Shining Resonance Refrain

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Shining Resonance Refrain Game Poster Image
Huge adventure has slow intro but develops into grand tale.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 11+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Players are tasked with fighting against evil, but only method available to resolve disputes is combat.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Game's main protagonist is Yuma Ilvern, who vows to stop evil Empire from exploiting power of ancient dragons. While he's noble and brave, he's willing to fight, kill, even transform into a dragon to defeat enemies. But he's reluctant to use his power outside of extreme circumstances.

Ease of Play

Simple controls, easy to learn thanks to a mandatory tutorial level.


No blood or gore, but fights center around real-time combat against creatures (dragons, demons) and human soldiers. You'll use weapons such as swords as well as magic; hero can transform into a dragon. Cries of pain heard as you defeat opponents.


There's a mission where party members dress in bikinis to advertise for a client. Characters can be seen wearing low-cut tops that reveal swaying/jiggling cleavage. One hot-springs sequence shows topless characters, with their breasts covered by water (no nipple detail). Game also has a slight "dating sim" element: You can court young women through dialogue sequences.


"S--t," "hell," and "damn" used in dialogue.


Previously available downloadable content (DLC) is included for free with this game.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

An inebriated man in one town talks about sake (Japanese rice wine), while another (and more intoxicated) man asks for some more "juice."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Shining Resonance Refrain is a Japanese role-playing game (JRPG) for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs. It features plenty of combat -- mostly against creatures like demons and dragons -- using weapons like swords and magic; one character can even transform into a dragon himself. There's no blood or gore shown in fights, although there are some cries of pain. Some women are shown wearing revealing clothing, including bikinis at one point. In one scene, they're topless while sitting in some hot springs (although no nipples can be seen under the water). There are two instances of intoxicated men in the game, and swearing in dialogue includes "s--t," "hell," and "damn."

User Reviews

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Teen, 14 years old Written byGamersnews32 February 14, 2020

This is the type of JRPG to recommend to beginners, and I LOVED it!

I was pretty excited to play Shining Resonance: Refrain. And luckily the game doesn't disappoint. It is an adventure JRPG set in the best looking anime wor... Continue reading

What's it about?

SHINING RESONANCE REFRAIN stars Yuma Ilvern, who vows to stop the Empire from exploiting the power of ancient dragons --including the soul of a "Shining Dragon" inside of him. With the help of his friends, he must explore the fictional land of Astoria, complete missions for townsfolk, gain new party members, and battle enemies on the way to stopping this evil force. Along with updated graphics from the original PlayStation 3 game, and a new mode (called Refrain), you'll have access to previously unplayable characters (like Princess Excella and Dragonslayer Jinas) and downloadable content (DLC) as you engage in real-time combat with foes, get stronger over time, and work with the Dragoneers to complete the adventure.

Is it any good?

Despite the slow start and clichéd, campy story, this role-playing game (RPG) is very fun and visually impressive, and it has lots of content to keep players entertained for a while. In Shining Resonance Refrain, you play as an amnesiac, modest protagonist who has a special power and finds out he's destined to lead this rebellion against an evil empire (like many Japanese RPGs). Playing from a third-person view, you'll run around locations, talk to townsfolk to unravel more of the story (and enlist help), and of course, engage in battles against enemy fighters. When you walk into a hot spot, a blue ring encircles both your party and your enemies, and everyone readies their weapons. You can select and control any character in your party, triggering a basic attack or a break attack that can be used once you've built up enough XP (experience points) to inflict even more damage on an enemy. Of course, you must wait to build up the meter again once powerful blows are struck. Special attacks can be engaged, too, such as the lead character, Yuma, transforming into a Shining Dragon, providing he has enough MP (magic points). There's even some absurd fighting elements that are entertaining. For instance, later in the game, you'll unlock a special team-based attack called B.A.N.D., which is tied to the game's music and involves a guitar-like weapon called Armonic that can be used like a huge ax.

Resonance is fun, thanks to its engaging real-time combat, fun cast (with smart character growth), and high production values. The game has pretty graphics, smooth animation, and great (though overly dramatic) English voice talent -- and the extra content like the Refrain mode and extra DLC content is also a treat for fans of the franchise. But make sure you stick it out past the first hour or so, because the gameplay drags at the beginning; plus, there are some slowdown and camera issues that are frustrating. But for fans of JRPGs, Shining Resonance Refrain hits all of the right game notes.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about sex, gender, and body image in games. Why is it that many Japanese role-playing games like Shining Resonance Refrain have women who wear revealing clothing, such as short skirts and ample cleavage? Is it simply part of the anime culture, which doesn't have the same impact on Western audiences? Or does it portray negative stereotypes that should be challenged and abandoned?

  • Is the impact of the violence in Shining Resonance Refrain affected by the unrealistic combat you participate in, such as fighting dragons and turning yourself into a dragon? Would it be intensified if the visuals were more graphic and not as cartoonish?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love role-playing games

Themes & Topics

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