Chloe Kung says... In Japan, Radiata Stories was one of the top selling Playstation 2
games of 2005. Unfortunately, the North American localization of the
game had a lukewarm reception. What happened to Radiata Stories, the
game many believe was the last game Tri-Ace did ‘right’?
If Radiata Stories could be summed up in one sentence it would be
“Less is More”. One of its key points is that the gameplay is simple.
It is unlike recent RPG releases where I had to constantly rely on the
game manual in order to figure out what I am supposed to be doing.
Although Radiata Stories bears resemblances to previous tri-Ace games,
it is the refinement of their elements that makes this game shine.
The gameplay is rather modest. In the cities the player can talk to
other characters, sleep, and kick. How can anyone who has played this
game forget the kicking? The battle system is also fairly simple,
fought in real time where the player can run around
hitting monsters and performing the occasional Volty attack. The party
consists of four characters, but only the protagonist is fully controlled
by the player. The allies are controlled by the game’s AI, but the
player can influence them by changing the battle formations.
Although the gameplay for Radiata Stories could possibly be considered
a bit effortless to veteran RPG players, fulfilling quests and
gathering allies in a time-controlled manner may be challenging. The
game has a 24-hour clock where each NPC has its own daily routine. It
is also through these time sensitive sequences that the player is
given the chance to recruit almost all of the 175 NPCs in the
game. Through personal experience it would take at least two play
throughs in order to get a firm understanding of how to recruit all
the possible allies. Naturally, the best characters are often the
hardest to recruit, as their recruitment chances are easily missed.
The most enticing feature of this game would likely be its story, as
the player can choose the protagonist’s destiny. Radiata Stories can
be considered to have a ‘generic’ RPG story. It is about a boy named
Jack Russell, an aspiring knight, trying to live up to his famous
father’s reputation. He would meet a girl named Ridley who he develops
a friendship and rivalry with. Throughout the story, the humans
develop a growing resentment towards the non-human races, such as the
orcs and elves. The player would be given the choice of choosing to
follow Ridley in joining the non-humans or remaining in the city to
side with the humans. Once the player has chosen, there is no going
back. Unfortunately regardless of which path the player chooses the
outcome of the characters may be considered grim to many.
For fans of tri-Ace games, there are several cameos and references to
previous games. The ones which are hard to miss include Jack waking up
in his bed as Fayt Leingod from Star Ocean 3, Ganz wearing the clothes
of Claude C. Kenni from Star Ocean 2, and Lenneth’s armor from
Valkyrie Profile being displayed in the king’s closet. An end game
dungeon is also featured in Radiata Stories. There, the typical
reoccurring tri-Ace end game bosses such as Gabriel Celesta and
Ethereal Queen can be challenged. Also, cameos from Valkyrie Profile
such as Lenneth Valkyrie, who can be recruited, and Lezard Valeth make
their appearance in this dungeon. Perhaps the most interesting aspect
of Radiata Stories’ end game dungeon is that it solves the age-old
debate of Gabriel Celesta’s gender, for this is the first game where the
infamous boss fully displays his masculinity.
Can a new game happen?
Just one, but it's good
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