Since yesterday I've put another three hours or so into our hardy samurai's adventure, so I though I'd post some more of my findings.
One of the big differences this time is that there only seems to be one village. Every time you clear a dungeon you come back to the starting village with all your items and money.
In town, many of the features will be familiar to Shiren players. You can upgrade weapons at the blacksmiths, visit the store to buy new items and equipment and you can also store all your valuables, safe from the dangers of the dungeons.
Shiren and Koppa at the village inn
However, there are a couple of new features in town. The first is a bank, which is an incredibly useful addition. Now you can save up for the more expensive items. The storekeeper is currently selling a sword for 15,000 gitans and it has an attack of 20 - very nice.
The second new feature is the arena. Here, you can beef yourself up before heading into the dungeon. The time you can spend here is limited, but when you first go in you can get to lvl 4/5 before the clock runs down. After your initial visit, it costs money to enter. The amount increases every time by 200 gitans, but it's definitely worth the cash
There are plenty of new items to be found when in the dungeon. Along with the warp scroll I mentioned before, there is also the wonderful Resurrection Scroll. If you are carrying this in your inventory, you'll be brought back to life on the same spot you died. I've only found one so far, so I assume they are quite rare.
Shiren reads a powerful scroll
Another interesting new feature is that if you equip a similar type of sword and shield, you receive a boost to your stats. I equipped a wooden club and a wooden shield on my travels. Along with getting the usual defensive boost from the shield, it also increased my attack from 2 to 5.
Some enemies will now turn into a trap when killed, which can be a pain, especially if you've killed them in a narrow corridor.
I've also noticed a lot of armbands lying around. However, be warned, armbands can now break, so enjoy them while they last. In the original Shiren on DS, I found a Happy Armband which granted you the ability to level up as you walked. Now, though, even if you have a fantastic armband, it will break, so you can no longer rely on them to see you through the whole game.
The most interesting one I've found so far is the No Hunger Armband. As you would expect, when wearing this little beauty, your hunger bar will not drop - very useful if you're out of rice balls.
Best item I've found so far is a Demon Shield. This has a defensive base stat of 14 and looks the business. It has a suitably ugly face, complete with red, lolling tongue!
Absolutely loving this, and although identifying items in Japanese is almost impossible, I've found a rough guide which translates a lot of the items. At least now I can tell the difference between a Herb of Confusion and a Medicinal Herb!
Also, take a look at the cover art. Absolutely brilliant, and a thousand times better than the western release of Shiren 1 on DS. All we need now is for Sega to translate Shiren 2 into English and release it over here soon.
There's also no word of a European release of Shiren 3 on Wii. It's been out in Japan for some time, but I doubt it will ever come out here. Rising Star games have been doing a sterling job releasing Japanese games in the West...I wonder if they would consider picking up Shiren on Wii... I can only hope.