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 Post subject: Radiant Historia
PostPosted: March 1st, 2011, 7:03 am 
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New JRPG for the NDS.

In a war between Alistel and Granorg, you play as Stocke of Alistel's Special Intelligence(certified badasses) and on your first mission, come into possession of a mysterious tome - the White Chronicle. Your mission goes awry and you find that with the White Chronicle, you can turn back time as you please with certain restrictions. You can't choose exactly when you roll back to, only to certain major turning points which the White Chronicle records, and that time still flows for you, so your wounds still remain and you still age. With these newfound powers, you must guide the world back on a right path and avoid an impending crisis that will soon doom the world. The setting is fantasy for most part, but the Allistel have magic based technology which results in robot/golem things. Also one of the party members has a gun. But people mostly swing swords at each other, cast magic or shoot arrows.

Basically the time travel mechanic is more of a story telling device than a proper gameplay sorta thing. But basically theres one turning point where you can choose between two factions, which causes a split in the progression of history so to speak. So you progress on one path, and find that you can't proceed because you lack certain equipment or skills. So you jump into the other timeline, move forward and acquire what you need. So through the progression of two parallel timelines, you bring both forward in the most favourable way. Like you need bombs to get past a cave to lead an assault on the enemy in one timeline, the alternative being wait for them to come which leads to a bad ending(the game is littered with these choose A or B and one of them is a bad end, which is amusing at first then just feels a bit unnecessary). A merchant is supposed to deliver the bombs. By jumping into the alternate timeline and rescuing the merchant, it somehow influences the original timeline and the merchant arrives on time to deliver the goods. Although others are more direct, you need to learn a stealth skill to sneak past overwhelming amount of enemies at some point, and you get to learn it in the other timeline. The time travel mechanic extends to sidequests as well, some people might want something that you can only get in the future, so you get it later on then jump back for your reward and stuff like that.

Either way the time travel gimmick is interesting and I think it lends itself nicely to the story. Gameplay wise, well its just kinda something you do. Its not too big a deal, the game is still linear setting aside the random bad ends you can view and you don't really got any choice where to jump to progress the plot.

Gameplay is interesting. You got the usual world exploration. Enemies aren't random but are instead visible characters that skulk around like in the Tales games(at least Abyss) and Xenosaga. You can swing your sword at them, which can knock them out giving you initiative in combat if you choose to engage. If they get you from behind, then its the reverse. You later gain the ability to set off explosive barrels, which can instantly get rid of enemies but is mostly used to get past obstacles for treasure chests and stuff. A good chunk into the game, you gain the godly STEALTH ability, which reduces your mana over time(pretty slowly) and lets you ignore any enemies. Which is a very nice convenient thing to have at certain parts.

Battle system. You got the usual turn based system. You got three characters out, no movement or formations. Take turns using attacks or skills. Now here is the interesting part.
The enemies are situated on a 3x3 grid. Some of your characters have a variety of skills that allow you to bash your enemies around their field. Knocking them into the backrow reduces the damage they do, but they take less damage as well. Also you can knock your enemies into one another, clumping them up(for the duration of a chain of attacks, they come apart after you cease attacking) and allowing you to hit them all with powerful single target abilities and stuff.
Now to facilitate smashing them all together and comboing them to kingdom come, there is the turn switching mechanic. There is a usual row of portraits/whatever, depicting the order of turns of your characters and enemies. It shows up to 10 at any one time. When it is your character's turn, you can switch turns either with your own characters or with the enemies. Now why the hell would I wanna let my enemy go first? Well so all my characters turns come at once allowing me to combo the shit outta them. The longer your combo lasts, the higher damage you do. So you gotta balance between getting the shit beaten out of you with comboing. Maybe instead of comboing right off the bat, you wanna kill off the weaker enemies first.

The graphics are 2D sprites on a 3D playing field. Its nothing too spectacular but its nice enough and works. Character portraits are gorgeous, with the drawback being lack of multiple facial expressions. The characters themselves are interesting enough. Stocke, the main character is a refreshing change from the usual baby main characters that go through their own whiny moments. Being a hard ass special ops man from the get go, he's above the usual babying around a lot of RPG MCs go through. He develops well as a character throughout the game, much more than the others since he's essentially going through a whole lot more with his time travel powers. So here is a cheers to character development minus the angsty nonsense.

Party members all have different specialties allowing for a range of tactics you can employ. Your main character Stocke, which you are stuck with all the way through(can't switch) is a light warrior - his specialty being slapping people around the map. He comes with a fire spell and healing spells, making him very well rounded. The other characters lack his level of map manipulation unless you did some sidequests to get them additional skills. There is some degree of customization, weapons tend to come in two flavours - high attack or high magic. While its no brainer to give the heavy warrior with no spells a high attack weapon, one of the characters Raynie learns an array of elemental spells quite early. So you can either let her be part of the usual knock people around beat down, or instead give her a high magic weapon and focus on spell usage for combo finishers.
I first went with- clump people together and then beat them all simultaneously into oblivion. After a while into the game, I got a character called Aht who is a caster type character but instead of direct damage spells, she lays elemental mines on the opponent's field. Now these mines do way more damage than the direct cast spells. So I'd mostly use her with a party member with a decent array of map manipulation spells. So lay mines, use the mc and other party member to clump the enemies and knock them into the mine for massive ass damage. Later in a sidequest, Aht learned to drop even more powerful mines - and two of them to boot. This effectively broke a good part of the game as it was so damned overpowered.
There are enemies though, who completely cover the field and thats when Aht becomes worthless since she can only lay mines on empty squares. She still works as a healer and has some interesting physical attacks but are piss weak due to her low attack stats. She does learn a sidequest skill which hits 7 times, which in the final boss fight(damn bastard took up the whole field) I managed to use to my advantage. I'd let the boss go for several turns, going on the defensive and allowing myself to take like 7-10 turns in succession. Then I'd let her rip with the 7 hit attack(doing 1 damage per hit), racking up the combo count to ridiculous levels before letting my other two characters lay the smack down. As you do more damage the higher the combo count goes, her turns effectively boosted my other characters damage so much that it was worth doing. So yeah, theres like all sorts of ways you can play your game. Although Aht will likely be the best for most of the game after you get her imo.

The story is pretty good, but its more of how it is told with the time traveling which makes it interesting rather than what it is. But instead of a usual bum trying to take over the world, there is an ongoing war between two nations and later more factions get involved and the heads of the two major nations are essentially no good. And with the world ending and all these guys battling each other for supremacy, you go through some rather interesting scenarios.

But like blah, its hard to talk about it without spoiling stuff. Also the music is pretty gorgeous.


I spent a good 30ish hours completing the game, although I left a fair number of sidequests undone. Its quite engaging, definitely addictive. The story is serious and pretty good, the main character isn't the usual whiny tosser. The lack of humour can make things seem dry at times but everything else makes up for it. The battle system remains fun for a good chunk of the game, with the whole wee combo and knocking your enemies around like bowling pins, smashing them into the air and immolating them altogether and stuff. If you played it nonstop like me, it may wear a bit thin towards the final quarter though, but the stealth ability lets you get past enemies at the risk of being poor and underleveled. But the game isn't that hard really so its not too big a deal.

At its core, its still a traditional JRPG but it has enough new tricks on top so that its still new and refreshing all while having a nostalgic feeling of SNES RPGs. It has decent length for a hand held game, although its probably not something to play on the fly. You kinda just get sucked into it and go YUP UNTIL NEXT CHAPTER or THE NEXT SAVE POINT. It is definitely one of the better JRPGs I've ever played. So if you got a DS lying around and like JRPGS, this is definitely worth your time.

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 Post subject: Re: Radiant Historia
PostPosted: March 7th, 2011, 7:02 pm 
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Well, the description doesn't sound bad - good article! -, but I don't see myself using an NDS any time in the future.

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 Post subject: Re: Radiant Historia
PostPosted: March 19th, 2011, 2:18 am 
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42317 wrote:
but I don't see myself using an NDS any time in the future.

I agree. I have only used mine for 3 hours in the 2 years I've had one. I only have 2 games and don't plan on getting more because I can get any console game I want for $5-15 eventually and the same can't be said for DS games.

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 Post subject: Re: Radiant Historia
PostPosted: March 20th, 2011, 8:18 am 
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I don't even own a DS. But when us cheap people will it, a way presents itself eventually. Not saying its right or anything of course.

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 Post subject: Re: Radiant Historia
PostPosted: March 20th, 2011, 4:47 pm 
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Storm_Shinobi wrote:
I don't even own a DS. But when us cheap people will it, a way presents itself eventually. Not saying its right or anything of course.

I don't care whether it's expensive or cheap. I wouldn't be interested even if it was for free. 99 % of the games are of no interest to me as gaming is not one of my hobbies.

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