You need to play Radiant Historia. Yes, you.

All of you. A friend of mine - the sister of RPGC’s own Esker, as it happens - having recently completed the game, told me that it was “better than Chrono Trigger”. I told her to shut her filthy mouth, but she persisted.

Having played about seventeen or so hours into the game myself, I’m not sure I’d agree with her assessment, but it’s certainly a superb piece of work. Good characters, great story, excellent gameplay, and one of the more interesting time travel mechanics I’ve come across. If you own a DS, like JRPGs and have not played this game, you owe it to yourself to rectify this situation.

It’s in my backlog. I’ve heard good things about it, but I’m mostly playing DQIX these days.

Shit. That reminds me, I was planning to put together a wiki shrine for this. I need to get back on this.

Additionally, Esker’s sister isn’t lying. The game has some issues (like being developed on a shoestring budget) but it’s definitely the game I would consider to be the true sequel to Chrono Trigger as it does the whole time travel/alternate dimensions thing far far better than Chrono Cross did.

That’s a lofty claim. Details please? (Spoiler-tag them if necessary.)

Like I said, I’m not sure I second the claim. But really, this game packs a hefty punch everywhere it counts.

Basic rundown of the plot: The protagonist, Stocke, is given control of the White Chronicle, a book that allows him to travel between significant moments in time. The story is largely split between two timelines, diverging from a choice Stocke makes, and as you travel down each timeline, you encounter problems you can only solve by changing the past, sometimes in another timeline. Any changes you make can have effects on either present, and both timelines are rife with warfare and political intrigue, but ultimately, Stocke’s goal is above all that; the world he lives in is slowly dying, being consumed by desert, and somehow, Stocke holds the key to stopping it. Things are made more difficult by an unknown party who holds the Black Chronicle, who is attempting to disrupt the timeline for reasons unknown.

But really, I don’t do it justice.

What I was trying to get at is that it isn’t better than CT per say (a game made with some of the best resources available versus a game made on a shoestring budget), but it is definitely better than that other sequel to CT, Chrono Cross.

Chrono Cross’s plot involves a split timeline where in one the MC dies and another where he lives then he gets magicked into the other timeline, breaks into a manor for some reason (possibly to reference to some other game), either runs a bunch of asshole dwarfs out of a swamp or gets an awesome party member (both choices at the expense of the fairy population when the dwarfs decide on a final solution to their living arrangements), gets his body swapped with the furry body snatcher (for reasons too complicated to post in this abridged summary), tangles with the difficulties of fantasy racism (mostly as a cat transformed into a cat trapped on board a ship with a really obnoxious BGM blaring in the background), puts dead ghost dad to rest (to get a sword needed to vanquish another sword), takes a trip to the awesome dead sea (full of frozen time and merged time displaced fun stuffs), goes on a dragon fetch quest for a bunch of plot coupons (also for useless summons, awesome armors, and a lame rock opera), get your naked body back and visit the also awesome Chronopolis to fight fate (and learn through a deluge of walls-o’-text of fate’s massive Xanatos Gambit and wonder why he didn’t do squat with the body he snatched), watch the dragons come together to say fuck humanity (because the dinosaurs were colossal sore losers), fly up to their fortress of gloom (on a boat with an alien anti-gravity device strapped to it), stumble onto a face in a rock in the middle of the dungeon who dumps walls of exposition and plot onto your party in a vain last minute attempt to cobble together an explanation of what the fuck everyone’s doing (aside from ‘go seek the frozen flame’), beat the boss of the tower and have Belthasar try to explain his and Lucca’s massive Xanatos Roulette to save Schala (with yet another massive wall-'o-text), and hands you a second time egg (which he somehow got from Gaspar), only to arrive back at the start to get wall-'o-text’d one more time by the ghosts of protagonists past.

My point is that there’s a lot of needless sidetracking and pointless fetch quests for a game that doesn’t even bother to suggest the true purpose of your quest until the eleventh hour in reams of massive walls of text, and hardly ever uses the whole alternate dimension mechanic except as an occasional plot device and a vehicle for obtuse environmental messages.

For Radiant Historia’s plot, without going into too much details, involves a continent’s ecosystem that started dying a few years back and the various nations waring for the last of the available resources. The split in timelines stems from a conscious decision made by the MC about where he places his endeavors within his country and the power of the principle plot macguffin, The White Chronicle, allows him to see how both choices would’ve played out. However there’s also an alternate plot macguffin called the Black Chronicle, with its user actively interfering with the MC’s various tasks and endeavors in an effort to cause the ruin of the continent. Both Chronicles allow their users to move through time to points called nodes where important choices are made by the user and lets them explore the alternatives of those choices and the consequences of them. Granted all of these decisions save for the first one will lead to bad ends because while the immediate problem was resolved, it was done too inefficiently and the overall situation was left to deteriorate beyond a salvageable point. That said, the way the alternate timelines handle themselves is also vastly different from the usual Universe A, Universe 1/Fighting Mongooses that CC did where the principle difference lies only in the path the MC chose at the beginning of the game and thus everyone else is largely unaffected because the MC’s decision was only a personal choice, thus the timelines influence each other as if there are two MCs running around rather than bringing alternate versions of the PCs to meet each other for a tech or some lame shit. That said, the basic plot more or less follows the MC’s choice to either remain as a spy under a dubious spymaster or join the army as the sub-commander of a newly formed brigade under an old friend. Unfortunately I can’t really go into the plot anymore without dropping spoilers everywhere, but I can say that one of the greatest strengths of the plot is how well everything fits together.

The tl;dr of this entire post is that of these two games one is a PSX JRPG with a typical PSX era Squaresoft overly complicated plot that makes no sense under any real scrutiny and can’t even get to the point, whereas the other game looks and feels like something made during the SuperNES era and has a coherent plot though not exactly as straight forward as CT’s was.

Jesus. What a wall-o’-text.

Teal Deer! :hahaha;

Actually, I read every word above (you know me :stuck_out_tongue: ) and I’m thankful for the explanations. I also actually played Chrono Cross (and before playing Chrono Trigger too) so yeah, I know that was a mess. But it did have its moments, like when you run into the ghosts of the Beauty Pageant Contestants. Each one still spouting her “win over the crowd” speech! SO funny yet tragic.

Anyway, I may give Radiata a try. But only AFTER I’ve read enough about to make sure I understand the whole thing (good thing I’m immune to spoilers. :wink: )

I liked it. I especially loved the innovative gameplay and how much it took the focus away from “hit it until it dies” and towards actual tactical usage of skills.

However, I felt the game runs out of steam as it progresses. The plot is good as it develops, but many deliveries feel pretty flat. The only character in the party that I felt got a fleshed characterization was Rosch. Several others either only have minute bits limited to one of the “correct choice/bad end” sidequests (Marco, Gafka, Eruca) or were building up to something that just petered out. Aht’s running thing about using her powers responsibly just kinda fizzles out of the plot so long as you don’t pick the wrong choice in her sidequest, the flaw being, she still does nothing if you don’t do the sidequest at all.

But worst of all is Stocke. I didn’t mind Stocke at all, I rather liked him being mature and competent, but he kinda goes nowhere. He’s completely static. This is particularly a problem since one of the main purposes of what’s going on is mentally steeling Stocke’s resolve, and that just doesn’t show at all. If his emotional and mental development weren’t such a major goddamn plot point I’d let it slide, but it is. You can appreciate when, say, Luke fon Fabre acts maturely and centered because he used to be a raging dickhead at first and a suicidal moper later. With Stocke… he just does stuff. And by the end, he just happens to be locked in the generic Jesus role that he just sorta slides into without much development, and it’s so goddamn dull to watch, especially since you see that twist coming a mile away.

Oh, and Raynie. Yeah, that was boringly predictable at first and total bullshit later. I especially like how her character quest gets triggered by a decision you make chronologically AFTER the quest’s node. And it’s all on the same timeline, so don’t give me that “emotions leaking over” bullshit.

And to be honest, I felt that the actual plot-relevant usage of time travel and different realities wasn’t handled that well. It’s a fun gameplay element and makes for cool sidequests, but the actual plot-related events mostly feel contrived. When they don’t amount to “get key to arbitrary roadblock from timeline A to B”, they just feel like bullshit. The whole “leaking” over from one timeline to the other felt like a crappy excuse and never made any sense to me (Seriously, HOW does talking to a dude in one timeline make him move in the next? Did he just leave the post and stood up his contact because a lingering feeling told him he should go away? For that matter, how the fuck did those explosives get there in the timeline where they’re relevant, YOU WEREN’T THERE TO STOP THE BANDITS, it makes no sense), and for the most part, the timeline switches were just two different stories running parallel while forcing you to do them in alternating chunks rather than a real time travel plot. Also, sometimes there are obvious solutions Stocke just totally misses, like warning Rosch that he’s gonna get ambushed the day before the battle. The only reason that’s impossible is aparently that he doesn’t think of making preemptive changes from more than a few minutes before.

Overall, fun game to play, it’s best when it focuses on the war and political conflicts, but it just loses steam completely towards the end and just turns dull in the last stretch. The whole ending is a big anticlimax. Oh, and the whole part where Socke saves Kiel and the rest was Deus Ex bullshit, the whole reason you don’t save them in the game is that there was no fucking node there.

Indeed, it’s a really great game, and I’d recommend it to anybody. Also helps that Stocke doesn’t mess around and isn’t like your typical JRPG heroes.

Personally, I enjoyed the Bad Endings since they have nice little tidbits of various “What If?” situations.