Earlier installments:
· Radiata Stories
Last seen in: 2005
Publisher: tri-Ace


Radiata Stories

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.

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