I'm in the US and the first Gaiden game was No Export for You
sadly so a few plot points in So H
kind of go over your head especially one late game fight
unless you know the backstory. Sword of H. was the 2nd game and I think the English release had some balance changes, like the endgame sword is hilariously broken since it's basically an unbreakable level 3 freeze via use item command and level 3 freeze is stupidly good
for some reason which I don't think it was in the JP version.
In fact wikipedia says this:
The North American release of Shining Force Gaiden II made drastic alterations to the spells Blaze level 3 and Freeze level 3, more than doubling the damage they inflict while increasing the radius of their effect from two to three squares. This results in mage characters being overpowered compared to other playable characters. Enemies with level 3 magic are also overpowered, as any one of them can kill several characters at full health in a single move.
Thankfully there's usually no more than one demon master
per map, as these guys are the ones who spam level 3 freeze most and multiple times at that. But when you take into account that no one on your force's health is going to be at least 50 until the last 3 or 4 battles and that that the spell deals 45-48 damage per hit on a three space radius to multiple party members it certainly does seem unfair. Both Natasha AND May can learn all 3 levels of freeze(there is no level 4 spells this time) and May learns it at level 12 so for your own sanity please make sure you keep those two leveled.
The Sega CD game is like a compilation/port of all 3 gaiden games so playing that is a good alternative, I only played a little on emulator since my old laptop went splut.
as for the archers, Graham is a bit closer to May since his defense kind of sucks but I would consider both him and Chester staples to the force for this game. Both join close to one another and remain useful the entire game. Though admittedly Chester's power output kind of faltered a bit late game but that was probably because I gave Graham the better weapon. So yeah, they are the Lyles of the game more or less.
Also the PC stops being important more or less after a certain point in the game, as in you no longer need him to participate in battle, as unlike the first two games the final battle can be won without him needing to fight. A lot of sites say he's a monster after a few levels of promotion with the white ring equipped but TBH I'd prefer devoting that time to training some of the other force members. A lot of units are actually pretty solid in this one and my force whooped for a good portion of the game until the late game mages
showed up. I actually missed out on the two secret members
, one of which is probably REALLY good. This wiki says the final boss is one of the hardest in the franchise but TBH he wasn't that bad.
The "gimmick boss map" battle for this game(think the laser cannon or prisim flowers from the Genesis games) was one of my favorite maps in the game since it really got your promoted archers a chance to shine but it's also where the game's biggest Difficulty Spike
shows up. There's another fairly difficult fight later on as well.
But yeah I cannot emphasize how cheap the demon masters are. They are worse than some of the late game bosses and probably some of the cheapest enemies in the SF games I've fought against. Not even SF 1
chimeras were this bad.