Is ‘Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology’ the Future of JRPGs?

Carlos Rivera
Games Nintendo
Games Nintendo

Let’s face it, JRPGs are difficult, even more so than classic RPGs. They are also a massive time sink. Players often must spend excessive amounts of time exploring or grinding just to move forward. Still, those countless hours spent killing monsters and upgrading equipment have resulted in some of the most enjoyable and memorable moments in gaming history. If you’ve played great titles like Chrono Trigger, Persona 5, and Suikoden 2, then you know what we’re talking about.

Radiant Historia on the Nintendo DS deserved similar praise for being so innovative. However, Pokémon Black and White overshadowed Radiant Historia‘s release, and the game failed to gain notoriety. Luckily, for those who missed the game’s initial release, the game’s 3DS remake Perfect Chronology not only shines on its own but feels like a brand new game. It simultaneously improved upon its predecessor and set the standard for future JRPGs. Here’s how the game pushed the genre forward.

No More Random Encounters

Stocke on the Vault of Time
You can now attack, fight, or evade enemies on the map.

We’ve all been there. You’re low on health, without potions, and far from a save point. Of course, this is when an annoying enemy decides to spawn, again and again, attacking until your party is decimated.

Thankfully, this trend is dying, as titles in recent years have moved away from this practice. Instead, some of these games simply show your enemies on the map, whereas others give you the option to automate your battles (i.e., auto fight). But Perfect Chronology offers yet another alternative: “Friendly” mode.

Friendly mode is a new difficulty setting that can be selected at any time. It also comes with a lot of perks. For instance, you can “attack” enemies on the world map to immediately get rid of them. Those playing on a harder setting will still benefit from this, as their attacks will stun enemies — except for bosses. No matter the difficulty, this feature allows players to avoid unwanted, repetitive battles.

Grinding Is Optional, Not Required

Radiant Historia Perfect Chronology
Leveling up is as easy as it could be.

Don’t want to grind? No problem. Friendly mode doesn’t just allow players to rid themselves of enemies on the map. For every enemy that’s eliminated, the player earns the same rewards (i.e., money, experience, and items) they would have in a normal fight. This feature is perfect for players who don’t have hundreds of hours to invest in a game.

In many other JRPGs, this lack of grinding would result in underleveled characters. However, in Perfect Chronology, players don’t need to worry about being demolished by each new boss they meet due to being too low level. Even if players only eliminate half of the enemies they come across on the map, that should be more than enough to get your party to a decent level to face a boss.

If you want to take this even further, then buy the growth ring DLC. The growth ring rewards players with special scrolls after most fights, which can be used to either earn gain a bunch of experience or level up. With it, you can max out your party by mid-game.

Say Goodbye to “Easy to Learn, Hard to Master” Battle Systems

The 9x9 grid system.
The 3x3 grid system.

Like most games, you’ll learn how to fight during your first mission. Typically, this means paying close attention to how to attack using an overly complicated battle system. Fortunately, Perfect Chronology’s battle system isn’t as convoluted or complex as other JRPGS. Players won’t need to waste time devising complicated strategies or combing through forums to figure out how to beat a specific enemy.

The game’s 3×3 combat grid allows players’ attacks to push enemies in nearly every direction. Savvy players can force all enemies within a party onto the same square on the grid, allowing them to deal damage to all enemies at once. So, an entire enemy party can be defeated in just a few minutes. If you have someone in your party who has the ability to detect weaknesses, then this strategy will prove effective against bosses as well.

By chapter three, you will receive powered up attacks. When used correctly, these attacks can turn a long, tiresome fight into a cakewalk. No pain, no gain? Ha!

Complex Plots and Difficult Sidequests Are Things of the Past

If you’ve ever played Chrono Trigger or the old-school Final Fantasy games, then you’ve been a victim of confusing plotlines and taxing sidequests. These games often have plots so complicated that you need to make a diagram or read an official guidebook to figure out what’s going on.

Perfect Chronology solves this problem by having players follow several timelines (or storylines) that advance simultaneously. The events of one timeline directly affect another, which affects another and so on. Since the timelines are interrelated, even if you decide to skip every cutscene and piece of dialogue, you’ll easily be able to keep track of what happened and know what you need to do next.

Sidequests, in particular, are improved by this system. To complete them, players only need to travel to a specific point on the timeline and do what is requested. Also, since players can time travel, they’ll never miss anything. No more lamenting over blink-and-you’ll-miss-them events or sidequests.

Cutscenes and Post-Game Content

Nemesia, the new character introduced in Perfect Chronology.
Nemesia, the new character introduced in 'Perfect Chronology.'

Yes, you can skip all cutscenes, and the game’s dialogue is simple and easy to follow. Those who don’t have a lot of time will appreciate these features, and classic RPGs fans will still get the story and dialogue that they crave.

But no matter how you decide to play, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the game’s “ending.” A big chunk of content actually comes post-game. Instead of starting the game over again, you actually meet a new character and go on a series of small sidequests to get the true ending of the game. This content is easy, fun, and feels like a breeze instead of an obligation.

Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology shines where other RPGs don’t. The gameplay is brilliant, the plot is easy to follow, and its mechanics are engaging. It’s much more than just an easy and accessible game. It allows you to choose how to play, and that’s the kind of freedom that every gamer deserves.

Carlos Rivera
Carlos is an entertainment writer who will tackle everything you put on his way with the speed of Koro-Sensei. If he is not working as a freelancer or playing on his 3DS, he's probably binge-watching shows on netflix with his dog while eating pizza. #I❤Anime
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