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E3 Impression

Radiata Stories

05.19.2005

HEATH HINDMAN
STAFF COLUMNIST
CORTNEY STONE
E3 CORRESPONDANT

SCREENSHOT
Charley Church

While exploring Square Enix's booth for a game that did not have a massive line in front of it, I found an open station with Radiata Stories. The special "E3 version" began with a talking goat, who was actually the game's producer Yamagichi. He gave players two options: venture into a castle to kill the fiend that cursed him, or view the game's introduction. I ended up exploring the castle.

I wandered the halls and stumbled into a few enemies, which are visible in the field. Each one draws Jack into a separate battle field. I could only control Jack; the three other characters were controlled by AI. My party members included a hulking golem with the hilt of a sword sticking out from his eye socket, a prissy winged Elven girl, and an extremely effeminate man who attacked by blowing kisses at the enemies. An SE booth employee told me that I could issue specific commands to the others by pressing L1.

SCREENSHOT
Lovely hat

The battle system was quite action-oriented. I could freely move Jack around the battle field and swing his large axe by tapping a button. Pressing the square button made him execute a special attack, and when his volty gauge was full, pressing X and square made him execute a massive special attack. Battles moved quickly and there was a lot to do with my time divided between issuing commands and making Jack fight. The battle system seemed to be much like that of Star Ocean 3, which is no surprise because Radiata Stories is a tri-Ace title.

There was some voice acting in battle, but it was all grunts and shouts. Instead of spoken lines, the characters' battle catchphrases appeared as text at the bottom of the screen. Jack would shout taunts, the Elven would complain about her attacks not working, and so forth. Characters would celebrate a successful assault or ask for help if their HP was low. Each text box included a headshot of the character, but instead of still images, the headshots were 3D animations.

Eventually I stumbled upon a sign that pointed to a door and promised a "party and pretty ladies." I turned to Elliot and said, "Yeah, that's where the boss is." My prediction was correct. A boss was waiting behind that door, and even though its freeze and petrify attacks were irritating, I managed to beat it. When I emerged from the castle, the goat was gone. A woman appeared and told me that he had been restored to his own world, and that another world -- Radiata Stories -- was waiting for me. This concluded my demo.

I turned to watch the guy next to me, who had chosen to watch the introduction instead of saving Yamagichi. The goat was not pleased, but I was glad to see the other half of the demo. The introduction presented Jack and Ridley, two members of a new squad called the Radiata Knights. The two are obviously bitter rivals. Ridley was mostly quiet, almost snobby, while Jack made several jokes and goofed around.
SCREENSHOT
Y'all better recognize

The visuals of Radiata Stories are not earth-shattering or impressive, but they are quite pleasing to the eye. One featured I noticed in the intro is that during cutscenes, characters that are not the main focus of the camera become slightly blurred as they moved closer into the foreground, just as in television and movies. This gave the game a different perspective, making it more like a film.

I appreciated the humor in both the game and the demo setup. The game was enjoyable to play and the characters were interesting. I'm looking forward to playing more of Radiata Stories in the future.

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Console:
· PlayStation 2

Release:
· Fall 2005

Publisher:
· Square Enix

Developer:
· tri-Ace


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