Radiata Stories

Moby ID: 20559
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Young Jack Russell wants to follow in the footsteps of his father, a renowned member of the Royal Radiata Knights who protect the kingdom. Unfortunately, Jack is more than a little in need of some refining. He's a bad boy with a sharp tongue and a penchant for kicking objects and even people around. Can a world-saving quest help this obnoxious 16-year-old grow into a respectable human being?

Radiata Stories is a lighthearted and humorous fantasy role-playing game from Square Enix. You control Jack as he travels from town to town, recruiting allies and taking on menial tasks. Of course there's also a plot of saving the kingdom from certain doom, but there's plenty of time for exploring and meeting people before you'll need to worry about that. The game is fairly open-ended, allowing players to explore at their leisure.

Unlike the usual RPG, where the NPC characters simply wait around for the player to come listen to their one sentence, everyone in Radiata Stories has their own life. People wake up, go places and do things, then go back home. Learning the characters' schedules and using them to Jack's advantage is critical to a successful adventure. Sometimes they're too busy to stop and talk to you, so you have to catch them at the right time. This makes Radiata feel less like a game and more of a living, breathing world.

Combat is real-time, much like Star Ocean: Till the End of Time and Namco's Tales series, but you can give general guidelines for the NPC party members on how they should operate. There's even a link system that lets you coordinate your party's strategy.

There are two main story paths through the game, and after you've completed one you get to keep all your money and skills the second time around. A minimum of two playthroughs are required to discover and recruit the game's 177 potential party members (shades of the Suikoden series by Konami). Once you've recruited people as friends, you can swap your current party members at any time, but the only character you ever control yourself is Jack: if his HP falls to 0, your adventure is over.


  • ラジアータ ストーリーズ - Japanese spelling

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Credits (PlayStation 2 version)

207 People (180 developers, 27 thanks) · View all



Average score: 78% (based on 24 ratings)


Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 11 ratings with 1 reviews)

Some original elements, but not truly innovative.

The Good
Radiata Stories manages to be fun and engaging without taking itself too seriously. Think Disgaea and La Pucelle Tactics rather than Final Fantasy. The dialogue has plenty of humor, with the characters making fun of each other, and bad-boy Jack slamming his foot into everything and everyone he comes across. Some players might find it immature but I got a kick (that's a pun, that is) out of it. The characters are easily the best feature of the game. It's so refreshing to play an RPG where the NPCs actually do things other than wander aimlessly around waiting to give a cryptic sentence or two to a player who bothers to acknowledge them.

Graphics are gorgeous even on my crappy 21" non-widescreen, non-HD TV, with vibrant backgrounds, and bright coloring and crisp lines to the cel-shaded anime characters. Music is good but unspectacular, and a bit strange... there are a variety of styles, and some of them don't always match the tone of what's going on in the game. The voice-acting is surprisingly good for the most part.

One thing that really appealed to me was the combat system. Typically I'm not very good at fighting games, so when playing an RPG with real-time combat I tend to stick to one character and use just the simplest moves, very hack-and-slash. Radiata actually encourages this, since you only control Jack, and repeated use of the basic attacks charges up a "volty" gauge that lets you unleash more powerful attacks when you need them.

Aside from one plot branch that starts the story in one of two possible directions -- and it's very clear when you're making that choice -- the game's story always feels very open-ended. No sense of impending doom overshadowing the freedom to explore on your own. Many other RPGs try to create this urgency but then don't enforce it with any actual timed events.

Speaking of the multiple paths, I have to say (without spoiling anything) that when the time came it was a very difficult decision. There's something to be said for any game that can make me seriously think about something like that. I will admit I liked one ending much better than the other, but would highly recommend experiencing both to get the most out of the game (even if you don't try for the 177 characters).

The Bad
Aside from the NPC innovations, Radiata Stories doesn't really break through the RPG and anime clichés. You've got the hero who starts out a total slacker but then grows up. The female lead who hates the hero at first but then they become closer. All of the overused Tolkien races (elves, dwarves, orcs) are present and accounted for. While there are a few fun menial tasks, such as escorting the oxen cart, a lot of it was still FedEx quests and monster-slaying.

While searching for other party members is fun, I didn't have the patience to track them all down and figure out how to recruit them. It's a pain sometimes, waiting around to talk to people, and learning everyone's day/night cycle. It feels a bit like stalking, except nobody ever complains. The ability to fast-forward up to a certain time of day would have been nice. In other cases I would have liked more time to figure out how to get a character on board, but the main story advanced on me before I was able to do so.

Also, sorry to say, but a lot of the 100+ party members aren't terribly interesting or useful. You can't re-equip them with new weapons / armor / accessories (though admittedly this does save you money), and you can't always rely on them in battle. Granted, they rarely get killed, so I never felt like I had to babysit them. And they do block attacks and distract enemies' attention from Jack. But a lot of times when I needed a healing I ended up just doing it myself because I didn't trust my healer to come through for me. Worst of all, if Jack is knocked out it's time to restore, because the other party members won't revive him. This is frustrating compared to other RPGs where all you need is one conscious party member to escape the battle and save the others.

I don't really have a problem with save points so long as they're plentiful. But at times the game will limit where you can save, or even worse, has save points disappear after certain events in the story. That should never, ever happen. EVER.

The Bottom Line
Radiata Stories is fun and different enough from your typical RPG to be really interesting, though it falls short of truly bringing innovation to the genre. For the newcomer or casual RPG fan, it's light enough that you can finish it within a reasonable amount of time. If you're a hardcore gamer, you could easily spend the next year immersed in its rich, detailed world... if you have the patience to put up with the lighter elements and a few annoying sticking points.

PlayStation 2 · by Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe (1674) · 2006


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe.

Additional contributors: DreinIX, gbcat.

Game added January 1, 2006. Last modified June 17, 2023.