Gaming Blurbs 03/24/2011: Through fire and flames we catch Pokemon

(-) I don’t like the choice of overly loud sound effects for the main characters footsteps. It really seems like poor planning by the sound designers as the footsteps are so loud that they can be very distracting. I am ALWAYS aware of how loud they are, regardless of the terrain, and no other characters actually make sounds when they walk… I just can’t understand what happened here.

(+) Something that caught me off guard in the best possible way is the fact that there are NO RANDOM BATTLES! This feature was a huge factor in keeping my interest in the game, as random battles can be such a fucking pain sometimes. For this I am truly thankful and I cannot praise this enough.

(+) I am always engaged by the battle system. The 3 X 3 battle system lends well to combat that relies heavily on reorganizing turn order and utilizing moves that push enemies back, left, right or even launch them into the air with the purpose of corralling a bunch of foes into one section and creating large combos to inflict huge amounts of damage. Every fight feels strategic and rewarding at the same time, with plenty of enemy behavior caveats (such as enemies that cannot be moved at all) that force me to think about my turn 7 spots own on a constant basis.

(+) The diverging timelines keep me thinking in two places at once and keep me interested in the story. The example I always use about how the game works, and why it’s pretty brilliant revolves around what happens when I hit a major plot point that required taking the side of my best friend and joining the army or staying loyal to my special intelligence boss. I at first decided to stay loyal and I was given a mission that required meeting up with an informant. He never showed up, so I hopped onto my timeline and took the other option of joining up with the army. Eventually when I got to a camp, I ran into the informant from before who was waiting for further orders. I had to dismiss him and I immediately saved and went to my “specint” timeline. Sure enough, the messenger saw me and even thought he recognized me, but no, he couldn’t have, I had been waiting there for a LONG time, at least in game time logic.

(+) Radiant Historia does something right that I think get’s overlooked a lot, knowing how to guide a player without necessarily always holding your hand. The informant scenario above is one good example of how the game has a good sense of logic that I can follow easily through some thinking, and the guides of the player constantly re-enforce the idea of utilizing time travel to alter a course of events but the guides are also never so spot on that there isn’t any guess work, which is great.