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Preview - Radiata Stories
Previewed on 8/7/05

Kick Stuff

The game development company responsible for Valkyrie Profile and Star Ocean looks to keep things rolling with Radiata Stories. Fans of Tri-Ace will remember that this company likes to do just that with smooth gameplay, and that of Radiata Stories looks to be right in line with what has become their standard.

Japanese reviewers and early testers have heavily compared the game to Star Ocean 3, citing the battle system and menu system as having big similarities with Radiata Stories. Maybe some of this comparison comes from the pure chaos that is the battle system. The Radiata take is for players to control the main hero Jack, being able to issue exact commands to him and only him. Yep, he's the only one that can be given exact, specific commands and the only one players can "become" and run around the battlefield. The other party members can be instructed with full-group commands or general suggestions, but nothing the player does will cause a character other than Jack to use a specific skill on-demand. They can, however, act immediately on the strategic commands, so when the player tells someone to things such as lie down on the ground and play dead, they'll do it fairly quickly.

Another thing players will see in battle is the Volty Gauge, which is the Radiata's name for what other games have called Limit Break bar or Over Drive Meter. When this fills up, special skills become available which, as RPGers will naturally assume, come in many varieties. These could be big damage attacks, useful healing spells, etc. During the fighting, players' main focus will be running Jack around and using the square button to attack the nearest baddies. After a while, they can press X to use a special attack. "Links" will also be a key. These are orders from Jack that make the party act in unison. Some are group attacks and some defensive maneuvers; it depends on which Link you use. In the process, party members might sometimes tell you about their situations with little blurbs on the bottom of the screen where they talk about what just happened to them. Outside of battle, there is an emphasis on Jack kicking stuff. He can kick all kinds of things in the world, including other people. But watch out, cause doing that might start a fight!

Players of Zelda games, Brave Fencer Musashi, and some others will take kindly to the time passage in Radiata Stories. The time in the game is almost always moving, and it has day/night shifts, so the town will seem a lot more "real," because people will be tending to their daily business. Here are two screens of Jack during the night, then at day (Aside: I think those statues are save points). Night time screen, Day time screen.

The game's story starts by telling players about a legendary hero, then placing them in Jack's home, where he prepares to take a military entrance test. Upon being accepted into the Radiata Army, he is paired with the feisty female knight, Ridley Silverlake, which is sure to bring on hilarious odd-couple-like consequences. There is said to be a good amount of non-linearity in the game, but nothing crazy like the Romancing SaGa series is known for.

Look for Tri-Ace and Square Enix's Radiata Stories on September 6th. The game will cost $49.99 US.




-Eric Emerson