It might have been over ten years since anything was officially localised, but it’s nice to see Shining Resonance Refrain released today on PC, bringing us a very belated return (of sorts) to Sega’s old Shining series of JRPGs. While Shining Resonance first launched back in 2014 as one of the PlayStation 3’s later games in Japan, Sega have decided to bless all current platforms – including ours – with this slightly expanded remastering of the game.
While technically part of Sega’s long-running Shining series (Shining Force, Shining in the Darkness, etc), Shining Resonance Refrain is a major departure from previous games. Bearing more similarities to Bandai Namco’s Tales series than anything, this is more of a linear, story-driven action RPG, with a focus on party-based action combat. While you can switch between party members freely and control them yourself, the lead protagonist – Yuma – can transform into a dragon at will, so you’re probably not going to play as anyone else.
The game has a bit of a musical theme running through it, too. In a particularly inspired bit of ridiculous acronym design, as you fight you’ll gain BPM (Battle Performance Mana), which can be spent on magical B.A.N.D. (I have no idea what this stands for) attacks, which not only play a vocal track from the game’s collection of them, but buffs the party and, in some cases, changes your character’s outfits to match the song.
On top of looking nicer and apparently smoothing out some of the PS3 version’s balance issues, the biggest addition to this version of the game is the titular Refrain mode, which adds two villain characters to the party, apparently with their own romance options. While this is available from the start of the game, it’s very much intended for players who have already completed it with the regular set of characters, as it can apparently spoil the story quite badly.