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on February 22, 2011
Radiant Historia crept onto my radar courtesy of a Game Informer review. As an avid RPG-gamer, I am 100% satisfied with my purchase of Radiant Historia. Those familiar with the 16-bit SNES era of Console RPGs will find similarities to Chrono Trigger (time travel mechanic and depth of story) and Legend of Mana (ambiance and soundtrack), though it was hard to find a comparison to the combat system.

The narrative itself has satisfying depth in an age of watered down scripts laden with overly shiny cinematics and corny dialogue. The game features two parallel dimensions, of which you can travel freely between using a magical book named the "White Chronicle". Events in one dimension have effects on the other, allowing the game to deliver the story in a unique and innovative manner. The game is primarily dialogue, which very few animated cutscenes. This means anyone familiar with the genre should expect a lot of dialogue, though Atlus has done its best to make each NPC have something worth saying while not stripping the world of its life and population.

The story follows a trained military spook named Stocke on a journey to end a war which has stripped the land from hope; however, the game strips away linearity in favor of a time-travel mechanic. You can travel forward and backward through time to any major event in the story. If you lose a party member, you must soldier on until you become strong enough to defeat or discover a way to change the outcome of whatever event it was that felled your beloved friend. The time-travel mechanic can get repetitive at times, but the game keeps track of how much progress you have made toward completing a given "node" (major day) in time. This keeps you from having to search through all of your presently unlocked nodes until you complete an event that allows you to move forward in the main story.

The combat system is where the game really shines. In a fresh spin on the turn-based battle system, your enemies prepare to battle you in a 3x3 grid system (think Final Fantasy I-VI in terms of enemy placement). Each enemies' position on this grid affects its stats. Enemies in the front row will deal more damage than the same enemy in the back row; however the back row offers more defense. Some of your abilities will knock enemies onto the same square, allowing future attacks to damage both at the same time.

Get this game while you can! Being an Atlus game, this will likely have a small print run in the English Market, and the sheer quality of the game will leave very few gamers with a desire to part with it; both of these set up to make Radiant Historia a rare cartridge in the future.
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on February 28, 2015
I bought this because I wanted to try an Atlus game before dropping $50+ on Persona Q. Yes I realize it's very old.

1. Really interesting story line. Love the time travel bit, the characters are likeable, and it has the classic fantasy RPG vibe.
2. The battle system is interesting and fun. Definitely different from ATB and still way faster than a strategy RPG.
3. The menus are no nonsense. You get what you need, and nothing else.
4. The game progresses quickly. I hate games that take eternity to go nowhere. Inside of an hour and you're already time traveling.
5. The character art is really good. A little grungy but distinctive.
6. Over 200 nodes. That means you can travel back to over 200 points and do side quests or change history. That's a lot of content.

1. Uses the bottom screen for main game play while the much more glorious top screen is stuck showing stats. I've always disliked it when games did that.
2. The game is very basic. The story is deep, the battle is deep, but it seems like it's built on top of nothing. It's little things, like after battle screens, the menu, battle menus, etc. There just doesn't seem to be a lot there and it feels off. It's a design thing and not detrimental to the game. You have the tools to play, but you only have the tools to play.
3. I know it's from 2010 but even for 2010 the graphics seem a bit old to me. Chrono Trigger seemed more polished graphically. Doesn't ruin things but a little bit more polish would've been appreciated.

Overall, this is a great game. Lots of story, and it's a good story. After playing this, I have a lot more confidence in Atlus' other titles. Here's hoping they're a bit more polished than this one =)

I have since finished the game and am upping my rating to 5 stars. Amazing game. Tons of story. Still wish the UI had better polish, but extremely satisfied. Will play again.
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on November 30, 2017
I was pleasantly surprised by this game. I liked it. It may be very linear and only worth one playthrough but the story was good. To me it's a one and done game but there are people who will watch the same movie, read the same book, or play the same linear game many times. It's an adventure RPG with random battles and turn based combat. In combat you can use skills to move enemies to different tiles in order to have attacks hit all of them. The story involves a prince in a dying world who finds a magic book that lets him go time hopping between two different timelines that eventually converge into one.
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on March 10, 2017
This game rocks. The story entails trying to save your kingdom from being overrun by, well, the enemy, and then the main character, Stocke, gets a White Chronicle which lets him time hop. So, the story is already great, and then the even better part - the battle system. Naturally, to get into battle, you have your wild encounters, staged encounters, and boss fights. Basic, run-of-the-mill RPG stuff. But it's the battle system that stands out. You have your three party members, which consists of Stocke and two others at your choosing, depending on where you are in the game, a 3X3 grid with your foes, and a turn chart showing when you can attack. If you put your units together, you get big combo attacks, and deal even more damage. I got pretty good at the battle system, and only lost a handful of fights in about 40 hours of play.

This is an awesome game, and I highly recommend it. Enjoy!
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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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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.


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!"


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.


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 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 September 6, 2011
I was looking for an RPG with complexity, but still familiarity and I stumbled upon this game. I had never heard of it, and the local GameStop folks looked at me oddly when I asked about it. The sheer lack of publicity around an interesting game reminded me of one of my favorite PS1 games, SaGa Frontier, so I had to get it.

I don't regret it for a moment, but this may be the first game in years I actually sell back, despite it being fantastic. Let me explain...

You are a time traveling character, vaguely in the spirit of Chrono of the eponomous Chrono Trigger, but without the cartoony good fun of that game, or even the flexibility. This game allows you to travel back in forth in time to solve various problems, but many of them are required for the story to progress. Instead of making the game more interesting, I found this to detract from it, especially in the end, as there really is only one path. Much like a Choose Your Own Adventure book with half the choices, Radiant Historia gives you only a few places where your choices actually allow you to play a different game than another player.

That aside, the game itself plays well. The fighting system is something I don't recall seeing recently, and I found it fun to play a more strategic game than I had in some time. The spell effects are somewhat lack luster, but the variety you can use is nice. Like me, you will probably settle on a few favorite characters and use them a lot, but I recommend bringing in low level chars from time to time to level them up. The game has as very unique way of giving exp that lets some lower level chars get a full level of exp at some times to catch up quickly.

I managed to finish the game after a few weeks of on and off play, and found I was missing a few story nodes. I was able to time travel around, complete these, and now the game is done. completely done. I really have no reason to play it again, as I have literally done everything, which is highly disappointing. I suppose I could replay and try to not have to do the missing parts at the end, but the ability to travel in time negates the reason to replay as when you complete a missing part, you see the changes right there.

Even with this, I rate it 4 stars overall. It's just that good of a game that even one play was great.
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on April 13, 2014
If you like RPGs, you can't go better than this on the DS. Astounding soundtrack, surprisingly good graphics, and a unique take on turn based combat. While each of those things is good individually, they support one of the most mature and well written stories I've seen out of a JRPG in years. No bs fantasy crap or ridiculous costumes, this is a game about one man's quest to save the world through time travel. Through trial and error you work to bring history to its "correct" conclusion. The game features a lot of text, so you have to like to read. However this is balanced out by the fact that there is very little filler or grinding. While most games give you dungeons to slog through before reaching your next story point, this game is somehow literally only story moments that last over 30 hours. You jump between different points on the story's timeline retrying events, either for the main plot or side quests. Combat rarely overstays its welcome, as most fights are story relevant and exciting, not a thousand random encounters.
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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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