Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology review for Nintendo 3DS

Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Publisher: Atlus
Developer: Atlus
Medium: Digital/Cart
Players: 1
Online: No

Atlus has been known for some strange RPGs. One of their more popular is of course the Persona franchise which is a combination of social sims and JRPG. Now they have tried their hand at a game involving time travel, which can be difficult to do right in a video game. For the most part it is used as a twist or an annoying tool to explain away something ridiculous. There are only a few games that do time travel justice, in my opinion. Chrono Trigger and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which were two of the best RPGs ever made, never mind the time travel aspect in them. Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology tries to do something a little different with that idea than most.

Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology is a re-release of Radiant Historia originally for the original Nintendo DS. The new release has a couple of changes to the original game, the biggest being the addition of a new character and story line that goes with them. As for the story, the continent of Vainqueur is slowing turning into a desert through a process called desertification which seems to be radiating from the ruins of an ancient civilization. There are two nations warring over the dwindling fertile land on the continent, Alistel and Granorg. The game focuses on Stocke, a special intelligence agent in the employ of the nation of Alistel. From the beginning he is given command over two subordinates, Rayine and Marco, and sent on a mission behind enemy lines to find a spy that is coming home to Alistel to report on what the Granorg military is planning. Before leaving, Heiss, Stocke?s commander, gives him a book and sends him off. During the mission the spy is found but things go horribly wrong and is killed and Stocke is badly wounded and passes out. When he comes to he finds himself in Historia, a world that exists between time.

Historia is connected to the book that was given to Stocke at the beginning of the game. This book is called the White Chronicle. Historia is where Stocke finds out that the White Chronicle allows him access to this place, which in turn lets him go back and forth in time and change major decisions that were made in the story. Decisions can be as simple as I need to go north instead of south, or as major as does Stocke stay with the Special Intelligence division, or does he become a full on soldier? The only way to find out is to take the path and if it?s wrong go back and choose a different one. The goal is to find the true timeline that will stop the desertification process. The story branches at several points, so figuring out which branch to take at the different points can be quite the feat.

The game?s presentation is all 2D using sprites and pre-rendered backgrounds, like the original game. The characters and enemies alike are bright and colorful and very well drawn and there is even a gallery where players can take a quick look at character portraits. Unfortunately there is no 3D effect in the game so the 3D slider on the 3DS does nothing. On the upside it really isn?t needed.

The battle system in the game is quite strategic. Stocke?s party is made of 3 total characters — on the top screen is the battlefield, a party of three on the right side of the screen and enemies on the left. The enemy?s field is a three by three grid. Based on where enemy characters are positioned, they will do more or less damage to the party. Enemy positioning is also key for skills and abilities and characters learn abilities that allow them to push enemies around the field.  For example, if your characters go one after the other, skills can be used to push enemies on top of each other on the same square and a final skill can be used to hit all enemies on that location. When a party members turn comes up, players can even push that member?s turn back so that a combo can be made. Be careful, as a party members turn is skipped they become vulnerable to attack and will take more damage. This is a big part of what makes Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology fun. Battles play out much like a puzzle and figuring out how to solve that puzzle gives a big sense of satisfaction.

Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology is a great example of time travel RPG done right. Figuring out the puzzle like systems and how to most efficiently eliminate enemies makes the battle system unique and enjoyable. On top of that, finding the correct path to get to the end of the game can make for a lot of exploration. If you are a fan of RPGs, puzzles and a good story, check this one out!

Note: Atlus provided us with a Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology 3DS code for review purposes.

Grade: A-