I've posted an angry dome thread and two blogs about this but I think it's important that I cover all of my bases to make sure EVERYONE hears about this game.
Because it is the best game ever. Or at least really high up there.
Radiant Historia feels like a mix of concept from games such as Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross, Suikoden and Final Fantasy Tactics.
It's a jRPG, not tactical, but it does have a 'grid'-based battle system that requires you to use some tactics like pushing enemies around for effective mobbing. Most of the battles are pretty easy if you have a grasp on using tactics and constantly upgrade your equipment but there are some challenges such as various optional bosses throughout the game.
Exploratory game-play consists of running around maps and cities accepting quests, opening chests, finding hidden chests after a certain point in the game, moving crates, exploding or slashing stuff, and of course TRAVELING THROUGH TIME.
Well, unlike Chrono Trigger you can't just travel through time; you just travel to important parts of Stocke's life (the main character) but there are a lot of them and it's key to so much in the game. There are two main timelines that are show two extremely different outcomes for the world based on one decision made early in the game.
The story is by and far the best part of this game. The overlaying story about the war and desertification itself is great, but far more impressive and meaningful is the way that every choice--big or little--impacts the story. While everything is set in stone as a linear game, from the perspective of a viewer it's amazing to see how one choice you made or didn't make earlier can effect your progress, and then going back and making the necessary change to see what comes out of it leaves you (or at least me) with this really spectacular feeling.
The game has dozens of bad endings, 10 good endings and one true ending. All of these can be viewed in a single playthrough, so no worries there.
Oh it's also got an amazing soundtrack. And I hate video game music.
It's about 45 hours long for 100% completion and the best ending is one of the most satisfying of all of the games I've ever played.
I really suggest that if you have $35 and are looking for something to play that you purchase this game immediately. I can't imagine anyone regretting it.