Radiant Historia was originally released on the DS back in February of 2011 in classic ATLUS fashion, getting a limited print in the US and no official release for Europe. After a year of crazy good reviews and ridiculous price inflation, it received a reprint in 2012 to settle down it’s limited availability. Now, less than a decade later, it has been remade under the name Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology for the 3DS and is available for the first time in Europe.
What You Need To Know
Radiant Historia is a JRPG that follows the adventure of a special intelligence agent for Alistel named Stocke who has been chosen by fate to be the keeper of the White Chronicle, an ancient book that grants it’s owner the ability to travel back to pivotal moments in their life to re-live them and change the corse of history. The world around Stocke is being swallowed by a plague called desertification leaving nothing but sand in it’s wake. The last two remaining kingdoms, Alistel and Granorg, are now at war fighting over the remaining fertile land. Stocke, holding the White Chronicle, is left to travel between the timelines and explore all possible outcomes in search of the ‘true history’ that ends the desertification and stops the war.
One of the biggest additions to the game is the new timeline following a brand new character, Nemesia. Her timeline was presented as a string of ‘what-if’ scenarios that gave a different perspective to something that had already happened in one of the main timelines. Though it’s basically an aside to the main story, I felt as though it was a fun new twist. Having already beaten the original game on the DS back in 2012, I had a fondness for the story and it’s characters. Nemesia’s timeline and the quests that come along with it strengthened my opinion for what was already in the original.
A Story Worth Your Time
Speaking of the story, I very much enjoyed the main story here. I felt as though it was fully engaging and packed with likable characters that I genuinely cared about. Never was there a moment where I begged for someone to hush and move on as there have been in so many other JRPGs I’ve played. Though you may hit a point where the multiple timelines thing feels like your decisions don’t really matter, the whole thing is used in a clever way to make the story full and give you insight on everyone’s perspective.
One of my favorite things about Radiant Historia is it’s unique battle system. The enemies can be seen in the world as sprites that Stocke can stun with his sword leaving the battles optional. When you do initiate a battle, the enemies are laid out on a 3×3 grid giving advantages and disadvantages to their placement for you and them alike. The order of battle is similar to any turn based RPG however, you do earn the option to trade turns with party members or enemies in a risk/reward fashion similar to Bravely Default. The battles also present you with skills to earn that will let you manipulate the position of enemies on the 3×3 grid. This manipulation allows you to move them into the same square as other enemies, essentially stacking damage across multiple foes. It’s really fun and gives a nice puzzle element to each fight.
Sounds Of Historia
Radiant Historia’s original soundtrack was composed by Yoko Shimomura who’s most notable in my opinion for her work on all of the Kingdom Hearts titles. She returned for more work on Perfect Chronology providing five new tracks that focus themselves into the new timeline around Nemesia. All of the music in the game works very well, adding weight to dramatic points in the story and levity when it’s needed. One of my favorite tracks, The Edge of Green, is used for the boss battles and just has an incredible sense of urgency and weight that really get your heart racing when it’s used. You can listen to The Edge of Green here.
Perfect / Not So Perfect
From the new timeline to the addition of high-res character art and fully voiced dialogue for main characters, Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology comes off as a the perfect version of an amazing game on the DS that anyone who loves JRPGs should play. However, there is one MAJOR issue I have with this release. On the title screen, there is an option for Add-On Content. For a game like this to get the treatment it did and not be fully featured out of the box is a disgrace. Of the DLC that ATLUS has laid out in a recent press release, we are going to see releases of new chibi and original DS character art, some consumable items, and a number of story-related packs over the next few weeks. I’m all for more content however, I’m disgusted that a game can be not only marketed as but also called a “Perfect” version and still ask the player for an additional $25+ to get the full game. On top of this, the writing is on the wall that we are quickly approaching the end of the 3DS’ life leaving me to doubt the long-term availability of this content.
It seriously pains me to not give this game a perfect score. When I first played Radiant Historia’s original release back in 2012 there were moments that brought me to tears over characters that were lost to the fold of time. The battle system was also one of the most innovative things for the genre in it’s time and still holds up in this new release. The addition of Nemesia was also a welcome journey that I enjoyed from start to finish. However, the fact that ATLUS has chosen hide story content behind a paywall in something touted as the perfect version of a game disgusts me to my core.
For more information on everything new and changed in Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology, please check out the article I wrote here.
Review copy provided by ATLUS
Played the full story in “Perfect Mode”
Total play time: ~45 hours