Shining Resonance Refrain Image
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67

Mixed or average reviews - based on 26 Critic Reviews What's this?

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6.9

Mixed or average reviews- based on 43 Ratings

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  • Summary: Assume the role of Yuma Ilvern and stop the Empire from exploiting the power of the ancient dragons, including the soul of the Shining Dragon within you. With the help of your friends, realize your destiny, save Astoria, and unleash the strength you’ve always had locked away.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. Jul 9, 2018
    90
    Shining Resonance Refrain is an entertaining adventure through a somewhat cliche story, but it contains its own unique aspects that keep you engaged. Combat is easy to learn, but there's a decent amount of depth to it. Dragonshift and B.A.N.D. sessions are wonderful combat mechanics that add more charm to the game. The relationship building and dating also adds a cute slice of life portion to the adventure.
  2. 75
    A great addition to the Shining franchise. Refrain is a fun title with good combat, interesting characters, and some great voice acting that accompany a great translation.
  3. 70
    Shining Resonance Refrain might be outclassed by modern JRPGs, but if you judge it on it's own merits, you'll quickly find that there is a lot to enjoy.
  4. Aug 9, 2018
    70
    In the end, Shining Resonance Refrain is a solid addition to any JRPG fan's lineup, but honestly, I'd recommend it to hardcore JRPG fans looking for something new. For as many things as Shining Resonance gets right, it stumbles with as well which leads to a very generic RPG in the end (retreading areas and reusing enemies over and over really make this title seem like it was made on a budget). If you can live with all of that and can't wait another minute to dig into another adventure, you're definitely in luck with this localization!
  5. Jul 9, 2018
    65
    Shining Resonance Refrain is a missed opportunity for Sega to bring its beloved JRPG series to the west in its better form. The remaster has several problems (both technical and structural), but can still deliver some fun to the hardcore aficionados.
  6. Playstation Official Magazine UK
    Jul 31, 2018
    60
    This JRPG needs a few more lessons before it'll be concert ready. Lacking the tightness it needs, it's not quite the rising star it hopes to be, but it's still endearing. [Issue#152, p.91]
  7. Jul 16, 2018
    50
    A horribly generic Japanese role-player that has no glaring flaws but fails to offer a single interesting new idea or character of its own.

See all 26 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 7
  2. Negative: 1 out of 7
  1. Jul 10, 2018
    10
    i enjoyed what i played i wait for a new installment. The graphics look good and it plays well
  2. Jan 29, 2019
    8
    Shining Resonance Refrain is one of those relaxing JRPGs to play.

    I wouldn't say it's combat is in the same league as the Tales games in
    Shining Resonance Refrain is one of those relaxing JRPGs to play.

    I wouldn't say it's combat is in the same league as the Tales games in terms of depth, but it is still enjoyable. Though much like Tales, you do have the ability to play as additional party members. Each character has unique moves of their own, which breaks up any monotony you might find just playing as Yuma.

    Grinding was never a huge factor while playing it, as it is really easy. But grinding does become a factor towards the end game.

    Story wise, I wouldn't say it's anything special. There are some twists, some predictable, but I was never super invested into it to care. The characters do come off as cliche, especially the main protagonist, but they are overall an enjoyable cast if you can look past it.

    I don't get why some people have ripped Shining Resonance Refrain for it's English dub. I found the voice actors/actresses competent and fitting in their roles. No line felt awkward or out of place.

    Much like I initially stated, Shining Resonance Refrain is overall a really relaxing JRPG to play. I recommend it on that basis.
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  3. Dec 25, 2019
    7
    Shining Resonance Refrain is an HD port of a ps3 game that was japan only, adding all the DLC in it as well as a new mode called Refrain whichShining Resonance Refrain is an HD port of a ps3 game that was japan only, adding all the DLC in it as well as a new mode called Refrain which allows you to play 2 extra characters from the start rather than postgame. Despite being an HD port it does have some issues due to the Ps3 limitations of the time and other details that could've used some QoL changes

    The game is an action JRPG so your usual "button spamming" and "skill usages" are your main thing, including a stamina bar to avoid spamming your basic attacks and a heavy attack that can break defenses. The combat itself is a mixed bag: it's very satisfying and very fun, especially how the characters differ and have different playstyles but, on the other hand, combat is also rather slow and whenever you enter or win a battle you have to wait a few seconds.
    Combat animations are also rather slow and the skills feel lackluster and not powerless, including the sound effects used for your attacks. It could've been made better for sure.

    Combat customization is pretty interesting though: characters don't have armors or weapons to equip but instead you buy aspects, which are your stats upgrade and perks: the system is highly reminiscent of FF7 materia system and each "materia" grants specific buffs or even perks to specific characters and considering they don't become obsolete all that much they're quite useful to keep.

    There's also tuning customization which is like a specc-kind of upgrade: each character can change the tuning of their weapon and which allows them to have different effects, such as elemental attack or stronger heals or faster attacks. Together with the Aspects you can create some interesting builds!

    And last and least the story is...well there, it's detailed enough but it does take some time to get better, however, the main issue is that the game is very anime, and by anime I mean "super-duper innocent boy has harem of super duper sexy girls who want to get laid by him and believe me when I say that it does get distracting.

    One reason why I never got into anime is for this reason: fanservice can be enjoyable but in a lot of anime I've seen it's just distracting and serves no purpose but to arouse boys (and I guess girls too) into having fantasies with their favorite waifus and husbands.
    Don't get me wrong here I LOVE some of the girls too but the fanservice is really distracting here and you'll notice all the generic clichès right away: Yuma is a silent innocent boy who strangely enough attracts all the girls like a magnet and said girls, from potentially interesting and well-rounded characters, become so relentlessly dumber it feels like it's a joke.
    For example, Kirika is a very composed woman but practically starts ventilating when she's around Yuma; Rinna teases him all the time for no real reason but because he's innocent, and Marion is pretty much so direct she hugs him and tells how nice he is. If anything Sonia and Excella seem the most normal girls of the bunch...they got other interests beyond sucking Yuma's D.
    And the fun fact is I don't hate Yuma! He's actually kinda nice, I like his determination near the middle of the game, he does become better and sure of himself but it's like he's got an aura that renders all young women of the game dumber. I assume it's some clichè but I can't tell.

    Do I recommend it? Yes, it's honestly a good game, nothing too amazing but it does its job well, the characters are likable until they enter "dumb" mode and the voice acting is pretty good too - there's also JP too.

    The only problems are that it's a port of a ps3 game and it shows - textures are still meh and the areas are very incredibly small - and despite having a new mode there's no reason to play in Original since Refrain is "complete". In addition, the game is insanely greedy and it will ask you to farm mats to create the best aspects in order to be effective, including an aspect that allows your characters to get exp while not in combat - yep, it's that kind of RPG where you gotta keep everyone leveled and YES you need to keep everyone leveled!
    Add the issue that some fights can be broken and easily wipe your party, overly expensive items that force you to either farm money or farm mats to save money, or that there's no fast travel AT ALL in the entire game, meaning that you will ALWAYS have to run to your destination every time you must proceed with the story (there is a teleport back to the home city, THANK GOD), it's gets really hard to give a good score since a lot of the issues could've been patched or modified, as they could easily be small QoL changes. Heck the game suffers from annoying frame rate too! How can you NOT fix that?!

    Overall I do recommend it, even better if discounted: it's a nice and enjoyable jrpg to relax while you wait to play a much bigger game. Just a shame that there's so many little flaws that only stack up and create a bigger issue that can't be ignored. But overall it's fine!
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  4. Jul 19, 2018
    6
    An "Okay at best" rpg with a generic world, slow story, bland characters, good music, and a great battle system tragically marred byAn "Okay at best" rpg with a generic world, slow story, bland characters, good music, and a great battle system tragically marred by performance issues. There's not much else to say here besides this, Shining resonance refrain, refrains from resonating shiningly. Expand
  5. Jun 4, 2020
    5
    Was good until mid game and everything started to get bad. No fast travel, bad AI, Grimoire doesn't seem worth it, enemy drops NON-EXISTENTWas good until mid game and everything started to get bad. No fast travel, bad AI, Grimoire doesn't seem worth it, enemy drops NON-EXISTENT (seriously i can't get anything i need anywhere ever), the grind is real and it sucks very very very badly, sometimes just way way way too much effing useless dialogue. A bunch of combat mechanics that still don't make a lot of sense to me or when they do make sense i still rarely use or need them. Expand
  6. Jan 16, 2020
    5
    I had a lot of terrible frame rate drops despite this being a HD remake of the ps3 version. Game still has some incredible difficulty spikesI had a lot of terrible frame rate drops despite this being a HD remake of the ps3 version. Game still has some incredible difficulty spikes without mundane grinding but is made better with the grimoire. The game is best played with a guide so that you know where to find the materials you need for things you didn't know you wanted. Playing through blindly is such a hassle and detriment it left a foul taste afterwards. The item lists, where to find them, quests given and how/when/ for what purpose all need more work. The game would have been a lot better if they communicating all their systems and item management properly. Pointlessly attaching quest items to rare spawns at low drop rates is a dick move by the devs to increase player playtime. It's a waste of time. If this had a bunch of QoL improvements it could have been a decent game. Expand
  7. Apr 1, 2020
    3
    I see now why the series has historically not come to the west. It's a horrible grindy RPG with only pretty girls and dating sim mechanicsI see now why the series has historically not come to the west. It's a horrible grindy RPG with only pretty girls and dating sim mechanics holding it up.

    The story is generic and dumb. You're a boy with a dragon stuck in him, who, for little reason, is saved by a warrior princess from the guys who imprisoned you. You then just hang out at their kingdom doing nothing much until some major military efforts need to take place. And who do they send? Not their general and his army (who puts the warrior princess to shame strength-wise), but you and your harem (well, there's a couple of guys you can bring).

    For each mission you go on, you meet your opponents and possible future allies. At least 10 times this happened, and they all end the same: You fight with them over a misunderstanding, and they either run away, decide you're not worth killing, or join you. I found it amusing (which is not good) that in three battles with one particular guy, he ran away because I was too weak twice, then thought I was too strong on the third battle.

    In addition to the main story, there's lots of mostly-unrelated generic character interactions (including the dating segments). It's like they had a list of generic anime conversation topics and went through it, putting every one in this game. There's shopping conversations, a makeup conversation, loads of cooking/eating conversations, self-doubt conversations, and plenty of "trying to find out about another character" conversations. It was a little jarring going into these daily-life conversations almost immediately with very little world building or character information before hand. They were so meaningless to the story as a whole or for character growth, that I eventually started skipping them, just to get the reward for watching the scenes.

    The gameplay isn't horrible, but is very basic. It's similar to Tales combat, but is slower and a little less chaotic. It rewards grinding/leveling over smart play, which is a disappointment. The game has built-in grind dungeons, which it expects you to repeat over and over. I hate grinding so much that I lowered the difficulty and fought only new monsters and ones that were in my way. This wasn't too bad, even when the enemies I was fighting were 30 levels higher than I was. Though fighting bosses required lots of resurrecting.

    There's quests in the game, but they're the most basic quests you can get (go kill xx monsters or get yy items), their descriptions are so unimportant that they're not worth reading, and they repeat themselves. So after you complete all of the town's quests and reload the map, most of them are back for you to do again.

    The girls look good, but there's not much depth to them. The dating sim elements are bad (worse than Sword Art Online). You can talk to the girls after time has passed and can potentially go on dates with them where you walk around town. After 4 dates, you're basically done and can see that girl's ending at the end of the game. The events are not very meaningful. Also, expect the dialogue in your conversations and dates to repeat frequently.

    Costumes are limited. You get some nonsensical-for-the-world costumes: Maid, bikini, modern school girl, idol outfit. You just get them, so there's no fun in unlocking them. These are so silly that I just use the default costumes, which were actually much more beautiful anyway. There's also a model viewer in the game, where you can view the main characters at any angle. Character models are unlocked through a random lottery thing, where you pay 500g per random model (you can get duplicates).

    And then the game-stopping nails in the coffin are:

    - When you first start the game, you're encouraged to use Original mode and not Refrain mode. What they don't tell you is that in Refrain mode, you get a couple of extra characters and events that are only accessible in Refrain mode. Besides that, they're identical. So there's no reason to start Original mode, especially when it's obvious that the extra characters will eventually join you due to the fact that most opponents in the game join you, and even the game cover shows you one of the extra characters. It's not at all a different experience like I assumed, and I'm not keen on replaying the game from scratch just to get a few more events.

    - At one point in the game, you're required to fight through an event with two male characters. Since the game is primarily about pretty girls, I doubt people will play those male characters often. Characters not in your battle party don't level up, so these two characters were a good 40-50 levels below their enemies. I gave it a good effort: Spent 2 hours grinding and loaded up on potions and healing items, but that wasn't enough. Many more hours of grinding would be needed to get past that point, and that wasn't worth it to me.

    So, that's it. It's rare that I don't finish games. The pretty girls were alright, but everything else was quite bad.
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