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Platform: PlayStation 2
Genre: Role-Playing
Publisher: Square-Enix
Developer: Tri-Ace
ETA: Fall 2005

 

Related Articles:
Review: Star Ocean: Till the End of Time (PlayStation 2)

Review: Suikoden IV (PlayStation 2)

 

 

 

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Radiata Stories

 

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For all of the console gamin’, RPG-lovin’ folk out there with an itch for angst, and teenaged heroes out to save the world in times of great change and dark deeds Tri-Ace, the folks responsible for Valkyrie Profile, have a new role playing game for the PlayStation 2 which appears to be tapping into many of these much visited themes with Radiata Stories, but with a twist. Before you start rolling your eyes, and hitting the “back” button because you’ve seen this premise thousands of times before, bare in mind that it is how the story is being told that is likely to make players want to trudge through the game’s plot.  With a heavy slant towards humor, Radiata Stories is gunning for a steady stream of belly chuckles from gamers.

 

As the name of the game may suggest, things take place in the world or Radiata, which is co-inhabited by both humans and fairies.  The problem is that these two groups don’t exactly get along, with long-lasting differences that cut right down to the two factions’ emotional cores.  It has gotten to such a point that they are on the brink of war, and with that we’re introduced to the games two 16-year-old heroes.  First there is Jack Russell, son of a renowned knight, and an inspiring knight himself, who lives alone with his sister just outside of Radiata since their parents died.  Secondly we have Ridley Silverlake, the only daughter in a proud noble family, who is pretty much going to be a knight whether she likes it or not.  Not surprisingly, these two are plunged headfirst into the maelstrom between the humans and fairies, as they head of on many an adventure.  The aforementioned hilarity in 

the game will come from the interaction between the various characters in Radiata Stories, coupled with a lot of situational stuff.  The humor will come in quick stabs, like watching some of the more comedy-oriented anime out there.

 

Taking a page from the Suikoden, players will have over 150 characters that can join them along the way in Radiata Stories.  When battle erupts, everything happens in real-time like in Star Ocean 3, where players do their thing with the main characters, while the rest of the party is AI controlled.  If players aren’t happy with how the 

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AI characters are behaving in battle, this can be corrected with a linking system.  What this does is allows the party to stay in certain formations while all of the characters therein are almost connected by elastic bands, ensuring that they don’t wander off too far.  The whole thing reminds me of when I was a kid and my parents would scold me for running off, saying, “If you don’t stay by my side here, we’re gonna put you on a leash like those parents over there did to their kid.  Is that really what you want?”  This linking system isn’t only for keeping naughty AI characters in line, but will also serve several tactical benefits, such as performing massive combo attacks.

 

A neat looking feature that Tri-Ace is incorporating into Radiata Stories is that depending on the time of day, different NPCs will be around doing different things.  The game is implementing a day / night cycle, but also taking care that people don’t do the same thing all day and night.  By the looks of it, players won’t be wandering around in the middle of the night, and see a farmer doing the exact same thing he was at midday.  Now this is the kind of realism that gaming actually needs, not all of this photo-realism BS that everyone seems to be pushing.

 

Judging by the overall look, feel, and flow of the game, the centerpiece of the Radiata Stories will be the humor in its story, which is nice.  There are far too many RPGs out there that take themselves way too seriously.  There’s a time and place for serious discussion, but of late a lot of RPG plotlines, especially on consoles, have gotten downright pretentious with all the erstwhile seriousness going around.  The toughest part will be translating everything extremely well, so that everything stays funny when in English.  At this point, we’re looking at a Fall 2005 release for this game here in North America.

 

Mr. Nash

(June 20, 2005)

 

 

 

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