing in standard will require more strategy since the game is designed for players to think several moves ahead.

Shining Ark was released in Japan today for PSP.

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  • FFmax

    That’s great to hear because I’m planning on importing this and I’ll probably have no clue on how to work the battle system.

  • ( `Д´)ノ)`ν゜)

    Where are the hard modes?


      • MrTyrant

        Even with that you can beat the final bosses in the game. The normal mode in the previous ones were so easy.

      • Thankful4JRPGs

        Hahahaha! Love it! Best comment of the day!

  • Leon_Tekashi

    I wonder, is Sega even trying to localize some of these games?

    • Lester Paredes

      The short answer: No.
      The long answer is: We at Sega strive to ensure that our games reach every region where there is interest. We are currently gauging interest and have not come to a final decision yet.

  • MrTyrant

    Oh wow, casual mode in this game. This is funny.

    • CobbleCake

      Seriously, if the difficulty of Shining Blade is anything to go by then having casual mode is just dumb

  • I think more RPGs should have a hard mode. One that requires serious grinding to get anywhere in the game.

    • neogeno

      Id rather it not be grinding that lets you get anywhere but instead ‘tactics’. Using skills and buffs that are tied to a gambit of different equipment in the right way can open the path to any goal no matter how difficult the boss is. All that matters is the players approach and what tools he/she uses with it.

      Its probably why I can’t get enough of Monster Hunter and the like.

  • Carlos Escalante

    Looks amazing….hope someone brave brings it over! This and VC3….though I doubt it.

    • Thankful4JRPGs

      VC3 is a great game.

    • Probably not. We haven’t gotten a Shining game since the PS2 days. This being a PSP game makes the chances even slimmer. Sorry.

    • Kevadu

      VC3 is the best game in the series. It’s really sad we got screwed out of that one.

  • FitzpatrickPhillips

    Why is there never a “Normal” “Casual” and “Hard” settings?

    • Sato

      First one that pops to mind are Kingdom Hearts games. Otherwise yeah, you don’t often see games with all of ’em, usually just one or the other.

      • MrTyrant

        Fire Emblem Awakening too. The IA in normal mode is just stupid but the hard mode is very clever as they were in the previous games, Lunatic are more stat based since it give the enemies a boost in their stats.

        • Sato

          Ah yeah, good point, I totally forgot about that!

  • I prefer when games reward people who play through harder difficulty modes, whether the rewards be ‘real’ endings, rare equipment, or extra party members.

    • Abyan Haidar

      it does make sense.. but I’m sure it’s better applied in monster hunting type game… RPG (the mmos excluded) has to be a little bit friendly for the new player / new fans, since not every gamer is hardcore

      • Shaun Huseman

        Sega will never release it in the West. Sega pretty much is awful anymore.

        • Thankful4JRPGs

          You know what I’d like to see released? The VC anime. Actually, both. They’ve got blu-ray sets in Japan, but they’re way too expensive to import. It would cost a month’s worth of expenses for a starving graduate student…

      • Thankful4JRPGs

        I like having all kinds of difficulty settings. Some companies balance games well while others do not. I’ve played more than a few games that are really easy and then BAM! you hit a brick wall and you have to grind for hours upon hours. Then there are those games where BAM! you’re at the last boss and there’s no way to back out and save levels because it’s scenario based like Farland Symphony.

    • TatsuyaKyo

      Me as well. It makes for a better incentive to improve your performance.

    • Kevadu

      Extras, fine, but I *hate* it when games restrict endings to certain difficulty levels. (Not that I would ever play this game on casual considering how ridiculously easy Shining Blade was, but I still hate it)

  • Thankful4JRPGs

    I had my copy picked up yesterday! I’m so pumped! I can’t wait to listen to the soundtrack!

  • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

    ?I thought all the other Shining has been “kinda” too easy? Hope that with the inclusion of casual difficulty, they will boost the normal level into much more challangeing.

  • MrSirFeatherFang

    Guys it’s so obvious why there’s a casual difficulty… so you can play it with one hand :D
    So stop complaining

  • nonamekeyblade

    wider audience?normal hard mod?dont care at all cause sega is beeeeeeeeeeep localized

  • s07195

    I hope normal mode is harder then, since Shining Blade was mostly easy, other than the final boss and post-game stuff.

  • Adam Zaorski

    I want this game, badly.

  • Warboss Aohd

    Sega mockz us.

  • FlamingFirewire

    Pretty sure somewhere along the line SEGA claimed that they have no interest in perusing PSP games anymore in the NA market.I’m not sure though.

  • Calintz YT

    Sounds reasonable to me.

  • I’ve played a bit and man if the difficulty stands like it is the casual mode is hardly needed. Even if I intented to lose on purpose in normal mode Panis would win the fight by herself. And honestly Shining Blade was the easiest RPG I’ve seen in ages. CHALLENGE, I want CHALLENGE!

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