JRPG fans rejoice! There’s new land on the horizon.

While no stranger to JRPGs, I’ve never really played any of the Shining series. So when it was announced that the Japan-only Shining Resonance was getting a remaster for worldwide release, I was eager to see what the fuss was all about. Plus it has dating sim elements and a battle system akin to the Tales of series. Guys, this might be my kind of JRPG.

Enter: Sonia!

You start off with Sonia, the sword-wielding crown princess of Astoria, on your way to release Yuma, the main character. During your trek through the dungeon the tutorial pops up, giving you the basics of combat. There’s your normal attack (A-button), which you can chain together to form simple combos. Break attacks (X-button), that function to modify combat. In Sonia’s case, using a Break attack on top of a normal combo allows her to keep up a flurry of stabs. But hold on! You can’t go into battle expecting to spam aforementioned flurry of attacks. Nay. Your character has a gauge for AP (Action Points), that limits the amount of actions you can undertake in a certain duration  of time. Also handy, the ability to dash with the B-button, so as to avoid enemy attacks. Holding down the L-button gives you access to your Force abilities, special attacks that do more damage or heal party members, for example.

Combat is easy to pull off, but nowhere near as flexible as when using combos in the Tales of games. This is a demo of the opening hour, so hopefully the full version will give me the chance to experiment with its system.

After you’ve rescued Yuma, the story switches to Kirika. This bow-wielding Diva of Nature (I did not make up her title, I swear) can pick off enemies from a certain distance and if her tutorial description is anything to go by, she’ll be better off in the back of the party as support. Her Force ability to heal party members certainly lends credence to this.

Following this brief intermission, Sonia (with Yuma) meet up with Kirika to fight Excella.

I’ll just let that sentence stand on its own, because the names rhyme and it brings me so much joy.

What comes next is an impressive battle of our party of three against one of Excella’s three(!) dragons, Trishula. And after all is said and done the demo ends.

Some other points worth mentioning:

  • Navigation is easy to pull off, though the camera can become a bit unwieldy during combat. And when enemies go off screen during a fight, there’s no indicator to tell you where to go. So your only course of action is running around the combat area until you find said enemies.
  • Exploration transitions into battle seamlessly.
  • The graphics, while not setting any benchmarks, are in a pleasant anime style and decent enough. The starting area was a bit generic though.
  • Voice acting is serviceable, but seeing how this is only the beginning it’s understandable there weren’t that many standout moments. The music is pleasant to the ears, with its whimsical charm. And while not available in the demo, the full game will have a Japanese voice track if that’s your preference.
  • Playtime was roughly 30 – 45 minutes.
  • I played on my Switch in handheld mode the entire time.
  • Release date: July 10th 2018.

I’m eager to see what the full game has in store. The ability to carry over your save data from the demo is a welcome bonus, this way you can continue the game past the opener/tutorial.

Also of note: The full game has Refrain mode, an alternate story path with previously unplayable characters Excella (who is best girl) and Jinas available from the start.

The demo was enjoyable, albeit short. And somewhere in the back of my mind I was ready to write it off as “just a remaster”, but the fun tone and cool character designs have piqued my interest. I’d say the demo is worth a try.

BEST GIRL (the dragon is kinda cool too)

Now, bring on the full game so that I can start dating Excella!

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Jason C
Jason is your mild-mannered geek, who refuses to complete a game without seeing all the sidequests.

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