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    Dec 2nd, 2012 at 20:01:54     -    Radiant Historia (DS)

    It’s time for my final GameLog on Radiant Historia. In my last installment, I covered how time travel factors both into the plot and gameplay. This entry, I’ll cover the battle system and my final thoughts on the game.

    The battle system for Radiant Historia is a rather unique twist on the standard turn-based affair. Enemies appear on field, a la Chrono Trigger, and battle begins when you touch the enemy. You can strike the enemy with your sword to try to start off with an advantage. Once in battle, the real fun starts. Enemies are positioned on a 3x3 grid and grid position determines damage output for both sides; enemies in the row closest to the party dish out the most damage, but also take the most damage and enemies in the back row take and dish out the least damage. Luckily, every character has a variety of special skills that can push or pull the enemy around the grid. In addition, you can rack up combos by having all your party members attack in sequence, which increases both the damage dealt for every additional combo hit, but also increases the experience and gold earned after battle.

    You can also push one enemy into another, which causes the next hit in the combo to damage both of them. Some enemies occupy more than one space on the grid, and so you can hit a lot of enemies by pushing them around. On top of this, one of your party members has the ability to set traps on the field, which damage enemies heavily when you push them over it.

    There’s also a “Change” command, which allows you to swap a character’s turn with another, whether it be an ally or an enemy. You’ll use this often to set up powerful combos, but be careful: characters take more damage after changing until their next action. There are other nuances to the battle system, but I’ll let you discover them for yourself.

    In the end, Atlus Co. can do no wrong. Radiant Historia is yet another damn fine game in their stable. Sadly, it had a limited production run, so finding a copy might prove difficult. But if you can track it down, you won’t be sorry.

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    Nov 25th, 2012 at 17:42:59     -    Radiant Historia (DS)

    It’s once again time for yet another GameLog! We’ll be continuing our review of Radiant Historia for the Nintendo DS. When we ended the previous log, we were about to go over the gameplay mechanics, in particular the time travel and battling aspects.

    Time travel in Radiant Historia is not only the crux of the game’s plot, but also a critical part of gameplay. However, don’t expect some era-spanning quest like Chrono Trigger or something. The game clearly explains that the White Chronicle’s powers are limited. Stocke can only travel between points in time from the moment he received the Chronicle to the present, and even then, he can only travel to special points in time called “nodes.” But that’s not to say time travel is limiting in this game. Immediately after the intro, Stocke is faced with a decision that causes time to take two completely different paths. In order to successfully save the world from desertification, Stocke must repeatedly travel between these two timelines.

    One important thing to note is that at certain points in the game, usually after reaching a node, Stocke is presented a choice: one options leads history along the right track, while the other leads to a “dead end,” where history is doomed to oblivion. Luckily, choosing the wrong choice is only a minor hindrance, and only causes Stocke to return to Historia to try again. The earliest example of this is when Stocke travels to a hotly-contested mine with a group of Alistian soldiers. The way further inside is block by a large rock, and the merchant bringing the explosives to remove the obstruction is nowhere to be found. Stock must choose whether to send scouts to find the merchant or, knowing that Granorg forces must come this way, wait in ambush. While waiting in ambush is a perfectly valid tactic, it takes too much time and leads to the first “dead end” in history.

    However, choosing to send scouts doesn’t help much either. It is explained that there is another book, the Black Chronicle, with the power to travel through time, and its wielder is using it to muck up history. The merchant is already dead in that timeline, but not in the other. Because the same people inhabit both timelines, Stocke’s actions in one timeline have a resonant effect with the other. In order to save the merchant, Stocke must travel to the other timeline and protect the merchant there. You will have to repeatedly travel between both timelines to clear “roadblocks” like this. In addition, there are many sidequests in the game, and all but five of them require you to travel through time to complete them. Ten of these sidequests even affect the game’s ending!

    In my next, and final, post for Radiant Historia, I’ll cover the game’s combat system and give my final thoughts. Stay tuned!

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    Nov 18th, 2012 at 17:35:50     -    Radiant Historia (DS)

    It’s that time again; time for another GameLog! This time, I’m doing it on a little known gem for the Nintendo DS called Radiant Historia. It’s developed and published by Atlus Co., so you KNOW it’s good.

    The narrative premise of Radiant Historia is rather interesting. The game takes place on the continent of Vainqueur, where in the ancient past, a great empire once existed. However, this empire caused a disaster that distrupted the flow of Mana, the source of all life, destroying themselves, and dooming the land to slowly turn into desert. Many years later, two kingdoms, Alistel and Granorg, are in a state of constant war over what little fertile land remains. The story properly begins when the protagonist Stocke, a member of Alistel Special Intelligence, is sent on a seemingly routine mission to retrieve crucial intelligence on Granorg. Before the mission, he is given a mysterious book called the White Chronicle. It’s not long before everything goes to hell: the critical intel is lost, Stocke’s comrades are slain, and he himself is left on death’s door. It is then that he is brought to a mysterious world called Historia, where two children, Teo and Lippti, explain that Stocke is the chosen wielder of the White Chronicle, and through the power of the Chronicle, he has the power to travel through time. Stocke promptly uses this newfound power to successfully redo the mission and insure that everyone survives. From there, it is up to Stocke, and the player, to wield the power of the Chronicle, unravel the countless mysteries and conspiracies surrounding both nations, and steer history towards a path where destruction is not inevitable.

    In my next installment, I’ll cover gameplay mechanics and go over the finer parts of time travel. It’s going to be heavy! Stay tuned!

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    Nov 11th, 2012 at 16:58:06     -    Zone of the Enders HD Collection (PS3)

    For my latest GameLog, I have decided to review my latest acquisition, Zone of the Enders HD Collection for the PS3. As the title would suggest, this is a compilation of Zone of the Enders and Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner for the PS2 remastered in high definition. Since both games are quite short and similar to one another, I’ll review them both in one go.

    Both of the games on this disc are part of the Zone of the Enders series, a sci-fi/ giant mecha series by Kojima Productions, the same guys behind the Metal Gear series. In fact, the original release of the Zone of the Enders is best remembered for including a demo disc of Metal Gear Solid 2, and in a severe case of history repeating itself, the HD Collection contains a demo for the upcoming Metal Gear Rising: Revengence.

    For the record, both games do have a plot, but honestly it’s not that important to these two games. It’s kind of a shame, because said plots do have a lot of potential, but if you’re really interested, there are a couple of other pieces of Zone of the Enders media that could satisfy you. And if you really want some heavy handed drama, play some Metal Gear instead.

    What is important to these games is the action, and they deliver on every front in that regard. The series’ tagline is “High Speed Robot Action,” or as one of the online ads puts it, “Giant, Flying, Sword-fighting Killer Robots from Space, now for the first time in HD.” There isn’t much more that could be added to that, except to say you will indeed shoot, slash, and otherwise wreck stuff up, giant robot style, throughout both titles.

    While these two games may not have aged as gracefully as they could have, they are both short but oh so sweet games to play. If you have a fever for non-stop, over the top action, and the only cure is giant robots, then Zone of the Enders HD Collection is just what the doctor ordered.

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