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.