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Shining Series Set for PSP Through Shining Hearts

Latest title appears to follow the Shining Wind and Shining Tears line.

Sega will be selling Shining Hearts goods at Comic Market 78. Shown above, a Shining Tears desktop mat that will be sold at the event. Article Top Image: Shining Tears wallpaper.

Sega is returning to the Shining series for a new installment called Shining Hearts. Famitsu has first details this week on the PSP title, which is set for Winter release, priced at ¥6,279.

Shining Hearts is a true RPG, blending fantasy with communication and life aspects. As you work through a story themed around love, friendship and bonds, you'll collect "hearts," leading to changes in the structure and state of your island home.

For those who've been with the Shining series since the beginning, Hearts appears to be along the lines of the Shining Tears and Shining Wind offshoots. It features character designs from Tony, along with SD characters and 2D visuals, viewed overhead during the adventure parts and from the side during combat.

You play as Rick, a young warrior. You've drifted to the peaceful Wyndaria Island, where you now work at a bakery (Famitsu refers to the bakery as a "magic" bakery, although you are just baking bread). Rick lives alongside a trio of sisters, Neris, Airy and Amaru, who work with Rick in the bakery and have their own unique baking abilities.

The three sisters will be the targets of Rick's affection as you work through the game. Based off your daily life and as part of the story, you'll deepen your ties with the girls, and possibly develop a love relationship with them.

There's a fourth girl who plays an important role in Shining Hearts. The young Kaguya arrives on Wyndaria Island one morning following a great storm. She's lost her memory and emotion, a problem that you'll need to help her fix.

Kaguya's arrival brings some changes to Wyndaria. Once peaceful, the island becomes the target of pirates who seek the special spirit stone Kaguya wears around her neck. To return peace to the island, you'll have to combat the pirates on the island and out on the sea.

Famitsu introduces two pirates: Dylan and the female pirate Mistral. Dylan is head of a pirate group called Arc Buccaneers. It's unclear at present if he's an ally or enemy, says Famitsu.

Sega refers to Shining Hearts as a traditional RPG. That, of course, means a command-based battle system for facing off against the pirates. Battles take place from a side-view, with SD sprites of your characters facing off against enemies. When you perform special attacks, you'll get to see full screen animation cut-ins. Looking at the screenshots in Famitsu, it resembles a mix of Tales and Super Robot Wars.

You can form a party of up to four, selecting from your three love targets as well as the other characters you encounter throughout the course of the game. You'll be able to perform special team attacks with your party members. An ally's feelings for you will change during combat as well.

With the presence of the pirates and the island setting, the ocean seems to be a major part of Shining Hearts. The game actually puts your base of operations on a ship called Home Ship. This ship serves both as your home and as your means of transport. While it starts off in a ragged state, you'll be able to build it up with new functionality. Eventually, you'll use the ship to travel to other islands.

When you're not out at sea, you're free to roam Wyndaria Island. You'll be able to take part in a variety of activities. You can progress through story missions, or take on side quests to help out villagers. You can attack characters you've taken an interest in (Famitsu doesn't say why you'd want to do this). You'll also be able to go around the island to collect materials for baking bread and forging your weapons, and even go fishing.

Your collection aspects will include picking up crops, like the pumpkin shown in the magazine's screenshots . Famitsu notes that the plants grow automatically, so there's no need to plant seed for yourself. Shining Force has not yet become a Harvest Moon clone.

As you play through the game, working through the story and helping villagers out on quests, you'll collect Hearts. These can be given to Kaguya to help her return her emotions. As her emotions come back, Kaguya's spirit stone will release "Heart Keys." These can be used to open doors to new worlds, leading to new developments in the story.

Shining Hearts is currently 80% complete. Sega looks like it's already getting into gear with the game's marketing. Comic Market 78, which will be held at Tokyo Big Site starting August 13, will feature item sales for the game.

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