Oone of the best games in the Nintendo DS library was that of Atlus radiant historya wonderful JRPG in the vein of 16- and 32-bit classics, with beautiful sprite art, a moving soundtrack, and gripping premise and gameplay mechanics. radiant history was a great game, but sadly it ended up being largely ignored. It came at the end of the DS’s life, when attention turned to the then newly released 3DS, and saw limited release in North America, and none in Europe.
Now it’s been given a second chance, though, as yet again, it’s in a particularly unenviable position – it’s releasing on the Nintendo 3DS (albeit worldwide this time), but it’s releasing after the release of the Switch, and watch out for 3DS games, new or old, seem to be minimal. And it’s really a shame, because radiant history has always been a wonderful game – and in its Perfect timeline It’s a real classic.
First, let’s weed out the new additions for anyone who’s played the original DS before and wants to know what new stuff this 3DS remake brings to the table, and if it’s worth it: the 3DS game adds a new, third timeline, voice acting, a new art style, a new animated opening of A-1, new music, including a new theme song and new artwork for the events. What’s even better about all of this is the clever way new additions are integrated – for example, to access new content, you can simply choose to play “Perfect Mode” from the start, which immediately sets the third timeline in the foreground. Otherwise, especially if you are a newcomer, you can always choose to play in normal mode and play radiant history as it was on the DS (albeit with new voice acting and new art), then when finished, play a new game plus to see the new content for yourself.
“Agent Stocke finds himself mired in the hopelessly labyrinthine politics of this war, and in the course of a mission gone wrong, sees his comrades fall and be captured.”
It’s a very smart way to juggle these additions to a game that has a small, but very vocal fan base and the way Atlus handled that I’m sure they won’t end up alienating all the fans. Conversely, however, is the new art. the original radiant history had a very understated and grounded look, an art that was completely unlike most other JRPGs on the market. Perfect timeline goes with a more anime look, and while I think the game still looks very well, there will be those who prefer what it looked like before – hopefully they’ll give the new look an honest chance with an open mind, because even though it’s different, I think it still works, and more importantly complements the voice acting very well.
With all that out of the way, assuming you’re a newcomer, what exactly are you getting yourself into here? Well, radiant history is a JRPG that tackles the story of a world on the brink of ruin, with an encroaching desert shrinking the area of habitable land and driving nations to war. Special Agent Stocke finds himself mired in the hopelessly labyrinthine politics of this war, and during a mission gone wrong, finds his comrades falling and being captured – except he has in his possession a curious book called the White Chronicle. The White Chronicle gives him the ability to travel through time, where he must navigate two alternate timelines as he attempts to restore what should have been the world’s “true” history and save humanity from ruin. that she provoked on herself. .
You may have noticed that I’m as vague as possible about the story, because it’s an amazing tale, and revealing even a tiny bit of it feels like I’m doing an injustice to it. What I can tell you is that the story is worth the investment and the payoff is fantastic.
radiant history makes this premise its central gameplay mechanic as well, allowing you to travel to any “node” in the story (where the timeline branches), to try to correct your mistakes and move the story into the right direction. direction. Just seeing the immediately vast effects of your choices and decisions is mesmerizing and makes time jumping an actively enjoyable experience, even if it can feel like you’re trying to navigate your way in the dark until to the good end.
“radiant history makes this premise its central gameplay mechanic as well, allowing you to travel to any “node” in the story (where the timeline branches out), to try to correct your mistakes and move the story around in the good direction.
It helps that the story is populated by a very likable cast (including a protagonist who strays from the genre norm), which, in turn, is aided by sharp writing and very good voice work – and if you don’t like voice work, you’re always free to go to the menu and turn it off.
It also helps that the actual meat and bones of the gameplay are fantastic – in addition to all the previously mentioned visual novel / choose your adventure style time jump mechanic, radiant history has a wonderfully inventive combat system; it’s turn-based, and you get your standard attack/defense/item options, but by placing players on a 3×3 battle grid, it makes the act of positioning extremely important and makes composition of the group a much more complex process than it would otherwise be. In a way, it’s reminiscent of Atlus’ own Etrian Odyssey series, which places a similar emphasis on party placement.
This mechanic becomes particularly compelling, as you learn how to move characters around the grid, which means that, used correctly, you can now unleash devastating damage on enemies (or defend your characters from attack). This also helps you have full control over the turn order of your party members and enemies – you can see the actual turn order at all times, and when it lands on a character you control, you also have the ability to swap their turn with someone else – friend or foe – right away. This, again, adds a glorious layer of strategy and nuance to the combat system, leading to wonderful chained multi-turn combos by moving characters around, across the field, and shuffling the order of their turns to s ensure the correct moves are fired in the correct order.
It all ties together into a very nice package as far as presentation goes – the game looks great, although again the new art may end up putting off a few fans, and the music is also wonderful. Don’t get me wrong, though, this is a DS game at its roots, and it looks distinctly like a game – but given how accomplished the presentation in the DS original was, it’s not exactly a slight against Radiant Historia: Perfect Timeline the least.
All in all, it’s a wonderful JRPG – and if you’re a fan of the genre and still have a 3DS somewhere, I can’t urge you to pick it up and play this game enough, especially if you never played the original there.
This game has been tested on Nintendo 3DS.
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