Just in July he delights us with his presence Shining Resonance Chorus, an interesting JRPG Action from mom SEGA. In fact, it is one remastered rather than a brand new title, given that the original game for PS3 dates back to the not very distant 2014.
It is not at all easy to talk about the saga di Shining as a whole, but we will try to give you a brief introduction before analyzing this new chapter. We also remind you that the title it has not been localized in Italian, which we do not consider a defect in this case.
Introduction to the Shining series
The Shining series is mainly characterized by RPGs, even if not all of them are properly attributable to the traditional model that we might expect. Shining in the Darkness, the first title in the series, followed the first-person dungeon crawler model, with the presence of turn-based combat.
On the other hand, Shining Force is reminiscent of a Fire Emblem style, so it adopts a strategic approach and not pure RPG. Finally, games like Shining Soul represent the action RPG genre, which includes Shining Resonance Refrain, the latest in this long series.
If we exclude some more specific cases, the games are playable and enjoyable without the need to have completed the other titles, so don't be afraid!
La trama di Shining Resonance Refrain
The plot revolves around the protagonist Yuma Ilvern, bearer of the Shining Dragon, who tries to fight the Empire. The latter uses the power of dragons to try to dominate the world and initially imprisons Yuma, who is fortunately freed by Sonia Blanche, knight in the service of Astoria.
As you can guess, the main setting is the fantasy-medieval one, which takes up the theme of the war between kingdoms to intertwine romance elements with the story, as we will see later. In fact, from the very beginning of the game he will come to our aid too Kirika Towa Alma, elf belonging to an allied kingdom of Astoria, Wellant.
Yuma will meet the so-called Dragoneers during his adventure, able to dominate and control dragons with the use of "Armonics“, Forged by the Shining Dragon in ancient times. Not surprisingly, in the ancient past the dragons lived in harmony with the elves of Alfheim, before being threatened by an evil force, DEUS, with the desire to build a new kingdom.
The excessive presence of female characters from the first moments of the game it is not surprising at all, even if we would have appreciated a greater attention to the plot, which is not very original in some respects. We will see enough anime clichés, which may also be pleasing to an oriental audience, but poorly viewed in front of a western audience like ours.
A look at the gameplay
Fights on Shining Resonance follow the classic model from open world Action RPG, we can move freely in the dungeon maps and fight in an action style. For those who had played the Tales of series or Trails of Cold Steel, the similarities will be quite remarkable in terms of gameplay, even if much lower.
We have a normal attack at our disposal, one capable of breaking enemy guards, and a range of special abilities and attacks at our disposal. By breaking the guard not only will we have extra time to hit defenseless enemies, but we will also deal more damage, which rewards the stun of monsters. To get around the problem of excessive ease or even to reduce confusion from high command input, to perform actions you will need to consume AP (Action Points).
Unfortunately, this addition does not prove effective for its objective, given the speed with which it recharges! One of the main defects is precisely the incorrect calibration of the waiting system between a recharge and subsequent actions. In this remaster version no changes have been made to the bar, which would have been more appropriate.
Shining Resonance Refrain requires its dose of farming, but the higher difficulty level doesn't provide the challenge that other Action RPGs offer.
Some unique mechanics
The most interesting features are the presence of the sistema B.A.N.D. and transformation into a dragon of the protagonist. These two mechanics, although original and consistent with the plot, greatly unbalance the difficulty of the title.
The first is the ability to play different songs that guarantee upgrades to our team. To play them, it will be necessary to fill the bar on the left of the screen which increases with each successful attack. it should be noted that the bonus obtained depends on who is at the center of the group, which can be easily modified from the menu.
For the transformation into Shining Dragon, we just need to press two keys to enter this very loud mode! The surprises don't end there, Yuma it will not consume AP but MP, with the defect of "going crazy" below a certain threshold, which is why we must always keep an eye on the MPs. Otherwise, we will lose control of the dragon, which will attack both enemies and its own allies alike!
Interactions with fellow adventurers
As expected, it is possible to interact with your fellow adventurers, a fairly apt choice for the genre of game that is offered to us. The presence of the lato fanservice under the guise of dialogues with the various female characters of our party, an important element that defines the more romance side of the game.
Thanks to this strengthening of ties we will be able increase our chances of resonating with them and so on! The best time to interact is during the "Night Events“, By camping we will not only have the opportunity to do alchemy, but also to invite some of our companions to spend the night with us.
The characterization of the characters
A very sore point of Shining Resonance Refrain is in fact the poor characterization of the characters. We will see many clichés or obvious dialogues, which detract from the potential of this title. The protagonist Yuma has very little depth in many situations, while the others have their peaks in some points of the plot.
How to start?
This question arises, how should I start? What changes between the two?
Essentially, very little changes, which is why we recommend playing Refrain mode and not the Original. The first mentioned enjoys two characters originally DLC, Excela Noa Aura e Jinas Aeon, who won't have who knows how much influence in the story as playable characters. Nice addition of some extra dialogue and romance, but nothing particularly innovative.
We therefore advise against playing directly in Original, although the other mode is indicated in the game as suitable for a second run.
Conclusions on Shining Resonance Refrain
Shining Resonance Refrain reminds the world that the Shining series still exists, but with its flaws. While it's a great Full HD port, with the presence of all the extras and DLC of the Japanese version for PS3, there are elements that make the nose wrinkle enough.
The lack of a truly challenging difficulty, the poor characterization of the characters and the little difference between the Original and Refrain modes are among the first defects. On the other hand, the game is still enjoyable and it has some pretty funny mechanics, making it quite recommended for lovers of this type of JRPG, who won't have to expect a huge qualitative leap over the original version.
Lovers of oriental games might also consider buying them because of the good music and style, keeping the above flaws at bay.
You also have the opportunity to try a demo, in case you are still not convinced!