Radiant Historia Review

Site Score
9.0
Good: Great Plot, Gameplay, Presentation
Bad: Time Traveling Can Get Tedious
User Score
9.5
(2 votes)
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When it comes to time traveling, there’s always a consequence involved called the ‘butterfly effect’, according to which changing something in the past—no matter how insignificant—can have a huge effect on the present. In Radiant Historia, players will have to travel through time in order to fix the past that’s been doomed by war and build a present more fitting to live in. Going back and forth through time is one of the key elements that players will have to tackle in Radiant Historia, which makes the traditional Japanese role-playing experience feel more unique and is sure to engage fans of the genre.

The Nintendo DS has been graced with a lot of decent role-playing games over the years. Iis Radiant Historia a must-own game for fans of the genre, or is it just another generic RPG? Let’s take a look in the HOTs and NOTs of the game.

HOT

Great Plot
Radiant Historia follows the story of Stocke, a taciturn operative in the Special Intelligence branch of the military of Alistel Empire. He’s been tasked with escorting an agent safely but, unfortunately, the mission fails. Stocke almost winds up dead himself, but is saved by an old tome called The White Chronicle that he acquired before the mission began. The book itself grants him the ability to travel through time and prevent his tragic downfall. With the White Chronicle, Stocke will also unravel the mystery of the plague that turns people into sand. This marks the beginning of Stocke’s difficult journey, over the course of which he will have to make some difficult decisions using the White Chronicle. By the key decisions he makes throughout the story, players will be able to go back from one past to another and rewrite it to form a better outcome for Stocke and his friends.

Gameplay
The element of time traveling has been done before, mainly in the Chrono series, but Radiant Historia is the game that does it right, allowing players to have a multitude of possible outcomes that change based on the choices the player makes at certain points along the way. When a player has to make a decision and chooses a path that leads to an unfavorable outcome, the player can then go back in time and choose the correct path. Figuring out the correct path is one of the major challenges of the game. Players should get used to going back and forth through time, and they will need to read the text more than once in order to achieve the best outcome. While this can be annoying at times, the player has the option to skip all of the conversations, which helps to speed up the trial and error process.

For fans of the traditional turn-based battle system, Radiant Historia will feel familiar. As soon as the battle starts, up to three players can be selected for a party and the enemies will take position on a 3×3 grid. The damage that the player can deal to the enemies depends on how close the enemies are to the party. Winning a battle in Radiant Historia requires plenty of strategy, but the combat is fun and satisfying overall. The positioning of the enemies on the grid has a large effect on the outcome of the battle, and players will have to be equally careful with where they place their characters. There are no random encounters, as the enemies are visible on the field and players are free to avoid them.

Presentation
When it comes to the graphics, Radiant Historia is average at best. The game uses the traditional sprites that players have seen before, but they are crisp and very detailed for a DS game. The world of Radiant Historia is large and players can expect to go through a lot of beautiful exotic locations, such as the rain forest, towns, and fortresses. Expect no world map in the game as the player progresses through a linear point-and-select method. There is a lot of text and conversations to read, and unfortunately there are no voice-overs to back it up. However, what Radiant Historia does do well is the soundtrack by Yoko Shimomura, the guy behind the music of the Kingdom Hearts series. Expect some of the tunes to touch the players’ emotions as the majority of the music in the game adds significant depth to the exciting story of Radiant Historia.

NOT

Time Traveling Can be Confusing
While playing through Radiant Historia, there are some parts of the story that will no doubt be confusing to many players. After traveling back and forth through the different scenarios and reading through endless texts over and over again, there was a time I got so lost on the story and forgot what happened to the plot and how to move on. Thanks to the White Chronicle, which describes major game events and offers brief hints, I was eventually able to figure out what to do. Still, backtracking is very common in Radiant Historia and it can be a drag.

VERDICT

Editor's Choice AwardPlayers who are itching to play a decent RPG for the Nintendo DS should totally look forward to getting Radiant Historia. The time traveling mechanic used in the game is executed successfully. What will really hook the gamers in Radiant Historia is the enthralling storyline, which offers some very different outcomes depending on what choices the player makes. With that being said, the only downside is replaying certain scenarios over and over, which can get very tiring and annoying. Nevertheless, Radiant Historia is a must-own game for all RPG enthusiasts.

[Editor’s Note: Radiant Historia was reviewed on a Nintendo DS. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]

Radiant Historia Review, 9.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
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1 Comment

  1. Tombot
    February 20, 2011, 4:08 PM

    Nice review, I’m looking forward to this one. But Yoko Shimomura is not a “guy”.

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