Alright, before I begin droning on about anime video games, let me give a big ‘ol disclaimer: I’m not a fan of JRPG’s. They just aren’t my thing. That being said, neither is Shining Resonance Refrain. It’s part of a series I never played on a console I never owned, and it’s a remaster of a game that I never played with added content I struggled to get to because this is a long, stretched out game with a long, stretched out story, in a genre of long, stretched out games with long, stretched out stories. I’m gonna be frank. This game really doesn’t differ from your standard, run of the mill JRPG. With simple, 2 – 4 button combat, a multi faceted, long as hell story, characters that are either defined by physique or a singular personality trait and generally over the top fantasy music, this game is just kind of…There
So, for some background, Shining Resonance Refrain is a game developed by a new team on the scene, O-Two Inc. It’s also a remastered and expanded upon version of the game Shining Resonance, which was developed by Media.Vision and released for Playstation 3 in 2014, a Japan only release. This new version, Refrain, comes with all the DLC released for the original, as well as being translated into english and Voice Acted in it, and including a whole new side story, called Refrain. I struggled getting to that, because the main story itself is incredibly long; Refrain is essentially for people who played the original and are looking for additional content!
So, let’s talk about gameplay. It’s standard JRPG fare. You run through a stage, encounter enemies, engage in multi button combat, and win or lose. After combat, your party gains XP, and possibly items. You have regular attacks and break attacks, which are basically just special melee attacks. On top of that is magic skills, which range from support type skills to special attacks that don’t cost AP, the equivalent of stamina. You have HP and MP, Health and Mana respectively. Use a combination of these skills to win battles, level up and progress. That’s really all there is to it. There’s really not much variation from something like Lightning Returns, and while that’s not that bad, it’s still pretty generic.
Next, let’s talk story. The gist of it is the kingdom of Astoria is under attack by the Empire. It’s been at war for many years, and it’s not going well. Then, a boy shows up who possesses the spirit of the legendary Shining Dragon, the dragon who beat back a bunch of bad dudes to help the humans a long time ago. With this boy Yuma’s power, the Kingdom of Astoria will fight the Empire in a battle for it’s future and the future of Alfheim. The characters were pretty standard, with stereotypical JRPG personalities ranging from fierce warrior woman (Sonia) to timid fighter forced by fate to break some sacred promise of the ages (Yuma) and others you’d be able to find in something like Final Fantasy. It’s not my cup of tea, and I don’t understand what’s going on in relation to the other games in the Shining series, but it’s not bad either.
I guess outside of this there really isn’t much else to talk about. Graphically, the game does look much more polished up than what you’d see in a PS3 game; I did find some shots across the land to actually be quite beautiful, and the characters are all anatomically correct and nice looking. As far as music goes, it’s your standard Medieval Fantasy music, over the top and full of bellowing crescendos and dramatic flair. Outside of this, there isn’t much to talk on. There’s not a whole slew of flaws, nor is there anything setting it apart. So, if you’re into the series or you love JRPG’s enough, by all means, snatch it up. It’ll likely do everything you expect of it. If you don’t know the series and aren’t really into the genre, I’d say just avoid it, because in the end, Shining Resonance Refrain looks, feels and plays like any other JRPG typically does, and you know what they say; If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it may be a cute anime girl that turns into a dragon slaying hero.