If you missed Shining Resonance the first time round, we’d be willing to forgive you – it was after all a Japan PS3 exclusive.
For those of us who don’t speak Japanese, it’s fantastic to see Shining Resonance Refrain hit almost every platform. That’s right it’s now available for PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and Windows.
What makes this massively significant news is that the repackaged remastered version comes with all the DLC and additional features previously unavailable. The result is an above average package that doesn’t feel like a cash grab. In an age where most games come with a basic package and then hit you up for the DLC, it’s refreshing to see a release where you pay once and get everything.
With upscaled graphics, Shining Resonance does not at all look or feel dated. The game now runs at 1080p, making it especially welcome to anyone with the matching hardware.
Sega really needs to be commended for its decision to breath life into one of its lesser known games. If the move proves to be successful, then the chances are we’ll see more games in the future that previously never made it outside of Japan, hitting our shores.
I’m sure many veteran gamers among us remember the dark days in which the only way to get certain titles was to mod your console and either buy an import or an illegal copy.
In the early 2000s the video game company Square released only a couple of its library of games outside of Japan and the U.S. There was no European distributor and to this day there are several titles that never made it to Europe or Australia legally. Classic games such as Xenogears, Parasite Eve and Chrono Cross, remain to this day unavailable outside of Japan and the U.S.
In the past, consoles were often region locked. Times are changing.
Increasing accessibility of games takes away one of the few legitimate arguments for modding or jail-breaking a console. If all the content is legally available, there is little justification left for tampering with a console’s hardware.
Those that do risk jailbreaking a console will typically lose all online functionality and depending on the console may have their account banned. So for many, the downsides of jailbreaking are starting to heavily outweigh any benefits.
The Nintendo Switch is not region locked. At present, it is simply a case of creating a second account with the country setting listed as Japan.
The catch is that the text on the Nintendo E-store will be in Japanese, as will the majority of games. For a side scrolling shooter this might not be much of a problem but for text heavy games, the result will likely be an incomprehensible nightmare for anyone who can’t understand the language.
The Playstation had a similar albeit more complicated work around for those wishing to access the US or Japan PSN stores.
Naturally the best solution of course is to have the option to buy the games domestically in the first place. With games such as Shining Resonance Refrain, we are starting to see that there is a demand for these games. The bottom line is that they will only continue to be repackaged as long as it is profitable.
It’s a bit of a no brainer for companies like Sega. Repackaging an older game is a lot more cost effective than developing something from scratch. Particularly when you are marketing in a country that has never had access to it before.
Low production costs mean that the game can afford to not be a high seller. That said, it still needs to be profitable, and the stronger the response the more we’ll see this approach in the future.