Shining Resonance Refrain Hands-on Impressions from E3 2018

I must admit I was beyond excited when Sega announced last year they would be localizing Shining Resonance Refrain for the western market. When the original Shining Resonance was released back in 2014, it seemed pretty obvious the game wouldn't see the light of day on our side of the ocean shores.

After all, that was over a year after the release of the PlayStation 4 - many people have moved on to the next generation of consoles. I had to make do with a user’s fan translation series on YouTube.

That was great for the time being until that same person suddenly deleted their entire channel, so I was left without for a good while. Everything changed last year thanks to Sega's announcement.


Sure, Shining Resonance Refrain may not fill that Shining Force void many of us have in our hearts, there’s still plenty of potential for this game to be a pretty solid Japanese RPG. The story is set 1,000 years after the death of the last mighty dragon in existence.

While this has been the prevailing perception for many a generation, there is one person who appears to have the soul of a dragon living inside him, and that is Yuma, and the demo started with my group concocting a plan to bust him out of jail after he was imprisoned by an evil empire. There’s never a good empire, is there?

But there’s a reason why the game is called Shining Resonance Refrain. You see, you will have the choice to play the game in either the original or the all-new Refrain mode.

In Refrain, you get access to two new playable characters at your disposal, and it’s designed to be played by those who were more eager than I was and imported the first Japanese release, or are going through their second playthrough. Not only that, but there are new endings that are based on the characters you decide to engage in a romantic relationship with.


The demo began with me as Sonia, a powerful knight carrying a blade whom also serves as the main protagonist of the game, as she storms the castle in search of Yuma. Later on, I took control of a Dragoneer named Kirika who used a bow and magical arrows to dispatch the castle’s guards. Finally, there was Yuma, holding a giant sword able to manage large crowds.

After rescuing Yuma from his shackles and we made our way to the rooftop, a large threat suddenly appeared - a resurrected dragon named Trishula inside of a mechanical shell who was being controlled by Excella, a malevolent princess of the empire using the power of song to manipulate the fierce, flying lizard.

Once I was able to defeat Trishula, Excella summoned two more dragons. Before they could lay waste to our party, Yuma himself unleashing the dragon soul inhabiting inside of him and we were whisked away into the night sky.


While the demo was relatively short, it was still enough time to get a good feel for the game. It is certainly your traditional RPG in the style of Ni no Kuni II in the dungeons or Final Fantasy XII, where you seamlessly transition into battle without cutting away.

Once combat is over, you continued on after a short rundown of the battle results. At any time during the game, I was able to play around with the different options including switching between the Japanese and English voice tracks, both of which are pretty solid all around.

And that’s really the demo in a nutshell - it felt solid, but it’s kind of hard to tell whether the quality of the experience will be sustainable from start to finish. Fortunately, we won’t have to wait long as the title launches on July 10. At the very least, it will seemingly satisfy those hungry for a niche JRPG to enjoy during the summer months.

Enjoyed this article? Share it!