Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology Review

Radiant Historia Perfect Chronology is an enhanced 3DS remake of Radiant Historia which launched on DS consoles in 2011. Published by Deep Silver in Europe, it is the first time that Radiant Historia is launching in this region. The game was developed by both Atlus and Headlock. Atlus is a Japanese developer which is most noticeably known for RPG games like Persona and Megami Tensei, both of which are highly successful franchises. Radiant Historia released to highly favourable reviews. This version of the game looks to further improve the title by introducing new modern features that would bring in new audiences, as well as those that have previously time travelled through the game’s story.

The story takes place in the fictional continent of Vainqueur, whereby two different kingdoms called Allistel and Granorg are in a desperate struggle to gain power. Noticeably, they are battling because the land is being engulfed in sand and that the Kingdom of Allistel believes that Granorg are the ones responsible for these events. You play as an agent of Allistel called Stocke, who formerly completes requests for his superior named Heiss. For no particular motive, Heiss provides Stocke with an empty book called “The White Historia”, and requests Stocke to meet up with a spy who has vital information that could potentially help Allistel change the fate of their battle against Granorg. You are assigned a team from the beginning, these being Raynie and Marco, however shortly upon meeting them Stocke foresees his comrades deaths. Little does Stocke know that the empty book will allow him to travel into the past, complementing an interesting and mysterious introduction to the game’s universe.

The story is unlike any other RPGs that I have played and it is truly refreshing to experience a game that handles time travel so well. In addition, I like the simplicity of the story, it had depth but it was not confusing for the sake of being so, like many other RPG games that I have played. Stocke, the main protagonist is highly likeable as well as his comrades. Other characters, including Heiss, are extremely memorable, Heiss’s mysterious nature makes you wonder what his real motives are. The game’s story features a lot of dialogue, meaning that game-play is often non-apparent, additionally it is fairly slow to get of its feet at the start. Thankfully, the story is a good one which never makes listening and reading the dialogue feel like a chore. Furthermore, when Stocke has moments where he can see into the future, it often makes you wonder how the events will unfold and truly added to my eagerness to proceed through the story.

The game-play is a turn based RPG game, although its appearance might indicate that it is a traditional RPG; upon playing, you will soon realise that it is much more than that. For starters the combat system is very interesting, it takes this traditional turn based combat system and adds a grid system. The damage that enemies do to your party is determined by their distance to you on the grid. The closer the enemies are, the more damage they do. Particular skills can be used which attack your enemies and move them to different positions on the grid. For example, these skills could push the enemy back one, or push them down the grid. By using these skills you can move the enemies into positions where other enemies are located. If you can do this. then you will be able to attack with other party members which can lead to combos and damaging multiple enemies in that position.

The combat is very fun, it is highly rewarding landing these potentially huge combos and often finishing fights in one chain of attacks. This in turn gives you more experience points depending on the variety of attacks you use, meaning that you can level up your characters faster. In addition, although fights are turn based, they are fast based (one of the improvements in this remake) which means that battles do not drag on. I liked the way the game approached the tutorials in this game, they explained the game’s core mechanics well but never felt intrusive.

As mentioned previously the “White Historia” allows you to travel back in time, back to major events that occurred throughout the game. The aim of the story is for Stocke to create the very best future. This means that you will need to go through the game going back in time to do things differently so that the events that previously occurred change, resulting in different happenings. The way the game approaches this mechanic is very clever, at save points you will be able to use the “White Historia” to navigate through the timeline and any branches in time that you have experienced. At branches, you have the potential to select the node and do things different which may result in a new timeline, thus leading to new endings. It is a simple mechanic but beautifully executed. Furthermore, the environments that you will explore throughout Vainqueur are varied creating a unique and memorable world that I truly enjoyed adventuring in. Moreover, in relation to the world, there are lots of NPCs scattered through each location. They help in creating a lively atmosphere with each NPC having something interesting to say and further contributing to creating the universe that they live in. Some NPCs will have an icon above them indicating when they have a side quest which you can complete. These side quests are mostly varied, though like other RPGs some tend to be on the boring side.

In relation to this new version of Radiant Historia, is a new Friendly mode, allowing players to easily and quickly get through the story and avoid the RPG aspects. If you’d prefer to just discover the very interesting story, and time travelling concepts, this mode is a very nice inclusion. However, considering the turn based combat is so good I personally think that you would spoil the greatness that the game offers. Additionally, in this remake there is a new mode that is recommended for those that are already familiar with the original story. The new mode integrates new stories into the already experienced story and gives those that have played, yet another reason to purchase again. There is also the inclusion of the Support Skill system, whereby party members not currently selected will appear and provide support in the form of attacking/healing, depending on factors including the Luck rating etc. This feature is a nice addition to the combat though it is nothing major. Furthermore, there are three difficulty levels which potentially add replay value. The dialogue can drag on at times and essentially turns into a visual novel at some points. However, excellent voice acting and a very good story made this a positive in my eyes.

The visual aspects of Radiant Historia have always been very nice with this remake being no exemption, however it does look very similar. Considering this is a DS game, fortunately the graphics still hold up well despite its age, and this is mostly due to its sprite styled nature. I did notice that in some areas, noticeably in those with a lot happening, confusing to sometimes know what something was and where it was positioned (e.g. positioning of the balconies). However, locations on the whole are nicely detailed and look very nice. The lack of a 3D effect is disappointing, although due to the sprite nature it most likely would not have made much impact to the game’s visuals. New to the remake is the addition of an anime styled introduction which was done by A-1 pictures, an animation studio responsible for animating a range of popular anime shows including Sword Art Online. The animation is essentially a music video, it is very nicely done and sets the scene for the game’s introduction. Character art, which was redone by Masaki Hirooka is very nice, each character looking varied and interesting, and further adding to my positive impressions of each character.

The sound in Radiant Historia Perfect Chronology, is just as impressive as it’s art. There is voice acting for the main cast throughout, even in side quests. It was in English which was a huge plus for me. The English voice acting was clearly focused on, it is excellent and certainly helps with the extensive dialogue that occurs throughout the game. In addition, voices associated with each character certainly match the appearances of those characters that speak, again adding more character to the cast. Some characters sometimes sound overly similar to other characters, but the voice acting is in no way bad. The music and sound effects have mostly been taken from the DS game and is still relevant in the remake, the sound effects are good, and the music is varied further leading to the superb production values that the game provides.

Unfortunately, the main story is rather short for an RPG. Even when completing all branches for the timeline the game is still shorter than those longer RPGs. Replay value is something that this RPG game does well, with each timeline adding different effects to the story, and two other difficulty levels to try upon completion of the first. In addition, the remake provides an extended story, adding additional moments to the original story. If you played through the game without this new feature, then it is highly recommended replaying the game and experiencing the new stories provided in this remake. The replay value however, is diminished for those who played the original game and complete this remake on the hardest difficulty, along with the new stories. However, despite being fairly short, the game certainly has enough content to keep you coming back.

Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology is a remake to an already incredible game and additional features bring the game back to life for modern gaming. It’s incredibly implemented time travelling plot, memorable cast and very good English voice acting all contribute to a highly interesting story. Although the remake does not make many changes to the game, barely any changes were necessary. The additional stories that have been added ensure that those that have already experienced Stocke’s adventure will enjoy something new by gaining further access to the game’s lore. Those expecting a longer RPG game may be disappointed by the game’s fairly short length. However, for those that have yet to experience Radiant Historia, this is the perfect time to jump in, with three difficulty options and a friendly mode. Radiant Historia Perfect Chronology comes highly recommended and is one of the finest RPG games that Atlus has ever made.

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo 3DS code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@bonusstage.co.uk.

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