North American Nintendo DS box art
|Designer(s)||Hiroshi Konishi (Character Designer), Satoshi Takayashiki (World Designer)|
Radiant Historia (ラジアントヒストリア Rajianto Hisutoria) is a 2010 role-playing video game developed and published by Atlus for the Nintendo DS. The game's development team mostly consists of Atlus staff who previously worked on Megami Tensei games like Nocturne, Persona 3 and Strange Journey as well as the Etrian Odyssey series. The development team also includes other members who had previously worked on Radiata Stories. The game was released in Japan on November 3, 2010 and in North America on February 22, 2011.
The game gives a unique take on the concept of non-linear branching storylines, which it combines with the concepts of time travel and parallel universes, similar to the games Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross. Radiant Historia takes it much further by giving players the freedom to travel backwards and forwards through a timeline to alter the course of history, with each of their choices and actions having a major impact on the timeline. The player can return to certain points in history and live through certain events again to make different choices and see different possible outcomes on the timeline.
The player will be using the ability to travel through time and space throughout the game. The player will be changing the past to create a “true” future, and the game has the player travel through time and space as the player switches between parallel worlds. The game has many possible parallel endings.
The enemies are visible on the fields before an engagement and the player may choose to fight or avoid them in open combat. A battle begins when the party comes into contact with the enemies, or if a story event initiates a confrontation.
The battle system makes use of a positioning system called the 'Grid System'. Enemies are placed on a 3 x 3 grid, with each enemy standing in a single slot, except for some large enemies spanning multiple slots. If the player attacks an enemy who is in a grid space near the attacking character, the enemy will incur greater damage. However, the player will also be open to greater damage.
Some attacks can move enemies around the grid, stacking them on the same slot until a combo ends and consecutive attacks on this group of enemies hit all of them. Despite being a turn-based combat system each member of the party can switch turns with the others and even with enemies, giving more freedom to the player to perform combos and deal further damage to enemies, but having its risks too, as a party member who switches turns become more vulnerable until becoming able to move again.
The game takes place on the continent of Vainqueur, a land which had in the past been the seat of a great old empire. However, the old empire had misused the power of Flux, creating weapons which drained life out of living things. After some great calamity, the center of the continent was turned into a desert and all the bastions of the old empire reduced to ruins. The last remaining members of the old empire fled north to what became the kingdom of Granorg, where they were able to temporarily stall the desertification of the rest of the continent. This was accomplished through a ritual only the royal family could perform, where one royal sacrificed another to temporarily stop the desert from advancing. Native to the continent are two races of Beastkind, the wiry Satyros, who have a greater connection to the power of Flux than humans do, and the Gutrals, who despite being large and reminiscent of great apes, are intelligent and peaceful.
When the story starts, the continent is effectively governed by five powers. In the north, Granorg is at war with Alistel. Granorg has superior numbers, but cannot outright defeat Alistel because of the latter's use of thaumatech, which, among other things, allows Alistel's field soldiers to wear suits of mechanical armor. Also on the northern half of the continent is Celestia, the homeland of the Satyros, whose connection to Flux allows them to defend themselves in ways that humans cannot match. To the south is Cygnus, a human nation of outlaws and those displaced by the desertification; their primary defense is the desert itself, as neither the armies of Alistel or Granorg can cross in number. Finally, occupying the southeast, in the last wild jungles on the continent, is Forgia, homeland of the Gutrals.
On the continent of Vainqueur, a land of man and beasts, the holy nation of the East, Alistel is in a state of war with Granorg, a massive country to the West that is ruled harshly by Queen Protea. Alistel's land is slowly turning to desert while a strange disease, known as the "Sand Plague", is turning its people into sand. The ruler of Alistel, the Prophet Noah, insists this worldwide disease is the result of Protea's evil government. The people of Alistel thus believe they are fighting a holy war against Granorg.
One day, Stocke and his subordinates, agents with the intelligence agency of Alistel, are sent into Granorg territory to rescue a secret agent who was captured by the government of Granorg. After saving the agent, the group find themselves surrounded by the Granorg army, and Stocke is severely wounded. He awakens in Historia, a world where time and space are warped. There, two mysterious children, Teo and Lippti, give him the ability to travel through time and space using the power of a book his employer Heiss gave him, the White Chronicle. After using this new power to travel through time to avoid defeat, Stocke is given a choice: continue working under Heiss in the intelligence division, or join his friend Rosch's unit within the military. Each choice creates a timeline and each timeline has its own separate story, which nonetheless relates to the other one. Stocke is often forced to move between timelines to acquire skills and information he would not otherwise have access to, in order to avoid disasters, ambushes or simply to position himself properly to take advantage of his enemies or friends.
Under Heiss, Stocke is sent to Granorg to assassinate Princess Eruca. He only manages to enter the city by pretending to be part of a group of traveling entertainers, most of whom are Satyros, one of the native beastmen races of the continent. Among them are Aht, a nine-year-old shaman who, for better or worse, begins idolizing Stocke and using her abilities to protect him. Once he arrives in Granorg, he discovers that the princess knew he would be coming, and moreover, had not informed anyone else. Stocke learns that Eruca is the de facto leader of the resistance against her stepmother's reign, and is therefore more an asset to Alistel's war on Granorg than an enemy. Eruca also reveals that she is the only living descendant of the empire's rulers, and thus the only person who can perform the ritual to prevent desertification. However, as Queen Protea refuses to allow her to perform the ritual, the world could turn to sand in less than a decade unless Protea is removed from power.
Stocke refrains from carrying out the assassination, thus securing her support. Oddly enough, he is also aided in this regard by his appearance, which is similar to Eruca's late older brother, Ernst, who was executed by her father for treason. Despite his best intentions, his failure to complete his mission brands him a traitor in Alistel, and General Hugo orders his execution.
In the other timeline, Stocke is assigned to Rosch's unit and deployed to protect Alistel's mines from enemy sabotage, as well as protect a cavern which is the only route connecting the two mountainous territories of Granorg and Alistel, other than a slim valley protected by the oft-traded Sand Fortress. After successfully defending the mines, Stocke and Rosch are rewarded by General Hugo with promotions, but he also assigns them to the Sand Fortress with a platoon of new recruits. Alistel's second-in-command, Lt. General Raul, assumes this is to remove any possible future political opponents from the city, as Field Marshal Viola, who also was gaining popularity against Hugo's will, was also assigned there. After defeating the Granorg army in two battles, Rosch's entire brigade is killed. Stocke then discovers a piece of paper proving that the Granorgites were being leaked information from within Alistel.
Stocke returns with the critically wounded Rosch to Alistel, and, taking the advice of Lt. General Raul, sneaks into Hugo's office to search for evidence of deals with Granorg. He finds a coded note that he believes to show the truth, and promptly flees Alistel with Raul, Rosch, and Rosch's doctor, Sonja. They arrive in Celestia and learn that Hugo had a secret pact with Protea's advisors, Dias and Selvan, to eliminate Protea from the throne, annex Granorg, and then conquer the entire continent. Stocke convinces Rosch to become the commander of Celestia's army, and Celestia prepares for war against Granorg and Alistel.
In the history created by Stocke refusing to leave Heiss, Stocke finds asylum in the desert nation of Cygnus, and convinces King Garland the Mighty to prepare for war against Granorg. Eruca then takes him to meet the Gutral tribe, who only meet with humans if they bear the sacred "Beast Mark". Stocke acquires the Mark, and recruits the Gutrals to fight against Granorg. They depose Protea, in doing so obtaining the "Etherion", a Granorg treasure that can neutralize a weapon designed under the orders of Hugo that turns its victims to sand.
Stocke returns to the other timeline, recruits the Gutrals using his Beast Mark, and enters the annexed Granorg with the Etherion. After defeating the Dias Knights and reluctantly killing Viola, who chose to remain loyal to Alistel because she believed that the death of her, the Valkyrie, would convince its troops to give up their fight, Stocke discovers that Hugo has been forced into confession by Alistel citizens that Noah was dead the whole time. Stocke pursues Hugo to Alistel and slays him.
In the final chapter of the "True History", created by both timelines combining, Heiss invades Granorg's Royal Hall, where the ritual to stop desertification is performed. Stocke confronts him, and Heiss explains that the sacrificial victims of the ritual are royals who were killed by their own family, and brought back to life by giving them part of their sibling's soul. During the ritual, the Sacrifice dies again, and the half of a soul returns to its original body, stabilizing the Mana of the continent, and thus slowing desertification, in the process. Stocke is, Heiss explains, Eruca's late brother Ernst, who was executed by his father King Victor for treason, given a part of a soul by Eruca for use in the ritual, and then captured by Heiss, who was Victor's brother and an intended Sacrifice himself, and had his memories modified so he'd live the life of Stocke.
Heiss believes that the suffering of the royal family, which he has seen as a Sacrifice, and thus a wielder of the Black Chronicle, is caused by their attempts to protect a world that is not worth saving. He plans to recruit Stocke to his side, leaving Eruca as the only living member of the royal family without any Sacrifices to use, but Stocke refuses. Heiss then attempts to absorb enough souls to hasten desertification enough to destroy the world altogether, so Sacrifices will no longer be necessary. He fails, and uses the Black Chronicle to take the party to Historia, which, along with the Chronicles, was created with the intention of enlightening Sacrifices, resulting in the ritual being more effective. He then consumes the suffering of all past Sacrifices, and becomes the monster Apocrypha, which is destroyed by Stocke and his allies.
If the player has not done sufficient sidequests, the game ends with Stocke being sacrificed by Eruca to prevent the desertification. However, it is possible to unlock a better ending, in which the player can see the major characters continuing to live out their lives; most notably, Raynie promises to wait for Stocke to return, Viola survives her wounds and is cured of an illness she became afflicted with on the front lines, and Rosch and Sonja are married, and encounter the soldiers in Rosch's brigade, whom they thought all dead. One of the soldiers explains a man who is implied to be Stocke rescued them. Heiss and Stocke wait in Historia during this ideal ending, and Heiss forcibly sacrifices himself instead of Stocke, seeing the difference Stocke made to the lives of the characters affected by the aforementioned sidequests, and realizing the world is worth saving. Stocke then returns to the real world.
Development and release
A Japanese trademark for the game's name was known to have existed as far back as March 2010. At that point, nothing was known about the game except its name. It was not until July 2010 that an issue of Famitsu revealed it to be a role-playing game for the Nintendo DS that involved time travel. It was later revealed to involve many staff members who have worked on the Shin Megami Tensei series, and former members of tri-Ace from the company Headlock, who have been previously cited for working on the similarly named Radiata Stories.
Sample of "-HISTORIA-", the game's ending theme sung by Haruka Shimotsuki.
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The music of Radiant Historia is composed by Yoko Shimomura, who is best known for her works for Super Mario RPG, Legend of Mana and the Kingdom Hearts series. The ending theme "-HISTORIA-" is sung by Haruka Shimotsuki.
|Radiant Historia Original Soundtrack|
|1.||"RADIANT HISTORIA"||RADIANT HISTORIA||3:26|
|2.||"機械仕掛けの王国"||The Machinist Kingdom||3:10|
|3.||"戦場へ"||To the Battlefield||1:43|
|4.||"Blue Radiance"||Blue Radiance||4:09|
|6.||"その先に待つ未来へ"||To the Future that Awaits Ahead||2:40|
|7.||"荒野の向こう"||Beyond the Wilderness||3:15|
|8.||"The Edge of Green"||The Edge of Green||3:14|
|10.||"砂塵が見せた夢"||Dreams Showed by a Cloud of Dust||2:36|
|11.||"天青石の眠る庭"||The Garden Where the Celestite Lies||2:59|
|12.||"世界を繋ぐ調べ"||The Melody Connecting the World||1:47|
|13.||"空は青く高くどこまでも"||Unending Clear Blue Sky||3:06|
|14.||"暗闇に舞う翳（かげ）"||Shadows Dance in the Darkness||4:14|
|15.||"The Red Locus"||The Red Locus||3:34|
|16.||"Wildness and Toughness"||Wildness and Toughness||3:35|
|18.||"風と羽根が還る場所"||A Place Where Wind and Feather Return||2:22|
|21.||"世界の記憶"||Memories of the World||3:07|
|22.||"An Earnest Desire of Grey"||An Earnest Desire of Grey||4:25|
|25.||"-HISTORIA- (instrumental ver.)"||-HISTORIA- (instrumental ver.)||4:26|
Jason Schreier of Wired gave the game a score of nine out of ten stars and concluded, "Atlus has created the perfect blend of innovation and tradition." Matt Peckham of PC World praised the game's nonlinear multidimensional concept which allows the game to be played differently by travelling to a decision point and choosing another path, in contrast to "BioWare-style head pats, where whatever you choose, the game plays out more or less as it would have anyway." The non-linear time travel system of Radiant Historia has been compared to later RPGs such as the PlayStation Portable version of Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together and Final Fantasy XIII-2.
In IGN's "Best of 2011" awards, the game was nominated for the "Best 3DS/DS Story" and "Best 3DS/DS Role-Playing Game" awards. NintendoLife gave it an honourable mention for the Game of the Year award. RPGFan gave it the "Best Traditional RPG" award (tied with The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky), while editor Neal Chandran chose it as his pick for the "Best RPG" award. Game Informer gave it the "Best Old-School Homage" award. Samantha Nelson of The A.V. Club chose it as her staff pick for Game of the Year. RPGamer chose the game as Third Place for the RPG of the Year award.
Game Director Mitsuru Hirata stated on Twitter that he hopes to produce a sequel to the game in the future.
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