Shining Resonance Refrain follows one individual that has been rescued by a group, this is a special person as they're connected with a dragon. Dragons are a big deal and the group has decided to try and gain assistance in their battle against an opposing faction that has dragons as well. It's a very typical JRPG experience, one that's quite hardcore in presentation and very difficult. I found it rather unwelcoming in that regard, but for those that are a fan of this genre it's a true take on it. There's a narrative that follows the core group, but it really wasn't too developed.
Events just sort of happen and you go along with it, the real tale here is with the team members you manage. Aside from the cinematic segments there are also softer times during camp fires where romance options and extra dialogue choices come into play. There's a lengthy story here split into chapters and a lot of that comes from working within the world. It's difficult so I spent a fair bit of time grinding out random enemies that lined the paths to bosses, not a great way to experience things.
There are some real technical aspects to Shining Resonance Refrain and those that master the systems will do well. I had troubles mastering this element, but have seen others run it beautifully. Basically battles are small rings of conflict with instant action. You're managing a squad including their abilities, health and special powers that can be unleashed. All of these aspects can be modified during quieter moments and it's essential to do so. Each character has their own combative style and you have to manage how they're interacting during combat to make them more effective.
There are many types of creatures to fight with distinct looks and levels, this is carried into the choice of items to collect. These items can be transformed and are of great assistance in regards to making your team stronger. The visuals were fine, I wasn't blown away by them considering how aged the game is though the 4k resolution on Xbox One X was nice. It was a colorful experience from regular walking around to the combat which was full of particle effects. I just generally found the worlds to be rather empty and limited.
Shining Resonance Refrain is a rather difficult JRPG that will be great for hardcore fans, but unwelcoming for most. I found it too difficult to enjoy with many weird fluctuations in terms of how challenging it was. There were calm moments where I did well and other times where fights would never end or I'd die almost instantly.
Death is another important mention as it works from save points, so losing sends you to the main menu and you have to load in all over again. I thought the characters were fine, more development would have been better for the tale as events do sort of just happen. It looks fine visually though definitely aged, there's a ton of DLC added from its Playstation 3 origins. There's also a special extra mode that introduces new party members, but this is best played after an initial playthrough.
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Shining Resonance Refrain Review on Xbox One X
Review Code Provided by SEGA