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About the product
- Beautifully rendered 3D character models that bring the 2D artwork of Tony Taka to life
- Dynamic and frenetic real-time action combat - Combat supported by music element, B.A.N.D. system, to enhance your powers in battle
- Play as a Dragon - unleash devastating attacks on your foes
- Refrain Mode introduces previously unplayable characters into your party
- All extra cosmetic content and the original's DLC is included
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Shining Resonance Refrain remasters the original Shining Resonance, previously released on PlayStation 3 only in Japan, and features dual audio with English and Japanese voices. In addition to all of the original's DLC, now included as part of the base Original Mode, Shining Resonance Refrain packs a new Refrain Mode, unlocking the Imperial Princess Excella and Dragonslayer Jinas as party members for a new experience - just be sure to save this for your second play through to avoid any spoilers! With real-time action combat, it will be important to utilize each party member's unique abilities and strengths while deepening relationships with each character. Through events and dates, get to know your party members to unlock their full potential on the battlefield! Depending on the bonds of the characters, resonance may occur between the characters them, providing a new level of support, leading to victory. Yuma has the soul of the Shining Dragon within him, transforming into the ancient beast by unleashing the power conducted through his sword. Dragons, long thought to be extinct, make Yuma a target for the Empire. To use him against the kingdom of Astoria, The Empire captures Yuma. Sonia, Princess of Astoria, launches a rescue mission with the help of the Dragoneers. Hearing about the plight of Astoria and their fight to save their land, Yuma decides to aid them. Typically timid, will he find the courage to realize the strength he has within him?
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To get the worst criticism out of the way: you can FEEL the cheapness oozing out this game. It feels more at home on the Vita than it does in the PS4 with cutscenes presented with static characters flapping their mouths on top of 2D backgrounds with actual animated cinematics few and far between. Textures are poor with enemies in particular looking like they've been dredged from a no-name MMO and lighting is a strange variant of cel shading, though there is thankfully very little clipping. The story also leaves something to be desired with the progtagonist, Yuna, coming across as unlikable, whiny and weak.
But the gameplay itself is ultimately quite fun. The combat is like a faster, looser version of Star Ocean's with the main gimmick, being able to turn into a powerful dragon at will, proving extremely useful during the surprisingly difficult boss fights. There are no random encounters and you can easily avoid most normal encounters, but since fights are snappy grinding is rarely a chore unless you're severely underlevelled.
The English voice acting is dull at times but inoffensive unless you absolutely positively HAVE to hear those glorious Nihongo seiyuu, in which case the Japanese audio is also available. I have yet to notice any obvious censorship or needless localization, which is a solid plus.
The main storyline and voice acting is actually very good... enough so that it kept me playing through most of the game. There is a lot of talking though apart from the main storyline (dating scenes, etc.); those were interesting at first, but I kind of lost interest over time.
The music is excellent. I liked all the j-pop songs scattered throughout. Also, I thought the idea of “armonics” (musical instrument weapons) was kind of neat. The graphics were pretty good (especially since this is originally a game from another system).
Battle system - I actually think they did a decent job on this. It’s kind of action/adventure battle like a “Tales of” game. Sometimes the AI of your other party members isn’t the best, but usually you can work around it.
Leveling!!! This is the reason I couldn’t find the motivation to complete this game. Characters not in your party don’t gain experience, but the story occasionally puts you in a situation where you have to use only one or two characters. So... everyone needs to be leveled. In town there is a place where you can grind through a somewhat random dungeon, and it’s sometimes required just to level up enough to get through the main story. Idk, just seems like a bad setup to me. I’m okay with grinding, but it was a little too much.
Exploration... there’s basically one town in the whole game. And the outside of that town branches in one of two directions. The main story quests have you constantly walking through areas you’ve been through before. That and a lot of the buildup to the main storyline is just a series of fetch quests that get kind of boring.
The battle camera is a little wonky. That said, you can target an enemy, which usually fixes the issue.
I liked it!! I just didn’t love it.
I beat this game in about 33 hours. Really cheesy typical anime and JRPG elements. Not that much character development except maybe for Yuma (hero), Sonia and Kirika (leading ladies). Dialogue got pretty painful and sometimes dragged and I ended up skipping through a lot of the scenes (thankfully you can do that)!
Game play was fun at the beginning but man, battles started to get annoying and it was too easy even when you play in the more experienced modes. Just load your inventory up on ether, turn into the dragon and have everyone healing you and you will plow right through the game. Most challenging part though was when your party splits off for a brief period of time.
Game did have moments of lag and dips in frame rate on the Switch version, which I’m pretty sure the other versions don’t have.
I admit I enjoyed it and was brainless fun, no real puzzles to deal with. Adding the two extra playable characters Jinas and Excella was a nice touch, but they didn't really add that much to the overall story.