Radiant Historia is among the ranks of Chrono Trigger, Dragon Warrior VII and Tales of Phantasia, just to name a few time travel RPGs. Atlus has released a game where the focus is not only telling a story with time travel but with a alternate timeline as well. The story intertwines between the two timelines to learn skills and accomplish tasks.
You begin the game as the red scarfed Stocke of Alistel on a mission to collect intelligence for Heiss, who also entrusts you with the White Chronicle. Heiss says to tell no one of the White Chronicle and it seems as though no one knows the power of the White Chronicle besides the main character. Quickly, it’s discovered the White Chronicle is for time travel, or more specifically, to visit Radiant Historia to travel to nodes in the timelines.
Another interesting aspect of the time travel is completing optional side quests for the people you meet along the way. Some may not be able to be completed until well in the game, while others can be accomplished within a few minutes. The rewards very greatly from the simple monetary gift and multiple common items from the stores to strong weapons and even skills for the heroes.
The battle system is a unique 3×3-grid system for the characters and another for the enemies. Master this system, and the battle can easily swing into the heros’ favor. The heroes can use skills to shift the enemies into different positions on the grid to rack up a better combo attack. Since a display shows the order the characters will move, the battle inputs can be used to strategically maximize the damage output. Basically, a hero could shift an enemy into the same box of the grid as another, and a second hero could use a strong attack that hits that one box to hit two enemies at the same time. Of course, more complex combos can be made to devastate the opposition.
Level grinding may become an issue later in the game, especially if running from (or avoiding) non-story related battles. Though the rule of thumb with RPGs is never avoid a battle, having a very successful strategy for bosses can easily make regular battles later on become long and life threatening without boosting the levels. Having a good stock of items and keeping properly equipped with the strongest weapons at every available opportunity for the entire party should keep the levels in check, even if it is tempting to hold off to get the next weapon after the chapter finishes. Higher levels has other benefits besides higher stats of course. Most skills can only be learned by increasing the level, many of which will impact how the battle strategy will proceed.
I enjoyed the art style very much. The over world was reminiscent o the late-SNES-era RPGs with the characters having heads almost the size of the rest of the body. The pop-out characters during dialogue gives good detail of the characters, as well as keeps the story easier to follow.Of course this has been around since the PlayStation2 and GameBoy Advance era.
It’s a very engaging story that will keep the gameplay going to find out what happens next as well as why.
Radiant Historia was released by Atlus Feb. 22, 2011.
The official website is http://www.atlus.com/radianthistoria/?.