Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology - Review

Please note that as everyone already knows how awesome the original game is, I'm not really going to review the old content. I am going to mainly go over the changes, the additions to the game in the remake.

As so, there will be spoilers in this post, mainly at the end when I get to the scenario involving Nemesia. Since I'm going over what changed, that naturally includes content related to the story. If you follow the Radiant Historia tab, you'll probably find my post about the original game though.

First, before I start, let me just say, that the original game was very complete. It did what it needed to do.
Because it was so completed, it is only natural that adding anything would be considered unneeded additions.

As you can see, upon completion of the game, it took me at least 50 hours. (I gamed over enough to add several hours to what the file reads)
There is a hidden boss that is available on New Game+, but it has no real story and does not affect your completion rate.

The improvements:

The User Interface has been updated. It looks a lot better now.
The Skip feature has also been improved... supposedly, but I don't really remember the original. I think that the original skipped everything, while the current only skips what you have seen.
Also, a number of new checkpoints in the game was added, which allows easier traveling to key points in the game.

Voice acting was excellent, as you may expect. That said, I couldn't help but notice that because it was voiced... realistically? Sometimes, a person could end up murmuring and I really couldn't hear the line. That makes sense if you think about it, but it was just something I couldn't help but notice.
Yeah, the localized version will probably be dubbed and thus will not have the veteran voice acting from the JP version. 
The Vault of Time
It's a new place you can go to in the game, where you can fight enemies and gain a type of currency only usable in the Vault. You can use this currency to trade for items, including ones you can only get in it. As you progress through the game, the inventory will expand. However, you cannot use items while in the Vault, and leaving the Vault makes you lose any of the currency.
I think this is a pretty interesting addition to the game. Not only can you use it to grind EXP, but you can also use it to power yourself up. However, the game isn't going to just let you take it easy, by giving you various limitations. 
Also, you have two special monsters in the Vault. One that gives you a lot of the unique currency and is incredibly rare, and another monster that is extremely powerful and will pretty much guarantee death if you fight it. This has a higher chance of appearing when you have more currency. 
No matter where you are in the game, you will always have every character that has joined you in this area.
Stocke's walking no longer causes an unnaturally loud SE.

You now have an incredible amount of save slots. I think you now have 6 save slots on the game cartridge and even more for the SD card. Also, once you beat the game, you are allowed to create a save slot solely to be used to start a New Game+. (You can't save in this slot, as the use it to start a new game with the slot and save in another)
You are now able to buy equipment for characters that are not in your party at the moment. You can also look at their stats and such, though, of course, you cannot use them in battle.

Introduction of Support skills
So at various timings in battle, a character in your party NOT in battle may cut-in and use one of their support skills. The default is a normal attack for every character, but as you progress through the game, they will be able to learn all kinds, from using magic, reviving a dead character, boosting your stats, and trying to inflict a status ailment. Eruca even learns the very powerful support skill that will destroy the Turn Panel of the nearest enemy.
This definitely makes battles more interesting, and it gives characters that you don't use a time to shine. Especially Eruca, who is ever as always plagued by her low HP and low physical defense.
Instead of just one difficulty, you now have a Hard mode available, as well as a Near Death mode downloadable as free DLC. You cannot switch to a easier difficulty if you choose Near Death, BTW.
Since I already played the original game, I decided to play on Hard mode.
And boy, let me say, it was hard. If you follow the "Avoid grinding unless gets stuck at a boss" and "No grinding for money and just buying equipment when possible", you will be forced to think up strategies as you game over again and again at bosses. You might find that you are only doing 1 damage to the boss, and realize you are going to need to get buffs to properly do damage. You might realize you cannot survive the enemies surrounding the boss and go all out the first turn to take them out. And so on.
Even if you grind and keep up with the equipment (which is impossible without grinding as you will not have the money to constantly update your equipment), it will still be difficult enough, especially the end-game bosses.
Very challenging, but very interesting because of that. That said, I would not suggest Hard mode if you have never played the first game, because the battle system is unique and you will probably despair at the difficulty.

The iffy ones and the bad ones
(They are together because there is usually something bad along with the iffy ones)
(Oh, and the bad ones are highlighted in red to make them very obvious)

The character designs have changed. ...Which you'll get used to. Even Eruca's completely different design. I mean, the designs themselves aren't that bad. Definitely does not match the atmosphere of the story as much as the original, but they aren't bad. And the new character designs even have different facial expressions, so you can actually see that they are sad or mad or whatever. Yes, you can pay a little money to get the DLC that lets you use the original artwork, but the dot-art characters do not change, so... yeah.
Oh, and the text in-game as well as the dot-art characters have been changed here and there to fit the new character designs. 

That said, I do have two specific problems with it. One, the female characters' faces tend to be too round. Which makes them look too young. This is especially noticeable with Viola, who really just looks too young.

The other is the CG used for when you see Eruca in her room. ...Yeah, I don't know why they had to make her look like random fanservice elf girl No. 12435253. So, so uniftting.

Nemesia and the possible worlds, a third timeline
Oh boy, won't this get long.

Okay, let me get out of the way the absolute worst, worst, worst part of the remake.
They made a HUGE mistake not playing out the end credits at the end of the original main story. As players of the original game would know, the ending of the true end is quite emotional. I had tears in my eyes when playing this. Normally, Historia (the ED song) would then play, ending the game on an uncertain note. Not everything has been solved yet, but surely if slowly, everything is starting to get better. This atmosphere is incredible, to say the least.

Such a goddamn awesome line

But what does this game do?! After the ending, instead of playing Historia, the twins come along and go "Well, cool and all, but you can actually get a better ending. So go help Nemesia." and that's it.
Man, let me say, that was so efficient at killing my tears.
They could have just as easily played Historia, and then after the credits, insert the new scenario.
Frankly, I would suggest playing the original game JUST to be able to experience the ending followed by Historia.

Next is the third timeline, AKA, the possible worlds.
The idea itself is fine. But the way they did it was rather boring.
Unlike the main story, which plays out as... well, a story, for this third timeline, you complete quests from Nemesia. That means you talk to her, choose a quest, and go complete it. Each quest takes you to a what-if world and will require you to defeat an enemy or maybe travel in the main timeline to get an item. Usually short enough. There are some quests that take place in the same world, so not all worlds are a one-time thing.
...And that is all you do. One quest after another.
There are two modes available in the remake, Event, which forces you to do Nemesia's quest after beating the original main story, and Perfect, which allows you to do Nemesia's quests any time you want.
Event is a trap because of the way the third timeline is done. By playing Perfect, you can occasionally take a brake from the main story and explore the what-if worlds. If you play event, you will be forced to drag your foot through multiple short quests. You are doing this after that emotional ending and before the final fight. This... chore.

As for the stories in the possible worlds, it is a hit-or-miss. Sometimes, there just really isn't that much content to talk about. Sometimes, it can be pretty interesting, especially the ones involving Noah.
However, you also got ones that were pretty much just comedic. Since it takes itself seriously, it isn't as painful as Bravely Second's random anime parodies, but it can raise an eyebrow.

FINALLY, you will be able to get certain items in some of the possible worlds that you will use to affect the story from the main timeline.
You will be able to save the big baddies.
The problems with this are two:
1. The process of their redemption is sudden. You literally show them an item, and they are suddenly like "OH! I have now came to my senses". It's just one scene and very sudden. It's not really even convincing.
2. That the characters end as baddies is a good thing at times. The fact they are not redeemable, that they die as scumbags is their identity. Is there really even a need to redeem the characters?

And finally, once you beat the final boss of the remake's additional story, Historia plays and you reach the true ending (assuming you did everything needed).
While there are rocky bumps along the road, the "true ending" in the remake isn't really that bad itself. It definitely gives a more obviously good end, which some may prefer. I'm fine with it, it isn't bad, yes.

So overall, it was a fine remake. I mean, if you have never played the game, you might as well get the remake over the original, since it is easier to play and more recent. If you have played the game, you probably don't remember enough of it to be able to enjoy it again... or at least scrutinize the additions.
And finally, I would just get the game to support Atlus for even remaking the game. More people get to know it. Which is awesome.

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