Japanese Games of Thrones anyone ???
- Developer: Media Vison / O-Two
- Publisher: SEGA
- Genre: JRPG ( Japanese Role Playing Game )
- Release Date: 10/7/18
- Platforms: XB1, PS4, Windows
- Reviewed on: Xbox 1 X on 4k Samsung TV
- Game Supplied by: SEGA
Shining Resonance was originally released on the PS3 4 years ago only in Japan, so although to some it’s a HD remaster, to the rest in the world it’s been a ten year wait for a new Shining game. As it’s technically a remaster there is a smorgasbord of new content for the western fans that were paid DLC to the Japanese in the original version, and what a new great entry for western fans it is.
As you can see from the introduction text, there is a deep lore here, despite the jovial, childish cartoon anime presentation, to really sink your teeth into. Great characters reveal themselves along the way, but that does also raise one negative. The character you play as ( Yuma Ilvern ) a young man who is still to have one of the last few dragons soul entwined into his, is frankly, a bit of a winy whinging weak brat.
However his supporting cast are so infectious it’s easy to overlook this and enjoy the story unfold.
You are soon thrown into the gameplay mechanics, and are pleasantly surprised to find it’s an action RPG as the battles are real time hack and slash ( no turn based stuff here ) and the controls are very fluid and responsive. There are basic attacks, heavier attacks ( called Break Attacks ) , Force abilities, which are special but limited attacks you can use like magic, and finally form shifting where you can turn into a Dragon for massive damage to enemies, but limited movement. What’s pleasing about all this is that it’s very simple, responsive and easy to express how you want to fight. Add to this there is a variety as you can play as one of four characters all who have different weapons and battle styles for you to mix things up a little. One could be a long range bow expert, another a short range fast sword master, etc.
Graphically, although the artwork is fantastic as it’s painted and designed by the excellent and renowned artist, Tony Taka, the settings and detail is like most Japanese JRPG’s, bland when compared to their western counterparts. As a seasoned JRPG fan myself, I am used to it, but new players will find it jarring and a bit too basic at first glance. There is basically, a huge lack of textures, rendering, detail, and life in everything, so it’s all a bit sterile, but that is kind of the Anime, JRPG way.
To progress the game, you simply follow the direction arrow on the map, find and area, battle your way to the way markers, set off a scene or event, or boss, and then rinse repeat.
As well as the excellent story, characters and solid gameplay, there are the normal amount of other things to do in the game, side missions, upgrades, shopping, talking to NPC’s to find information and just general larking about. What is different is the ability to have “relationships” and go on dates with your characters. Bit weird, yes, but getting into a relationship helps bond the team, and makes you a better fighting force, so worth the effort.
The music and audio is excellent, and varied, and this is needed for a long game. I loved the sword effects of slashing and hitting and other special attack sounds as they feel exciting and powerful, and the presentation is also top notch and simple all round.
Finally, and most confusingly, when you start the game there are two options for the story. Original Mode or Refrain Mode. Each gives a brief explanation of what they are but aren’t very helpful. Cutting a boring reason why as short as I can, it’s simply that Refrain mode has two extra playable characters in it, that were originally part of the DLC for the PS3 version ( see I told you it was boring ) and don’t really make sense to include them in your party from the start in Refrain mode, but you have the option. They don’t change the story in any way, so all in all a lot of to do about nothing!
Although I’ve been really pleased with Shining Resonance, it is still too much like most other JRPG’s to really stand out. It’s just a solid good, same as the others game. I really enjoyed the story and fun gameplay as for me they, ahem….., RESONATED ( sorry ) very well. However the gameplay does, ahem…… DRAGON ( get it ) a bit too much and does become repetitive after a while. I personally don’t mind this as it’s what i expect from JRPG’s to rank up and just enjoy.
Either way, it’s noticeable that XBOX is trying to add more JRPG’s to its library and this is a solid, fun title for Xbox gamers to get stuck into. PS owners however, will find this right in the middle of the JRPG’s when compared to the plethora of JRPG’s they the option to play, but still a solid title for them, none the less.