The city of Marga functions as your base of operations throughout the entirety of Shining Resonance Refrain, and you’ll be spending a lot of time there. Luckily, there’s plenty to see and do. If it’s story you’re interested in, keep an eye out for little speech bubbles on the map. If you go to the bubble and interact with the character you’ll get to see an optional scene that’s either funny, has some interesting character development, or a lore drop. Some of the best story moments in Shining Resonance Refrain happen through these optional scenes, so definitely check them out.
On the other side of things, you’ll also see characters with little icons that look like a piece of paper. These NPCs will give you little quests to undertake, that usually consist of killing a certain amount of a specific enemy or gathering items. They’re very simple, but the easiest thing to do is just run around Marga and pick up a ton of them. Don’t go out of your way to complete these quests if you don’t want, but by activating them you’ll be able to complete many by simply playing regularly, and then cash in the next time you’re in Marga.
There’s a lot about Shining Resonance Refrain that sticks to the “classic” style of JRPGs, and that includes the need to grind. At multiple points in the story, you’ll be pretty underleveled compared to enemies in the next area, or an upcoming boss. The easiest way to combat this is by talking to a character named Alfrieda, and using her Grimoire to delve into the game’s dungeons. Alfrieda can be found just to the left of the Seagull Inn, or at any of the campsites around the world. You can choose from a variety of themed dungeons, and items called Sigils can even add various effects on, like making a certain enemy type appear or boosting the item drop rate.
An especially useful Sigil is the Egg Hunt one, which makes valuable egg enemies appear that can grant you massive amounts of gold, experience, materials, or level up your tuning. Taking some time out of your adventure to run through a dungeon or two will do nothing but help, so make sure to do it every now and then.
Traits are one of the more confusing aspects of character customization in Shining Resonance Refrain, and they essentially function as titles for characters. The trait you have equipped on each character decides how they interact with other party members during battle, and the Resonance that can take place. Resonances can boost stats temporarily, or cause a variety of other effects. Outside of combing through the game’s tutorials again, the best way to get a feel for how Traits work is simply equipping different ones and seeing what happens.
Generally, Traits that create a green link will be focused on healing and support, yellow links will boost character abilities, blue ones correspond to a rivalry between two specific characters, and a red link can have practically anything happen. Just keep swapping things around and see what happens.
With a fast-paced action combat system, it can be easy to forget to take advantage of certain mechanics during combat in Shining Resonance Refrain. The B.A.N.D. system is the most important thing to use constantly, whenever the gauge on the left side of the screen has at least one level in it. By using BAND you can increase the damage you do, decrease the damage you take, or add another kind of effect. Again, experiment with this system by putting different characters in the middle of the session, and see which effect fits your combat style the best.
The easier thing to forget is the tactics you can issue during battle on the fly. By hitting up on the D-pad, you can command the entire party on how they should approach battle; don’t attack, heal first, act freely, or offensive. This is going to be your greatest tool to adapting in battle, especially during boss battles. At the same time, you can use the other directions on the D-pad to command specific characters, asking them to heal or buff you, or attack an enemy you have targeted. It’s a lot to keep track of, but even just using the general command for the whole party will work wonders with keeping everyone alive.
Shining Resonance Refrain has some tough boss battles, especially when you have to face multiple bosses in a row. Because of this, it’s often best to play as Yuma during bosses, because of his ability to turn into the Shining Dragon. Yuma’s dragon form is immensely powerful, and even more so if you’re in the middle of a BAND session. Of course, there is the chance the dragon will go berserk and wreak havoc on your party, but activating BAND when he goes berserk can snap him out of it. About halfway through the game, you will unlock a new form for the dragon that eliminates the possibility of it going berserk.
If you find yourself having trouble with a specific boss, switch to Yuma and use his dragon form, but ensure you have at least one bar in the BPM gauge to stop his berserk. It can be an easy way to give yourself that extra push toward beating the battle.