Radiata Stories Hands-On

Hot on the heels of the US release of Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, Tri-Ace's newest RPG is on display at TGS.

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TOKYO--Famed RPG developer Tri-Ace recently made its existence known once again with the release of Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, the third installment in the well-known sci-fi role-playing series. Now the company is again partnering with Square Enix for its next game, Radiata Stories, which is a much more fantasy-oriented game that nonetheless seems to share some fundamental gameplay elements with the Star Ocean series. We went hands-on with a brief demo of the game at the Tokyo Game Show to see where Tri-Ace's next project is headed.

The TGS demo version of Radiata Stories didn't contain any major story elements--rather, it sent us on a brief dungeon crawl to get a taste of what the combat and exploration in the game will be like. We went from room to room in an underground lair, traveling through tunnels, seeking out treasure, and fighting a whole bunch of monsters. You'll be able to see enemies in Radiata Stories before they attack you, and we managed to slip past monsters on several occasions, although more often than not we were forced to fight.

From our brief experience, it seems like the combat in Radiata Stories should be pretty familiar to Star Ocean veterans. Our party contained a lead character and three other characters, and battles proceeded in real time, with us in direct control of the lead and the other three being controlled by AI. Our character was a fighter and had several sword combo attacks, while some of our other party members focused more on magic for combat and support. Apparently, of the roughly 300 named characters you'll encounter in the game, around 150 can be convinced to join your party and fight with you. One wonders if this vast array of characters will mean that the individual characters will be somewhat lacking in their contributions to the storyline. But then, we noticed our characters talking to us throughout the demo's battles (in Japanese, natch), so there may be some depth to each one after all.

Radiata Stories is still a long way off--its Japanese release is slated for the second quarter of next year--but the game is already quite playable and has an appealing, whimsical graphical style. There wasn't a whole lot of variety in the short dungeon we fought in, but then, that was only one very brief section of the game. What we saw was appealing, though, with a varied use of color (from reddish stone-hewn rooms to a blue-tinted underground tunnel), and the characters had a decidedly animelike style to them. A slew of new details were recently revealed about Radiata Stories, and we'll bring you more information on the game soon.

For more updates, be sure to check GameSpot's coverage of Tokyo Game Show 2004.

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