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A Year of One Hit Wonders - September - Radiata Stories

redwing42redwing42 Just MonikaFull Members
edited September 2014 in Role Playing Games
For September, we'll be looking at one of Square Enix's non Final Fantasy PS2 games: Radiata Stories. Another game developed by tri-Ace (two in a row, for those scoring at home), Radiata Stories was released in 2005 to generally strong reviews in Japan, with more mixed feelings in North America. The game has two major plot lines to follow, and the branch occurs fairly early in the game. The two paths are related, but follow opposing sides in a war between humans and non-humans. Each path has its own ending, and there are a number of characters that can only be recruited on one path or the other. Speaking of recruitable characters, there are 176 recruitable NPCs in all. Due to the opposing paths, it requires two separate playthroughs to completely fill out the Friends list. The game also features a living world, in which time passes and NPCs can be in different areas doing different things depending on the time of day. Combat is real-time action based, with the player controlling only the main character. You also have the ability to kick virtually anything in the game and cause some sort of reaction. Sometimes you find money or items, sometimes you can make NPCs fight you or call the guards.

The main character is Jack Ridley, son of a famous knight. The story picks up as he is newly inducted into the Radiata Knights along with a handful of other recruits, including Ridley Silverlake. During a trade negotiation with the elves, Orcs attack the troop and Ridley is severely injured, saved only when she absorbs the life force of a slain elf. Ridley's father learns of the attacks and gets Jack expelled from the Knights. He eventually joins a mercenary band, while Ridley is promoted to Captain in the Knights. Later, a group of Knights is sent to persuade the dwarves to continue trading with humans. The leader of the Knight squadron disobeys his orders and attacks the dwarves, starting all out war between humans and non-humans. This is the point where the split in the story occurs.

For those interested, the composer was Noriyuki Iwadare. Iwadare has worked on several series including Lunar, Langrisser and Grandia. His most recent work was on the Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies game. This was his first game for tri-Ace, however, replacing Motoi Sakuraba. Personally, I don't think this is Iwadare's greatest work, but it is solid. I hope everyone gives this game a chance in September. Enjoy!

Comments

  • lolwhoopslolwhoops happy accident HalifaxRPGamer Staff
    edited September 2014
    Favourite memory of this game: kicking people until they attack you. Hell, kicking everything.
    lolwhoops: a Gamer's Blog
    ^^is my blog! Updates whenever I feel like it! :D which happens a lot more often now!
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  • smacdsmacd Full Members
    edited September 2014
    Not sure if I'm really feeling this game. I'm in the Dwarf town with about 2 hours on the clock so far, and the highlight of the game so far is wandering around kicking stuff. I keep getting into fights with dwarves by accident though. I'll probably just end up crit-pathing this game if I can figure out what to do next.
  • smacdsmacd Full Members
    edited September 2014
    Guess I'm the only one playing this month?

    Anyway, about 10 hours in, though closer to 15 hours played since I've had to replay a few hour long segments due to deaths and a disturbing lack of save points. I finished the Crocogator quest and am just doing some solo quests now.

    I have no ideas what characters to try to befriend, however I will take any advice people have. While I don't plan to friend everyone, this implementation actually seems more interesting than Suikoden. Everyone has a schedule, and figuring out how to friend them involves stalking them through their day and doing something for them, most of the time.

    I know there is a major split in the story ahead. I haven't decided if I am going to go human or non-human, but I'm leaning toward non-human since my research says the ending is better. However, as I mostly just want to crit-path this game, I will take the human path if someone tells me its easier.
  • ironmageironmage chaotic neutral observer SaskatoonFull Members
    edited September 2014
    smacd wrote: »
    I know there is a major split in the story ahead. I haven't decided if I am going to go human or non-human, but I'm leaning toward non-human since my research says the ending is better. However, as I mostly just want to crit-path this game, I will take the human path if someone tells me its easier.
    I can't remember if the two paths had a noticable difference in difficulty or not, but I would agree that the non-human path has the better ending. Follow the girl.
    I have no ideas what characters to try to befriend, however I will take any advice people have.
    I haven't played this in years, so my memory is of my final parties is fuzzy, but... on the human path, Miranda. On the non-human path, Romaria. Both should be decent healer types. There are stronger characters (like Elwen) but you'll have to recruit all of their subordinates to get them, which can be time-consuming.
    Guess I'm the only one playing this month?

    *Mumbles something about Tales of Xillia 2.*
    Only the livin' have the privilege of sayin' they'll fight ta the last breath.
    And words like conviction and resolve don't mean much to a dead man...
    --Raven (Tales of Vesperia)
  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited September 2014
    ironmage wrote: »
    I can't remember if the two paths had a noticable difference in difficulty or not, but I would agree that the non-human path has the better ending. Follow the girl.
    Her ending and the nonhuman path is actually considered the bad ending path, compared to the human one which is more of a bittersweet ending. Mostly because
    you basically caused the end of the world
    .
    "Yes, because apparently blindly jumping headfirst into a firefight without a grasp on the situation or any combat experience is a sign of genius these days."
  • ironmageironmage chaotic neutral observer SaskatoonFull Members
    edited September 2014
    Her ending and the nonhuman path is actually considered the bad ending path, compared to the human one which is more of a bittersweet ending.

    Considered by whom? I remember it as the good ending; but in either case, I see no contradiction in claiming that the (canonical?) bad ending is the better ending. I liked it better, anyway.
    Mostly because
    you basically caused the end of the world
    .

    From googling around, there appears to be more than one interpretation of the ending; I didn't land on the same side you did (although your interpretation appears to be the majority one). I certainly don't remember the details well enough to debate the point, though. I wish I had time to replay this.:(
    Only the livin' have the privilege of sayin' they'll fight ta the last breath.
    And words like conviction and resolve don't mean much to a dead man...
    --Raven (Tales of Vesperia)
  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited September 2014
    ironmage wrote: »
    From googling around, there appears to be more than one interpretation of the ending; I didn't land on the same side you did (although your interpretation appears to be the majority one). I certainly don't remember the details well enough to debate the point, though. I wish I had time to replay this.:(
    Consider the following, which shall be in spoilers for way obvious reasons, and that I'm rambling before getting to hte point to stop the activity stream from spoiling. Okay, basically Ridley
    is the physical manifestation of the Golden Dragon, which shall destroy the world and reshape it into something else. The Silver Dragon is too attached to the mortals to let this happen, so he tries to kill the Golden Dragon. In the human ending, he succeeds, killing Ridley, while saving the world, before getting taken out by Jack and the party. In the nonhuman ending, he fails, resulting in the death of everything other than Jack and Ridley, since from what we can assume Ridley is recreating the world in that ending, while keeping hold of Jack so he'll be in that new world with her
    . Basically it's a bad ending.
    "Yes, because apparently blindly jumping headfirst into a firefight without a grasp on the situation or any combat experience is a sign of genius these days."
  • ironmageironmage chaotic neutral observer SaskatoonFull Members
    edited September 2014
    I've already read variations on your interpretation while "googling around", some versions even darker. I understand what you're saying, but I'm not going to change my opinion without replaying the game.
    ... resulting in the death of everything other than Jack and Ridley,

    I just watched an LP of the ending, to refresh my memory. If that happened, it happened off screen.
    since from what we can assume Ridley is recreating the world in that ending,

    I guess I didn't make that assumption.
    Basically it's a bad ending.

    Say what you like: when I played the game, I liked the non-human ending better. In the human path,
    Ridley dies
    . In the non-human path,
    she lives, and she and Jack walk off together, hand-in-hand.
    . If I had actually seen the
    world being destroyed
    , my reaction would have doubtless been different.
    Only the livin' have the privilege of sayin' they'll fight ta the last breath.
    And words like conviction and resolve don't mean much to a dead man...
    --Raven (Tales of Vesperia)
  • omegabyteomegabyte Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground RPGamer Staff
    edited September 2014
    ironmage wrote: »
    I've already read variations on your interpretation while "googling around", some versions even darker. I understand what you're saying, but I'm not going to change my opinion without replaying the game.



    I just watched an LP of the ending, to refresh my memory. If that happened, it happened off screen.



    I guess I didn't make that assumption.



    Say what you like: when I played the game, I liked the non-human ending better. In the human path,
    Ridley dies
    . In the non-human path,
    she lives, and she and Jack walk off together, hand-in-hand.
    . If I had actually seen the
    world being destroyed
    , my reaction would have doubtless been different.

    I'm with you, I never saw the non-human ending as the bad ending, and I definitely never read any
    world-ending consequences
    into it. It's far and away the harder path, and if you want to do that optional dungeon at the end, taking the non-human path makes it VERY difficult. However, I also think it's the path people should do first, because the story from that point forward is far more enjoyable. Jack is kind of forced into the role of a villain in the human path.
    Maybe I'll log out and check my e-mail or something...
  • smacdsmacd Full Members
    edited September 2014
    I made it up to the point of the split over the weekend. I spent quite a bit of time bringing out my human friends in order to at least have Jack learn their skills before I lose access to them (since I'm planning to go non-human). Is the split considered early, mid, or late in the game? I'm not really sure how far I really am.

    I am planning to watch a LP of the Human path as well. Will watching that before I play through the Non-human path spoil me on any plot developments, or are the stories really different?
  • ironmageironmage chaotic neutral observer SaskatoonFull Members
    edited September 2014
    smacd wrote: »
    I am planning to watch a LP of the Human path as well. Will watching that before I play through the Non-human path spoil me on any plot developments, or are the stories really different?

    If memory serves, some of the critical events of the two paths are basically the same, they just play out in different ways. I recommend against watching the LP until after you've finished your first playthrough.
    Only the livin' have the privilege of sayin' they'll fight ta the last breath.
    And words like conviction and resolve don't mean much to a dead man...
    --Raven (Tales of Vesperia)
  • smacdsmacd Full Members
    edited September 2014
    Now that I have completed the game, and had an opportunity to watch the Human path ending, I'll thrown in my thoughts on this game.

    As I mentioned in my completion post in the Completed Games thread, I think this might be my favorite Tri-Ace game of all the games they've made that I've played (SO1-3, Infinite Undiscovery, Resonance of Fate), and I really enjoyed the recruitment, which felt a lot more fleshed out than the Suikoden games I've played (1-4). Had I played this game 8 year ago when it came out, I probably could have spent more than a hundred hours in this game. However, given time restraints, I just played one path and didn't do much excessive recruitment or grinding, finishing in 33 hours. Most of the characters have a lot of well defined personality, though many of them I didn't really like as characters- including Jack, Ridley, Cross and Jasne. But I think that actually adds to the story, having unlikeable characters in the situations they were in.

    As for the endings, it seems to me that the stories after the split really were mostly the same, just with the difference of which side Jack chose to be on making a few differences. Ignoring the actual endings for a moment, it feels like the Non-Human path is the "right" path to take, as taking the Human path felt like Jack was mostly sided with the bad guys like Cross, who was a difficult character to like even just taking in to account the story prior to the split. But when actually discussing the ending, it feels like both of them are.. not necessarily "bad", but bitter-sweet. In neither case did I feel like Jack actually won, and instead made a terrible sacrifice.

    In the non-human ending,
    Ridley lives but it is strongly implied that no one else in the world survived based on the flash when we see Zane, and that the town was not shown with any people like the Human ending showed. Both Ridley and Jack seem to be the vessel for the Gold Dragon, given their voice effects.
    However this definitely feels like the ending that was supposed to happen, based on the lore with the
    two dragons trading places and what-not
    . I can accept this as the canon ending. Further, Jack seemed to actually be in the right place, doing the right things through the Non-Human story.

    In the Human story though, Jack feels like he is driven purely by revenge, or otherwise doing what he is told to do without really thinking about the consequences. He's simply a pawn. There is some animosity with Cross, but despite
    Aphelion destroying him he didn't ever really get what was coming to him. Everything about Jack and Cross working together felt wrong.
    Jack never gets the kind of character resolution and development in this path that he did in the Non-Human path. With the ending itself,
    Ridley dies, and presumably the humans destroyed the non-humans, and Jack is shown leaving town. A hollow victory, but leaving the world as it developed, mostly in pieces, but with human survivors.

    Neither of the endings are particularly satisfying, but overall I like the non-human path much better and I'm glad I chose it.
  • riulynriulyn Member Full Members
    edited September 2014
    I had hoped at the beginning of this year to be playing along this month, but life happened (PS2 no longer reading discs, family stuff, etc.). I'm glad at least someone was able to play it.
  • CronoCrono Member Full Members
    edited September 2014
    Yeah, I really wanted to give this a replay as well but I've been too busy. I get the feeling the game wouldn't have held up anyways though.
  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited September 2014
    Same here. Wanted to play, but then Xillia 2, Destiny, and a few more games slipped into my lap. It turned from "I wanna do this" to "I have too much to do already."
    "Yes, because apparently blindly jumping headfirst into a firefight without a grasp on the situation or any combat experience is a sign of genius these days."
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