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.
Shining resonance refrain is a pleasant surprise! the combat system is fluid and very fun. The plot of the game is very interesting, the characters are extremely charismatic, it is worth going through some tedious moments. Overall, Shining resonance is one of the best RPGs I've played in recent years!
The European aspects with gallant warriors fighting off the impending doom of dragons is incredibly fun in this game. It's the perfect amount of challenge, and it almost presents the player with a JRPG-Musou hybrid that's rewarding to play. However, music and story are largely lacking in the game, either being convoluted or unimaginative, if not both. Given the overly complex customization and sexist tones, the whole project drops from above average to lackluster. Shining Resonance: Refrain is a learning opportunity in recognizing when parts of a game are overextended or outdated.
Shining Resonance Refrain feels like a filler game. If you’ve been aching for a 3D action-RPG to sink some time into now that we’re entering the summer months that are often a lull in the game industry then this totally fits the bill, but it’ll do very little to surprise you.
An action RPG that resembles a bit the Tales series RPGs. It is a PS3 remaster with additions. The strengths are the characters, story and bond system. While the gameplay is good too you can be caught in loops which I will explain later. Story: A long time ago a cataclysmic event called Ragnarok brought ruins to the world. It was saved by the most powerful dragons who sacrificed themselves. At the present day a young man named Yuma is kept captive in a prison while the Empire is at war with the Astorian island nation. He will play a key role in the events to come. I like the story of the game. It starts or sounds generic but has some nice twists, schemes and character growth. The characters are superb. Each one has a unique personality, quirks and facets. There is a bond system in the game where you link character traits for bonuses. As you learn more about the characters you unlock more traits. The battles are action orientated. You have a stamina bar for normal attacks, special abilities, can block or evade. There is are a lot of combinations and tactics to use. Outside you explore the main hub city Marga for side quests or events and collect items. You can use those to craft better items or aspects that grant bonuses. A big part is music as a dragon left instruments called Armonics the character used as weapons. Those can be attuned for special effects / bonuses and level up too. This gives depth to the gameplay. For the presentation I repeat it is a PS3 remaster so the graphic while being nice is not on the level of modern games. However the soundtrack is excellent and I like a lot of it. I have some negatives. When you rest at the inn new quest and events pop up. You solve these and rest again so the next pop up. This can create a cycle that feels tiresome and repetitive. Also as you progress through the story the enemies level up on each new chapter. In the later half the increase is bigger. I had to grind more than felt comfortable. Also the additions in Refrain mode are added just on top without adjustment. You have new characters in your party while those exist a second time in the same world. Overall this is a nice RPG I recommend for its beautiful setting, characters I care and the bond system. I give an 8/10 and want to see more like this.
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 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 **** 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!
An "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.
This game is...fine.
It's got an incredibly shallow relationship system (aka dating sim) built it.
The bonds you can form are stereotypical, boring, and frankly often just an excuse to show a camera angle perfectly framed on some anime girl's chest.
The combat is fun for a while but eventually gets repetitive.
The story moves very slowly.
You spend a lot of time running errands.
I didn't hate the time I spent with this game but I would certainly not do it again.
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 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.
SummaryAssume 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.