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A Year of One Hit Wonders - September - Radiata Stories
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!