The story follows the journey of two young people: the wild and straightforward Toma (who grew up amongst a tribe of nomads) and the sharp-tongued and well read Cyrille (who was raised by her grandfather, a famed historian who instilled her with a love of reading). They seek the legendary holy sword Shining Force, which was used by the hero Grant to defeat an ancient god of evil in the distant past. Legend states that the wielder of Shining Force would become King, but amidst rising tensions between the powerful Noswald Empire and its armies of War Beasts on one side and the Land of Fyrlandt (home of the demon-like Magnus) on the other, things aren't quite so simple...
The two main characters Toma and Cyrille, along with Reimsianne La Vaes and a number of her followers, appear in Project X Zone.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: Reimsianne, leader of the demonic Magnus, is explicitly mentioned as having taken power by defeating the previous ruler in battle.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: The leaders of both factions (Ragnadaam III of the Noswald Empire and Reimsianne La Vaes of the Magnus) are both noted as being extremely powerful, with Ragnadaam often taking to the front lines alongside his troops and Reimsianne climbing to the top of the Magnus' might makes right society.
- Big Bad/ Big Good: Ragnadaam III, Emperor of the Noswald Empire is Big Good to the empire while Big Bad to the Magnus. Reimsianne La Vaes, ruler of Fyrlandt, is the Big Good to the Magnus while Big Bad to the Noswald Empire. Malxatra, the evil god, is the overall Big Bad.
- Been There, Shaped History: The robot Adam was present when the legendary hero Grant battled Malxatra over three thousand years before the game begins. He was unfortunately separated from the larger battle when the part of Malxatra's castle he was fighting in collapsed and fell out of the sky.
- Boisterous Bruiser
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Duga, a wolfman, makes his first appearance working for Smug Snake Phillip. The heroes learn that he's been put under mind control, and free him from it.
- Toma himself falls victim to this in Chapter 11, when Reimsianne kisses him. She admits that it's a pity, as she was rather fond of his boyish and defiant attitude, but her need for the power of Shining Force was more important that her own interests. This receives a Call-Back in Project X Zone, where Reimsianne tries once again to take control of Toma. Luckily, Morrigan Aensland is equally good at freeing men from charms as she is imprisoning them.
- A Child Shall Lead Them: Neither Imperial nor Magnus can believe that Toma, a hot-headed teenager, is the Heritor and wielder of Shining Force, finding him immature. Ragnadaam believes that the other Heritor Cyrille will be more amendable.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: It's hard not to see this as part of the reason Cyrille is so irate when Toma seems to let himself get seduced by Reimsianne. In a later chapter, she even slaps him when Toma tells her Reimsianne kissed him (in order to put him under her mind control) and generally acts as though he cheated on her.
- Likewise, Toma is similarly irked when Ragnadaam secretly meets with Cyrille and compliments her beauty, even granting her a jewel from the royal treasury. Though ultimately, he's more angry at the fact Cyrille keeps hiding things from him even when it's important.
- Doomed Hometown: Toma mentions in a conversation with Cyrille that his people, a tribe of wanderers, were caught in the middle of a battle between the Noswald Empire and the Magnus. He notes, "I made it out in one piece. Most weren't so lucky."
- Deuteragonist: The game is as much about Cyrille as it is about Toma. In addition, the player can choose whether to play as Toma (a close combat fighter) or as Cyrille (a magic-user).
- Fatal Flaw: Cyrille's tendency to keep things to herself causes her a lot of problems. The events of Chapter 10 when Cyrille attempts to hide her meeting with Ragnadaam from Toma are one big example, Toma being angered at the fact Cyrille doesn't appear to trust Toma with anything.
- Friendless Background: Cyrille. She tells Toma that as a child, she grew up surrounded by books.
- Fire and Brimstone Hell: The land of Fyrlandt, ruled by Riemsianne La Vaes, resembles one.
- Magitek: The Geo Fortress is powered by the energy given off by Shining Force, but is a technological marvel with the ability to transform into an offensive Cannon Mode and defensive Repair Mode, plus an internal factory to produce robotic soldiers.
- God of Evil: Malxatra is described as this.
- Hypocrite: Part of the reason Toma is so upset with Cyrille after Ragnadaam sneaks into her room and meets her in secret there during Chapter 10. When Reimsianne secretly met with Toma at the end of Chapter 7 and tried to seduce him into joining her side, Toma outright rejected her and upon meeting Cyrille quickly explained what had happened. When Cyrille admits she was so furious with him drooling over Reimsianne she stopped eavesdropping, Toma scolds her for not trusting in him and listening till the end. When Ragnadaam meets with Cyrille, she not only doesn't outright refuse his offer of working together, she also accepts a jewel from him and tries to keep the meeting secret. Toma even watched till Ragnadaam left, expecting Cyrille to reject the chance of working with him, but was disappointed. It shatters his faith in her.
- Let Them Die Happy: One of the things Cyrille tries to hide from Toma is the fact that the previous wielders of Shining Force didn't live long. She herself is fully aware of it, but thinks it's better he doesn't know so he won't get depressed, afraid or angry at that fate. He is livid when he does find out, because he can't believe Cyrille didn't trust him to make his own decisions.
- Might Makes Right: The Magnus live by this code, and the title "La Vaes" is given to the strongest and therefore most worthy to lead.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Toma feels this way in Chapter 11, after yelling at Cyrille over keeping secrets from him. He comes to terms with it, deciding she must have good reasons to keep things secret.
- No Social Skills: Both Toma and Cyrille have this problem. Toma is somewhat tactless and overly straightforward, while Cyrille is sharp-tongued and cutting.
- Poor Communication Kills: Cyrille's insistence on keeping things hidden (like her possessing Shining Force as well and her reasons for not wanting Shining Force found) bites her badly when Toma feels bitter at the fact he tries to be open with her, while she constantly hides things from him.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Members of Toma's party who either served in or grew up in the Noswald Empire consider Emperor Ragnadaam III to be this. For example, the second time he arrives at the Geo Fortress to convince Toma to lend the power of Shining Force to the Noswald Empire, he leaves when Toma informs him one of his commanders used the citizens of one of the Empire's villages as slave labour, deciding that it was more important to investigate the charges than continue the discussion.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: In Chapter 10, Toma snaps at Cyrille, accusing her of, among other things, constantly keeping things to herself (despite knowing things) and being totally unwilling to open up to people despite their best efforts. He even tells her he doubts she was even being sincere about wanting to fight side-by-side against Malxatra. Cyrille is actually driven to tears by the last bit, since she genuinely swore to stand with Toma as a fellow Heritor.
- Smug Snake: Noswald Empire commander Philip is definitely this. As long as he has an army with him, he mocks and demeans the heroes. Once they have him cornered, however, he becomes a cowering wreck.
- Wham Episode: The end of Chapter 10 has Toma finally snap after chapter after chapter of Cyrille finding fault with him and keeping secrets.