Time Travel RPGs are rare these days. Chrono Trigger pioneered in this category and ever since then, it is hard to find a good game that can replicate the same success of Chrono Trigger in any shape or form. The main reason why I feel like Chrono Trigger worked so well was because it didn’t rely on the simple time travel mechanics to convolute the plot, but instead tried to use it as an alternative to show what kind of shape the story will take if different circumstances are presented in the way of the characters.
When it comes to taking the time travel to create a good game, Radiant Historia comes close. It was originally released for the Nintendo DS but the recent remake is a good way to get back into the game since it tries to bring it back to a more modern platform with some tweaks that make the game easier to deal with in the current generation. If you are one of those folks who barely have time anymore for lengthy RPGs and have already invested a considerable amount of your time in the original game, Radiant Historia remake even has a dedicated difficulty set aside for this exact purpose by letting you just go through the story while avoiding combat.
Radiant Historia deals with time travel in the form of two alternative timelines that the player can traverse back and forth, in order to correct the course of some events that shape the life of the main character, Stocke. However, one choice in a timeline will affect the other timeline which feels like an inspiration from the way Chrono Cross implemented its parallel worlds. The charm of Radiant Historia is experiencing each event during the time travel and then taking this knowledge to the past to attempt to change the future. The writing is great here and credit needs to be given where it is due, since if the writers had failed with creating a coherent narrative, the game could have failed with what it is trying to achieve here in term of presenting multiple timelines.
The battle system in Radiant Historia is turn-based but without random encounters, so you can still see the enemies on the screen before you get into battle with them. This normally means that you can try to attack them to take advantage in battle, or avoid fighting them altogether. The combat works on a 3×3 grid based approach letting you target specific enemies and depending on the position of your party and the enemies, the outcome of attacks and special moves will change. It is a mix of strategic combat with the traditional turn-based system and it does work well, although it is also rather slow paced due to the nature of its turn-based system. I enjoyed executing some of the combo attacks with a party members and if you have a powerful party, it is easy to make short work of the enemies.
As I have mentioned earlier, there are two new difficulty modes added in this remake. One is the so called ‘Friendly’ mode that basically lets you experience the story without dealing with the headache of combat. It is the recommended way to go through the game if you just want to play the new additional content or have a refresher for the story. The other is the ‘Hard’ mode that is far more challenging and best for those who have mastered the original game and are looking for something a little more difficult for their second time.
The new content in the Remake is in the form of a bonus dungeon: Vault of Time. This dungeon is mainly for those who are invested in the main game and its battle system. Going through the dungeon earlier can help you get some nice reward in the form of abilities and equipment for your character. However, if you just want to experience the new story content, it is presented through access to a ship called ‘Dunamis’ that lets you travel to alternative realities separate from the main story timelines. You will traverse through time and space in search of artifacts essentially making the bulk of the new content offered here. This makes it the third timeline offering alternative realities however since it is separate from the main game, it never feels as good and ends up more like a filler to the main story. It is a good way to learn more about the world and its history if this is something that excites you.
Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology is a good remake but I can’t help but feel like it wasn’t needed at all. The game already had a rather old-school art style and the newly updated visuals don’t really offer a huge change to the way the game looks now. The additional content and difficulty mode is nice and all, but a sequel would have worked better rather than a remake of a game that I have already played long ago. Perhaps this remake can lead to an increase in the interest for a sequel however we have to wait and see how it all plays out now. That said, it is without a doubt, one of the finest RPG that has been released for the Nintendo 3DS and despite having time travel as a subject matter, it still manages to avoid some of the complications usually associated with it.
Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology Review (3DS)
Game Reviewed on: 3DS
Game description: It’s been six years since Radiant Historia was released on Nintendo DS in 2011, but it’s time to return to Vainqueur and unlock the time traveling power of the White Chronicle once again in Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology. This beloved classic is an expanded 3DS port of the original game that will contain a great deal of added gameplay/story content, updated presentation, and new ways to experience the adventure!
Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology feels like an unnecessary remake of otherwise a great game that is one of the best time travelling RPG for the Nintendo 3DS.