Judging remakes and conversions is not as easy as it seems: you have to examine various factors, contextualizing the new proposal in the market in which it is placed, without clinging to the moment in which it originally came out. It may happen that the remake or conversion of a great title may receive a different evaluation than the original: this is the case with this edition of Radiant Historia, which arrives for the first time, in Europe, with the subtitle Perfect Chronology. The JRPG signed by Atlus, which revolves all around time travel, was released in 2010 in Japan and was able to stand out in a library - that of the Nintendo DS - that was overflowing with Japanese role-playing games thanks to an intelligent plot and a refined gameplay. We must admit that the choice to convert it now, in what we could define the moment of sunset for the Nintendo 3DS, surprised us a little, but as they say ... better late than never.
Those who have time do not wait for time
It is important to underline that Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology is not a remake, but an improved conversion in several respects among which, however, the technical one does not stand out. If praise is wasted on the splendid soundtrack composed by Yoko Shimomura (Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy XV), the same cannot be said for the graphic sector which has remained substantially unchanged and strongly recalls its origins, which were already decidedly "old school" at the time of the original launch. Not that there is anything wrong with that colorful and carefully animated bitmap that mixes with the polygonal scenarios, but perhaps it would have been appropriate to at least rework on the graphic effects, especially in combat, which already looked rather old-fashioned in 2010. Atlus, on the other hand hers, took care to replace the illustrations depicting the various characters during the dialogues: the new high-resolution artworks by Masaki Hirooka are not bad, but unfortunately they seemed a bit too generic and the pencil of the previous designer, Hiroshi Konishi , perhaps it suited the atmosphere of the game better. Badly, you can download them as paid DLC ... a choice that, in all fairness, we found chilling.
On the gameplay front, however, the developer has made more appropriate changes and balances, but above all he has added a completely new subplot that allows you to revisit some important points of the story to discover new implications. Radiant Historia, in fact, tells the misadventures of Stocke, a kind of secret agent of Alistel, a kingdom afflicted by a progressive desertification of unnatural origin that seems to be caused by the empire of Granorg. During an important mission, Stocke finds himself in his hands a magical book entitled White Chronicle: our protagonist thus acquires the ability to travel through time and reach certain crucial moments in history, in which one choice rather than another may involve a totally different evolution of events. Accompanied by a band of captivating and well-defined supporting actors, Stocke will have to travel back and forth between the timelines to prevent the war from reaching a catastrophic end. In other words, we may have to go back in time to save a certain character, thus splitting the timeline into two paths: in one he will have survived and will give us a hand to continue in the adventure, in the other we will remain blocked forever.
During our wanderings we will come across numerous enemies. The battles take place in turns on an isometric grid, but there are two really peculiar elements that characterize them. First of all, the player can manipulate the order of actions by swapping the turn of one of his characters with that of another companion or, even, of an enemy, in order to facilitate the execution of real combos. Furthermore, it is possible to "move" the opponents themselves with the special abilities of our heroes, approaching them to hit them with an area attack or separating them to weaken them individually. Basically, the player must carefully manipulate both the turn order and the positioning of the enemies to take full advantage of it; this system grants exquisite strategic depth to an apparently simple but very creative combat system.
Intending to make this edition appealing to as many players as possible, Atlus has implemented three difficulty levels mimicking Intelligent Systems and Fire Emblem, but the result leaves something to be desired. Leaving aside the intermediate level, which would be the original one, and a new very high difficulty level for JRPG veterans and experts, the Friendly level should have been thought better: in essence, it allows you to avoid any combat simply by hitting enemies with Stocke's sword. If in the other settings this grants the initiative in battle, at Friendly level the enemy simply disappears into thin air and the player gains experience points and loot as if he had faced him on the field. In this way, the player who decides to resort to this ploy ends up turning Radiant Historia into a kind of visual novel. On the one hand, it is a system that allows you to avoid fighting in the areas already explored, especially when retracing some temporal junctions, but on the other we would have preferred a better compromise or, more simply, the possibility of changing the difficulty level at any time, which cannot be done. In any case, Radiant Historia is a balanced and permissive title: just a pity that it has not been localized in Spanish: on balance, the English language could be the most difficult opponent for those who don't chew it well.
Radiant Historia is today, as in 2010, a little gem that JRPG fans shouldn't miss. Of course, they need to be aware that the slightly old-fashioned look hides a compelling story and rich gameplay, as well as one of the most original solutions when it comes to time-traveling stories. A greater shrewdness on the part of Atlus - and a few more tweaks to the graphics - would have made this edition absolutely essential, but we are happy that in one way or another Radiant Historia has arrived here as well, as the sun sets on the Nintendo 3DS library. , to remind us once again what a fabulous console it was.
- Original and intelligent time travel mechanics, perfectly integrated into the gameplay
- Intriguing and deep combat system
- Exceptional soundtrack, enriched by the exclusive dubbing of this version
- Sometimes the objective or the "node" necessary to unblock the situation is not clear
- The DLC policy is hard to agree
- Graphically, he feels the full weight of his eight years