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on September 23, 2014
Radiant Historia instantly pulled me in, and kept me interested for the entire 40+ hour journey. (My completed time was 47:30.) The story is fantastic, and it has the best use of time travel in arguably any game, including Chrono Trigger. (Gasp! Blasphemy!) Very early in the game, you come to a choice, and it splits the timeline in two. There are characters in one storyline that you can't have in the other, and the story splits itself a few times along the way, based on the decisions you make. There are certain side quests you can do that unlock the "best" ending, I'd recommend looking it up first before you play (just because one of them you have to make specific decisions early on) and have a checklist of things to do.

The characters are well designed, and the music is fantastic. The battle system is your party up against a 3x3 grid of your enemies, and combat is turn based. But, you're able to manipulate the turn order, to make sure that you get a heal off before a boss attacks, or bunching up all your characters' turns after having your enemy attack first a few times for a ton of damage at once. Your characters have abilities that move your enemies around the field, and pushing enemies into each other allows you to attack all the enemies on that square in a row, and they stay put until all your characters' turns are done. The way you can use that to your advantage is really intriguing, and makes battles a lot more fun in my opinion. For turn-based combat, battles flow really well, and grinding isn't so... well, grind-ey.

It all comes together into a beautiful package. The DS had quite a lot of good RPGs, but this stands near the very top. If you own a DS and you love RPGs, you can't overlook this game.
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on October 1, 2015
This game arrived on Tuesday. I had researched it a little bit, but had been careful to avoid spoiling anything. I knew it was going to be good, but I wasn't quite expecting to be so enthralled in this mobile masterpiece. I'm about 5-6 hours into it.

This game is absolutely brilliant. The music, much like Atlus's other titles (like Persona 4, for example), is such that I don't want to play it without headphones. The dialogue and characters are excellent, and the story is also very interesting. The dual-timeline and time-travel mechanic make the game that much more interesting. All of the cutscenes are skippable when you return to a pivotal point in the story to complete one or other sidequest, so you can keep going without interruption.

I absolutely love the combat system. Normally, I am terrible at TRPGs like Disgaea and Final Fantasy Tactics, but the tactical elements in this game are complex (combat is more like a puzzle than just mashing the A button to attack-attack-attack til whatever you're fighting is dead), but simple enough for me to understand and play with. All of your actions are executed in succession, and you can manipulate turn order to pull of devastating combos.

Your enemies are arranged on a 3x3 grid, and you can knock them in any 4 cardinal directions, and if you change turns so that all of your characters are attacking one after another, you can push a bunch of enemies onto a single square and hit them all with a spell or other devastating attack. With one fairly early boss, you can get 6-8 turns in a row!

It's hard to overstate how good this game is. If you're looking for a traditional JRPG with some interesting combat mechanics, great music, and a good story, look no further.
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on January 12, 2015
I honestly had doubts about getting this. Even after hearing so many good reviews on it. The reasons you ask? $30.00 on a Steam sale is 4-5 games. Even still I went against my better judgement and picked this up. I am sure glad I did. This has entertained me for well over 30 hrs of game time. Better yet, it has also provided me with much laughter, and entertainment. Mastering the battlefield, using the past & future to my advantage, remembering key points in the plot both minor & major. The writers of this game were geniuses. If I have any complaints they would be that the side quests could have been longer, and that the banter between the main characters sometimes got predictable. Overall though the story is engrossing, and something that will hold your attention.

4.5/5
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VINE VOICEon May 30, 2014
When I ordered Radiant Historia back in February 2013 I'll readily admit that I played for only a few hours before I let it, and my 3DS, sit and gather dust. At the time the cheapest new copy of the game I could get was $70, so I was expecting much more from the game.

However, a few months ago, after finishing Ghost Trick, I decided to give Radiant Historia another chance. And now here I am, a little over a year and a quarter from when I first picked the game up, writing a review, having just finished it a few hours ago.

I don't exactly recall what caused me to put the game down, but having now gone through the game I think it may just been the wrong time for me, as both the story and music - two of the major reasons I typically enjoy RPGs over all other genres - are pretty dang good.

The musical score at times reminds me of Final Fantasy VI, Nier, and Lost Odyssey. The branching storyline reminds me of Chrono Trigger (albeit it's definitely not as complex). The character art reminds me of Blue Dragon (or maybe just Raynie reminds me strongly of Zola).

The gameplay is perhaps the one slightly insignificant aspect, as while it does feature some complexity when it comes to moving the location of enemies on the 3x3 grid they inhabit, I found myself using 4 characters (including the main one who can't be swapped out) for most of the endgame, depending upon who I had access to in the storyline.

In short, I found the game to be really quite good, once I was able to really get into it. However, I'm not sure how much of the 40+ hours I put into the game will stick with me down the road, especially given the fairly safe ending.

I give Radiant Historia 4 of 5 stars, primarily because of the great music and story/mission structure.
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on October 3, 2016
Fantastic in every way. I was hooked from the beginning and I don't play video games much anymore. I made an exception for this game because I'd heard so many good things about it but I could never find it anywhere. The main story is excellent once you get involved. I opted to share the game with friends rather than return it, because I wanted to share the experience. This game definitely doesn't get enough credit.
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on June 3, 2013
I decided to give this game a go after a friend let me try it out. I was immediately intrigued within the first few minutes of playing it.

Radiant Historia centers on the main character Stocke, who serves as an officer in the SpecInt department for the country of Alistel. Alistel is currently at war with Granorg due to the increasing desertification of the world. Stocke is given a mysterious item called the White Chronicle. This allows him to travel back and forth through time to key points called nodes. It also allows him to go between the timelines that are created from a decision he makes early on in the game. The keepers of the world of Historia, the world within the White Chronicle where the time travel occurs, assign Stocke the mission of saving the world and guiding it towards its "true history".

The dual-timeline time travel alone helps to set this game apart from others with a similar premise. It makes gameplay more interesting by requiring you to travel back to one time-line in order to advance the other. It was interesting seeing how events in one timeline carried over and impacted the other. The battle system as well was both familiar and refreshing. Yes, it is turn based, but the enemies are on a 3x3 grid that effects their attack power and defense. Certain skills allow the characters to move the enemies around in order to form combos that gain the player more experience and gold. The player can also change the order of attack by switching one member of the party with another. This unique format keeps the battles from getting dull and adds in a level strategy.

The graphics for this game are decent. They rely mostly on sprites for the characters, and there are not many cut scenes. It can be rather heavy on dialogue as well, but this seems like a standard for the genre. I really enjoyed the music and found that it fit the mood of the game well. It never got repetitive or ground on my nerves like can sometimes happen.

This is also a fairly long game for a hand-held system. You can easily get 40 hours of play with the storyline and sidequests.

Overall, Radiant Historia is a very good RPG that has just the right balance of old elements and newer ones.
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on December 17, 2013
I played only Six hours. The story instantly caught me. The Strategic fights drew me in. However, the constant switching between different time periods during the adventure made me re-watch Cut-scenes. For example, I came to this mine and had to make a choice of two ways of handling the situation. I experimented with both and came to a dead end all the while having to go through the Cut-scenes and text over and over again. You could push the X button to progress the text during the conversations to help with this. That is the game changer for me. That one problem made me sell this game. If you can handle this, I highly recommend the experience.
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on November 15, 2013
I'm about 24 hours into this game, Ch. 6 of the Standard History (not sure what chapter in the AH). I am playing it on a 3DS XL, and the graphics are a little grainy, but still quite nice. The battle mechanics are refreshing and there isn't much mindless grinding because you have to use real strategy, even in normal monster fights (which can be good and bad. I'll explain later). The time-hopping makes the story feel a little fresher than the usual JRPG trope, but still isn't anything mind-blowing.

I do have a few gripes with this game. First off is the 8-bit footfall sound. It isn't a big turn off, but gets kind of annoying. I wish they made the characters just run around in their socks. Next is the rendering of the main character. Not the sprite itself, which is very nice. But they created only two sides and mirrored them. The result is very primitive looking.

My biggest complaint at the moment is how long normal monster battles take. They can be very drawn out, and in the later chapters/nodes, feel like boss fights. They aren't particularly challenging, just long-lasting. I think it's cool that even regular fights require strategy (a break from the mindless hacking of a lot of titles), but it feels a little excessive. I've gotten in the habit of completely isolating grinding from my progress in the actual story so that I can enjoy it more.

The time-hopping concept is generally well-executed. There are times when I've been lost, trying to figure out which node in what history to go to next, and it's resulted in repeating some scenes a few times. But for the most part, the story/development stays interesting and rewarding.

Overall, I'd say this is a great game, despite the few flaws that I mentioned. Definitely one for fans of the genre.
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VINE VOICEon September 7, 2011
Update (12/10/2011): So the difficulty takes a huge hike early on in Alternate History chapter four. I'm really pleased with this, though I got destroyed very quickly because I wasn't expecting it. And I'm well leveled. There is a LOT more strategy required for the battles now. So I'm more impressed overall. I've been playing a few other games in the meantime (Solatorobo and Atelier Totori), but I've been taking a few swings at this over the last few weeks and will complete the game then update the review further. Just note: Much more difficult now, so disregard the earlier posted comments on how easy the game is.

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Update (10/12/2011): Well into the game and nearing the end of Chapter 3 (out of 6 I believe). Finally we get to see some other characters to use in battle, and actually get a pool of several characters to choose from. The story really gets into gear in chapter three. Pretty gripping stuff. The music has improved with access to new areas, there are several new scores instead of the usual 5 or 6 from the first couple of chapters.

Also of note with the music, the regular battle music is rather... not intense? It has a pretty good sound overall. But when you hear the three or four boss music scores... those are a vast improvement. And I like that they have several different boss music beats, that way the more intense and troublesome bosses have the more sinister music. Nice!

Another note: There will be times in chapter 3 and on where it would be... inadvisable to do a timeline jump since there are not any nodes to bring you back to the current timeline. This is nice because it keeps the story moving very well. You 'can' do a jump, but then you would have to jump back much earlier in chapter three and re-work through much of that timeline to get to where you were. Just saying that the developers seemed to say: "Hey! Stick with this storyline a bit longer, it's just getting good!"

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Update (10/5/11): Despite the game starting off ridiculously easy... it suddenly goes into extra tough overdrive about 4 or 5 hours in. More than level grinding, what is required of later battles is a smart sense of tactics. Many opponents will arrange themselves in the grid for a special attack, or hit certain points on the grid with enhancements, such as a MAJOR attack increase. Your top priority at this point is to use your players to keep these opponents off those parts of the grid or to immediately knock them to a different point on the grid.

Also, there are a few techniques you gain which enhance the exploration aspect. You receive a technique to chop trees allowing you to access previously blocked chests/areas, and later you gain an ability to 'sense' hidden treasure and items on the exploration screen. Give this game 4 to 6 hours and you really get into the meat. It really doesn't even get going until the end of chapter one/ start of chapter 2.

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Things that I enjoy? First and most notable is the music. The tunes are great old school RPG style songs with good variety. They're catchy and mood fitting for the most part. I also loved the included CD with the piano arrangements. Awesome extra for those like me who pre-ordered (though there may be some with the CD still around).

Graphics are amazing. They remind me a bit of Xenogears from the PS1 without the ability to freely move the camera. The sprites are chunky little 2d things but the use of character portraits helps to personify the main characters and overcome this. If you really look around you can see the rich detail in almost every setting.

Battles are fun and the use of the grid system really adds a bit of versatility. It seems this may have worked well as a Chrono Trigger like system with more are and line attacks and combos, but despite the seemingly simple system it works. And you do gain better rewards after battle with higher combos. I could sit here and describe the system and bore you to death, but better to check out an online video.

The time travel element adds a nice touch to the game. At certain points history diverges and there are nodes created to when you may return. It makes some parts repetitive, but you can rapidly skip text in the blink of an eye, just not speed up character actions (like little clouds of annoyance or people walking about etc...) so some of the repeated points in history can get a tad annoying.

The real gem of this game is the story. You immediately dive into a complex and rewarding story. Some of the other characters might get a bit annoying, but most villains and heroes are complex and rather a treat to engage with. It is one of the deepest and most interesting stories for any DS game (the exact opposite of Final Fantasy Tactics A2!).

If you enjoy deep stories, engaging characters, and fun battles then you ought to pick up a copy before they become hard to find and double in price. This is a late release for the DS, but another of those classic style games that makes me a huge DS fan!
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on December 26, 2012
I was ready for another rpg, a genre that for some reason has stagnated over the last 4-5 with very few traditional rpgs (jrpgs at least) and with more "action oriented" combat (FFXIII, etc.) to appease a wider audience and the result is games that are mediocre and sometimes just plain bad.

With that being said, I got the game in 2012 because I was tired of replaying old rpgs that I had and mostly because EVERYONE said it was throwback game that reminded people of rpgs on the SNES and PS1. So I got the game with high expectations and got something that made me feel similar to Golden Sun: Dark Dawn (1/5) in that I liked the concept better than the execution. However, that being said the game does some things to its credit.

THE GOOD:

-The art in is game is fantastic! The developers realized that 3D models on a DS are awful (Nostlagia,Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, etc.) and decided to go with a dynamic moving picture style similar to Golden Sun but improves on that art style in every way. Most of the main characters tend to have bland models but there are few that really stand out and the character design in the dialogue scenes is beautiful. The graphics look great from battles to dungeons to towns with few changes in quality.

-Different story lines in one game. They help to change up different "what if" scenarios. However, it is unfortunate that there are only 2 real timelines with a bunch of game overs. A wasted opportunity in my opinion.

THE FLAWED:

-The story showed a lot of promise when starting especially when you are given the time traveling mechanic early in the game but that's where the game begins to show its true self because only the main character can travel through time. The story goes that an ancient civilization left two books to protect a dying world; the White Chronicle and the Black Chronicle. So there are only 2 people in the whole game that can time travel and you control one of them, with the other being evil. Since you can only control one person going through time it further disconnects you from the rest of party (since time travel is kept amiss from them), which is a staple feature in most rpgs, leaving party interaction strictly business oriented or forced because the plot says so. The story was kind of cool at first but then it got tedious, especially when a character knew something was up with the main character the whole time (knew who he was and his fate) and didn't go anywhere with it except to tell the player. If this happened once or twice I wouldn't bother mentioning but it is implied throughout the whole game leaving the plot twist very obvious, boring, and archaic. It doesn't hold up and its been done before in a better fashion.

-The world is more like a series of areas with little to no over world, making the exploration/treasure hunting quite limited but this is fixed with various abilities you get to find invisible objects, cause explosions, become invisible and move stuff. Sadly these are used more as obstacles than puzzle solving, making these mechanics feel tacked on rather than apart of the game play. You can also do a sword swing in towns and areas to clear paths and get preemptive strikes for battles. A cool idea but again not used enough other than to gain a quick start on battles.

-The time traveling, like I mentioned before is more tedious than rewarding. It promises to better than chrono trigger in that YOU can actually make different timelines! Cool right? but sadly there are only 2 real timelines to choose from which is a shame because you have so many opportunities with this mechanic to make it feel less restrictive than Chrono trigger. Rather than travel to a different time period you travel to different parts in the game's story but can only travel to crucial decisions that result in either progressive the story or getting a game over, again wasted opportunity. This mechanic was fun at least but became tedious as I found out it was more trial and error rather than my choice.

-The music was great at first and it was quite memorable......mostly because they use the same 5 songs throughout the game with slight remixes. It really saddens me that this was a prime selling point and people loved it! I liked it but they were overused too quickly in similar story situations.

THE FAILED:

-The combat........ ugh this made me sad but I'll give you a rundown. It's a traditional turn based system with 2 unique features: an enemy grid system and an attack order that you can switch to make combos. These features make the combat seem cool and fresh until you find out its quite limited. The enemies are on a 3x3 grid where the closer they are to you the more damage they do. The enemies up front of the grid can wipe your party in one turn if not careful but they have ways to help you out which is mostly the push/pull system. This allows you to move most enemy to the back of the grid (push) or the front of it (pull), which is a very good concept and it makes it better that you push/pull enemies into each other making them occupy the same space to combo them. This makes for good puzzle gameplay especially combined with the attack order system. This order system is simply determined by a character speed they get a certain number of chances to attack before the enemy does. What makes this stand out is that you can manipulate this order to set up effective attacking combos. However, if you have a character use this ability they will take more damage until they attack in that order. This makes this battles different in that it shoves the risk vs reward in your face. So why is this bad? Well mainly because its the only way to win. Enemies do A LOT of damage to you so want to combo them up as much as possible to kill them at the same time. Get used to this because you will need to do over and over and over again to win with it being nearly impossible to win by not doing it since there can be as many as 8 enemies in a battle. Then there is the magic which is so overpowered that you will mainly using that and the push/pull mechanic which is sad because there are very few attacking spells because most are support magic. Magic is used for attacking, trap setting to push enemies into, and of course healing/stat boosting. Magic spells mostly look the same but do the most damage while the physical attacks can by stylish but most of them are similar looking to each other as well. The combat is essentially change the order enough times with 2 characters while the other one heals/supports until you have enough for a combo then use push/pull enough times to stack everyone on one square and hit them with magic interweaving it with physical attacks to raise the hit counter faster to do more damage. That is how the whole game is played. You cannot use other ways because you won't do enough damage and you will die. Its a cool idea but when you have a menu of 20+ skills to use and only 2-3 per character are ever used it really makes the game boring.

I could go on about the combat but I have said enough to get the idea.

FINAL VERDICT:

A mixed bag; mostly because it shows a lot of innovation and promise but really trips up when giving the player "choices" especially in combat.
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