I just cleared it with the True ending, and feel completely satisfied. Sadly though, I think RH will become one of those quality RPGs that are completely forgotten and unknown a few months down the road. It’s got low print run, and probably nonexistant popularity outside of GameFAQs and other forums of the like. It’s apparently selling pretty badly even for a new IP, although that may be because of the low print run. I’ve heard more complaints about people not being able to find this game anywhere than I ever want to, Amazon jacked up their price for $25, and it got released like a week before Pokemon Black. I guess it’s just bad luck, although from what I’ve seen every single EBGames close to my house has at least 1 copy of the game. I guess people in my area just don’t like RPGs, or don’t like to stray from known franchises. I did meet a dude who played Persona 3 Portable–at a gym, no less–so I’m happy.
Anyways, I feel like pouring out all my thoughts before doing a review, so SPOILERS FROM HERE ON
I liked Stocke a lot, for a protagonist. I find him the coolest guy on the team, which is quite rare for an RPG. He starts out a bit typical, being our silent guy who doesn’t like to talk, but progresses to become a person who truly cares for others. And this is done in a believable way too. He’s not the whiny dude who always has emotional outbursts, and also not the silent emo guy either. Stocke stays calm and actually tries to think his way through, and doesn’t go into an emoing phase like what is so popular these days. He kinda reminds me of Yusei, in the sense that he’s a stoic but cares for his friends.
As for the villain, I could pretty much tell he was evil the first time I saw him. No mysteries there. Heiss was very obviously the final boss, and they played the sympathetic villain card. I don’t normally like sympathetic villains in RPGs because we end up seeing MOAR ANGST or taking him down doesn’t feel as satisfying. It also seems pretty abrupt most of the time. Good thing they wrote Heiss well, and he was actually successful as a sympathetic villain with legitimate and believable excuses. He wasn’t the hardest final boss, but certainly takes the annoying card during the second phase of his final form where he put all my party members to sleep and I could do naught but watch as they get their health chipped away. Thank the Random Number God that his petrify never hit, and they woke up in time for healing.
ALL the playable characters were more than tolerable at worst, and most go into the “want to see more backstory” category. This extends to non-party members too, seeing as how much I liked Viola and Garland. I wonder how ATLUS handles their characters so well. Raynie is one of the rare main girls that I actually like, and I actually like her the most (it’s not just because she’s the hottest, I swear!). I wanted to see her and Stocke reunite after the ending, although leaving it open-ended works too since you can pretty much guess what’s going to happen. It’s kinda strange how I actually wanted to see some more romance in this game even though it’s a put-off for me in most games where you can’t choose your love interest. I really wanted to see more of Viola and Garland, because I ended up liking them even with their limited screentime. Good characters don’t need many appearances to leave an impression =D
The music was great, and especially memorable is the track that plays during sad events. I think I want the soundtrack…The graphics aren’t WOW or anything, and the game looks pretty retro. The sprites are well-drawn, but each character only has one expression so it gets very akwards when people say “Oh no, that’s horrible!” with a smile. Couldn’t they at least make a normal and a sad sprite, if anything? The 2D sprites aren’t exactly detailed, and the backgrounds are plain for the most part. God, I don’t want to go through Gran Plains anymore because it is huge and everywhere looks the same.
Radiant Historia has a great story, even with the cliches, and it has a pretty original concept and system. The time-travelling basically makes nothing permanently missable. The battle system is fun with the use of combos, but there isn’t much when it comes to customization. There’s plenty of sidequests, some of them mandatory if you wish to aim for the true end. At the end, there isn’t a whole lot of end-game content and RH isn’t the type of game you can normally play for over 100 hours, but it certainly left a strong impression on me. I finished the game in less than 35 hours. Those were some good 30+ hours, though. Enjoyed every moment, and nothing ever dragged out. The true ending was completely satisfying, strongly implying that Stocke goes back to see his friends. After beating the game, I really wanted to give my game box a big hug.
RH doesn’t go with the dark style of Shin Megami Tensei games, but it made me love Atlus even more. Go Atlus! Reprint, and sell more copies!
Wow, I gone on for far longer than I intended to. Radiant Historia really is a good modern RPG though, and it will probably find a special place in my heart. I’ll write a review on the weekend or something.