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Radiata Stories

Platform(s): PlayStation 2
Genre: Role-Playing
Publisher: Square-Enix
Developer: tri-ACE


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PS2 Preview - 'Radiata Stories'

by Agustin on Aug. 7, 2005 @ 12:41 a.m. PDT

Prepare to journey through a living, breathing fantasy world in the Square-Enix/tri-ACE co-production Radiata Stories. Explore a living, breathing fantasy world where time passes and NPCs all have their own daily routines. Recruit allies and pick sides in the war between humans and the faerie. The future's riding on your decisions.

Genre: RPG
Publisher: Square-Enix
Developer: Tri-Ace
Release Date: September 6, 2005

After the so-so Star Ocean: 'Till the End of Time, I have to admit, I felt a little shaky diving into another current-generation Tri-Ace game. But in the case of Radiata Stories, a wholly new IP with a very different take on the RPG genre, I can mostly set my worries about the developer aside, especially after spending some time with the quaint preview version of the game.

In a nutshell: Cutesy graphics, lighthearted presentation, easy to pick up battle mechanics, and non-linear gameplay. Quite honestly, after playing Final Fantasy X and X-2, Shadow Hearts: Covenant, Tales of Symphonia, and many other linear Japanese RPGs this generation, not to mention wholly hating the likes of Unlimited Saga, a solid non-linear experience that isn't set in Generic Fantasy Setting Number 553 is exactly what I need. (Sorry Elder Scrolls, but I'm looking for something a little bit different.)

Radiata Stories allows players to choose their own path, right down to the basic side they will fight for. But this is not a case of Fable-esque "flighty good guy or totally gothed-out evil dude." Like a breath of fresh air, the lighthearted nature of this game permeates all it has to offer, right down to the character's names. With a hero like Jack Russell, who wouldn't smile a little while giving Radiata Stories a play through?

Like the similarly open-ended Dragon Quest series, Radiata Stories features a day/night system, upon which the paths of NPCs rely. In true non-linear fashion, many events and quests can only be triggered during specific times during the day.

Battles are a generally straightforward affair, speaking in terms of Tri-Ace's previous works. Battles are real-time (with Z-axis movement, not simple side-scrolling like the Tales games) with a penchant for hacking and slashing. The depth comes in when the Link Battle system is put to use, allowing players to perform combination attacks with other party members.

Like Suikoden before it, Radiata Stories features an impressive amount of customization, thanks to masses of items to equip and nearly 200 available characters to recruit and take into battle in the final version of the game.

While Radiata Stories does not look to have the most captivating storyline, or the most complex and difficult battles this side of Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, it does have a wholeheartedly enjoyable sheen covering its presentation. Players are given a world in which to do whatever they please, whenever they please. Hopefully, the final version will be large enough to keep players stuck to the feeling of discovery for long enough; if so, Radiata Stories could be one of the most straight-up fun RPGs to release this year.

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