Friday, February 23, 2018

Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology (3DS) Review

I love good time travel in stories, but most don't do it justice.  So when I heard about Radiant Historia, I was anxious to try it.  It came out at a time when I could reliably play my DS at work on breaks and lunch (at a well-known first-party video game compaNy), and I was hooked.  I spent 50 hours on it, and finished all the history nodes.  The Perfect Chronology release on the 3DS will let others experience the game, but also adds some new content to entice previous players.  Among the changes are new character portraits, art CGs for certain scenes, and voice acting.

As the continent's desert spreads and arable land becomes scarce, the fighting has intensified.  Stocke must travel between two divergent timelines to end the conflict between two warring nations.  The time lines are separate, but do influence each other, so changes and progress in one can help with the other.  The time travel mechanic is very well done here, as you are allowed to jump around to many points in order to compete a quest, or advance the game.  This release sees more nodes to jump to, and a very handy "skip" function for previously viewed story scenes.  Some of these are less noticeable, especially if you played the game 6 years ago, but they are very welcome improvements.

Battles are turn-based, but based on a character's speed stat.  Your party is on the right side, and the enemies are distributed on a 3x3 grid on the left.  The bottom screen shows the battle's turn order, and where enemies are on the grid.  While this is usually obvious, this is to tell similar enemies apart, and to better spot how much space an enemy takes up.

Enemies can move on their side, but your characters have tools to move the enemies as well.  If your party members take their moves immediately after each other, it creates a combo.  If you push one enemy into another, then hit them, they will both take the damage from the attack or spell.  This is the depth of the system.  Shove the enemies around the field to stack them together, unleash stronger attacks, and conserve your MP by hitting multiple targets with fewer moves.  You can even change where in the line your character acts by trading places with an ally or enemy.  However, doing so means you will take more damage until your turn.  It's a really cool and unique system once you get the hang of it.  It makes many fights much easier.  I really like the tactical aspects of the battles in Radiant Historia.

The bulk of the new story additions (as opposed to just changes) are the Vault of Time, and Nemesia's quests.  At the start of the game, you can choose to play the game how it was originally presented, with the new stuff added at the end, or with the new content strewn throughout.  I chose to have them integrated, which I think is the better choice.  That way you can jump in and out of the extra stuff when you want some extra experience and items.  Nemesia's quests are very much like side quests in the main game.  The Vault of Time is basically there to make grinding easier, and it has some nice equipment that can save you some money.  Just remember to spend your mementos before you leave.  I like both of these additions, since I do enjoy "what if" scenarios, but they ultimately feel superfluous.

The original release took about 50 hours for full completion, and the newer release definitely adds at least a few more hours.  Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology is still a great RPG with a great story and interesting combat mechanics.  There is no 3D for the game, possibly because it is a remake.  I would heartily recommend it to RPG fans that missed it the first time.  The new content is great for returning players that really liked the original and want to play it again.  If you already played it and don't want to revisit it, the new content isn't enough of a reason to.

The Good:
Solid and entertaining story, fun battle mechanics.  Time travel is done very well.

The Bad:
Money is still hard to come by in the first half of the game, and the new stuff doesn't feel that important overall.

The SaHD:
When filling out all of the bad endings, Lippti and Teo sure like to chide you for "poor" choices.  It's not bad decision making, it's completion, fools!

(Review code for Radiant Historia was received from the publisher)

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