|Release: February 22, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: N/A|
Of course, time travel is only part of the equation. This is an RPG, after all, and that means there's a battle system to learn. Again, Atlus has created an interesting mechanic in the way battles are fought, with a style that seems to borrow the best elements from a quasi-real time system like Valkyrie Profile's, as well as a more standard strategy RPG. Essentially, enemy placement is over a 3x3 grid, which plays heavily into your strategy.
Stocke and his teammates have various abilities capable of knocking enemies around into each other's occupying grids, which can be used to group foes together and create devastating combo strikes to multiple enemies. At the same time, you can switch turn positions with allies or enemies (the layout of turns is displayed and can be manipulated a la Final Fantasy X), though if you're hit before you're given a chance to perform an upcoming action, it inflicts a serious amount of damage. Thankfully, enemies appear on-screen (and are pretty vigilant in chasing you) so with a deft hand you can avoid them and move on at a steady pace, and given the grid system, the combat provides for a good amount of strategic enjoyment. Compared to the time travel mechanic, however, battles still feel pretty old school.
With its branching storylines and back-and-forth gameplay, Radiant Historia isn't for everyone, but if you're sick of other, more inane JRPG offerings available on the DS, this might be a good bet. Traveling through time makes for staggered progression—I can't tell you how many times I jumped back to an earlier chapter in the history relative to my narrative position—but if you're looking for a fresh take on time travel wrapped in a smart, engrossing package, don't pass it up.
CCC Freelance Writer