Radiata Stories is a role-playing game developed by tri-Ace and published by Square Enix for the PlayStation 2. The game is notable for its large number of distinct NPCs, each of whom have their own lives, lifestyles, jobs, personalities, homes, dialogues, and schedules. It makes for a much more realistic experience than the standard RPG towns populated with eerily identical cookie cutter residents who say the same things ad inifinitum, though the game is limited by the hardware into making the characters repeat the same list of activities every day, with a few exceptions.Furthering the theme of realism, the main character, Jack Russell, can interact with most objects in the game, mostly by kicking them. Doing so to furniture and other inanimate objects, for example, will occasionally turn up items or money, while NPCs will fight Jack in a duel. This being Jack's primary method of interacting with everything and everyone he encounters would normally seem out of place, but it fits quite well with his personality.While there are easily over 150 distinct recruitable characters in the game, there are only three that are central to the plot: Jack Russell, a rude, cheerfulteenager who plans on being a knight; Ridley Silverlake, a smart, proper, well-off young lady who wants nothing to do with him (at least at first); and Ganz Rothschild, a polite, genteel man, who is their superior in the Rose Cachon brigade. This doesn't last long.After one successful mission, what should be a simple Fetch Quest goes awry and Ridley suffers a debilitating injury to the point where she's bedridden. As a consequence for their failure to protect her, both Jack and Ganz are expelled from the knighthood because of her Overprotective Dad. From there, they both try to join Theater Vancoor, the warrior guild, but Ganz fails the test and ends up in the Void Community (the thief guild) instead. The game then allows the player to start exploringthe environment a bit, and segues into the open-ended play promised on the box instead of a tedious paint by numbers RPG.As Jack and Ganz try to adjust to their new lives, a series of seemingly unrelated incidents begins to occur. Ridley begins experiencing strange headaches and speaking in a voice that is not her own. The dreaded disease Algandars, said to be the only thing capable of fully killing the immortal elves, makes a reappearance after being gone for centuries. Tensions between the humans and non-humans skyrocket as three particular individuals become prominent in the politics of Radiata: Zane, human-hating leader of the light elves; Lord Lucian, a mysterious courtesan of Radiata Castle who displays frightening Chessmaster capabilities; and Cross Ward, Ridley's Jerkassfiancee.Another aspect of the title is that it takes place in real time (albeit with the typical video game compression). While many games incorporate some method of this, Radiata Stories is one of the few where keeping track of the hour is crucial to gameplay, due to the fact that the majority of "free time" between missions provides only brief snatches where Jack is able to interact with other characters and the like before setting out once more. As a result, this is one of the few games where Level Grinding is difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish.There is a character page now. Character-based tropes should be directed there.As a last tidbit of info, Radiata Stories is also notable for its high content of humor despite having a pretty serious story.Not to be confused with Radiant Historia, a similarly-named game that inherited a large portion of Radiata's production team.
This game provides examples of the following:
Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: The Path of the Spider, a series of interconnecting tunnels that forms the sewage system beneath Radiata.
Aerith and Bob: Quite an extensive example, in fact; the title contains rather plain names, like Jack, Jill, Nick, and Lily; to somewhat uncommon names, such as Iris, Adina, Leona, and Santos; to downright bizarre names such as Zida, Few, Chatt, and Zeranium. All of these seem to have no racial or gender boundaries, as both humans and non-humans, males and females alike, exhibit this vast range.
And I Must Scream: The fate of the elves who become afflicted with Algandars' disease; this ends with them being encased in a cocoon for eternity.
And Man Grew Proud: Thanos seeks a rare suit of armor that allows the wearer to fight for 24 hours straight. It's actually a business suit. The dragons destroy humanity everytime it becomes a threat to the world, and somehow it survived.
Ancestral Weapon: The Arbitrator, a powerful sword that Jack's father, Cairn, possessed, was passed down to him by his sister, Adele.
Anti-Villain/Hero Antagonist: Aphelion, the Silver Dragon. While he might be a Magnificent Bastard, and some of his actions might make him seem to be a Well-Intentioned Extremist at best, its hard to label him as a villain of any caliber. Especially since his goals involve saving the human race from a total reset, despite the fact that it meant murdering his own kin. Sure, he tries to kill Ridley, but given that she had by that point crossed the line into being a literal Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds ...
Similar could be said of Ridley and Zane. As unfair as it is, humans apparently are to blame for the Algandars disease that's killing the elves and driving humans mad because they're killing dragons, i.e. the dragons of the World's Cosmic Order. Cairn killed the Water Dragon and then the Earth Dragon was killed defending the dwarves from the human's invasion of Earth Valley. If they don't hit the Reset Button then a different race is on the chopping block.
Ultimately they are both to blame. While the humans were doing little things to push the world towards the Change Over, it was the Elves who push it over the edge with their Transpiriation Ritual; If you scour Castle Algandars with Mikey in the nonhuman path, you learn that the original onset of the plague was caused by an ancient Light Elf king performing the Transpiritation on his human wife to save her from something lethal and then later by Lord Nougeria to save Ridley from a Blood Orc. Then again, that blood orc wouldn't have attacked the Forest Metreopolis if Cross hadn't sent it.
Anastasia, Dwight and Lord Cross are all arrogant, greed, and otherwise evil.
Downplayed by Ridley, who is just a little stuck up at first.
Averted by Ganz is genuinely friendly and goes out of his way to be polite. Lord Larks, the head of Radiata, is a good and compassionate leader, if a little strict. Jasne does all he can to avoid the war. Lucian works behind the scenes to keep humanity alive.
Bad Ass: More than 150 of them! Not really...but the guild leaders, such as Elwen, Kain, Curtis, and Nyx, definitely take the cake.
Badass Grandpa: Curtis, the Vareth Magic Institute's head advisor, and Fernando, leader of the Olacion Order's Old Faction. Zeranium, Godwin, Ortoroz...if you're an elderly person in Radiata Stories who isn't a farmer, you will kick ass.
Badass Longcoat: Each path gets an exclusive suit of armor that features one.
Badass Normal: Averted. Most of the ordinary townspeople are completely useless in combat.
Badass Preacher: Godwin, Achilles, Rocky, and Kain, to name a few. Fernando is the most badass of these - his attack can reach upward of 408!
Bald of Awesome: Dynas, head of the Radiata Knights. Jack was on the verge of becoming his Fan Boy before he was kicked out of the knights, though he didn't like the bald look.
Big Bad: Averted. The main plot is the result of a Gambit Pileup meeting a Celestial Deadline and there isn't any particular individual or group of individuals who could be considered the main source of conflicts. The most likely suspects are:
Cross, who is mostly to blame for the war igniting when he slaughters the dwarves. He also was the one who sent the blood orcs to attack the elves, triggering Jack and Ganz's expulsion as well as Ridley's receiving of a transpiritation. He doesn't quite fit in that in the human route he becomes an ally of Jack's - in theory, anyway - and in the non-human route he gets killed prior to the final confrontation.
Zane, leader of the light elves and, later, the non-humans in general. A racist who wants to kill all humans for personal reasons rather than humanity's disruption of the balance.He doesn't quite fit either as he mostly stays offscreen in the human path and hides his rather bloodthirsty nature when dealing with Jack in the non-human route.
Aphelion, a.k.a. Lord Lucian, the most competent chessmaster in the game and the only one who really knows what's going on. He's also the Final Boss of both paths. Once again, not a full example as in the human route the player learns just how well-intentioned his plan is, while in the non-human route, he's a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere.
Big "NO!": Jack does this a few times, both for comedy and drama.
The very first one is lampshaded by Leonard:
(Leonard explains how he and Jack are sharing the stinky, dirty Trainee's Room)
Bifauxnen: Her priest robes might give it away, but one will probably not realize Vitas is a girl if crossing her path at night.
Bilingual Bonus: Any French speaker gets to marvel at the names of the various brigades.
A probably unintentional one: the assassin Lily is also known as "Vice," or the White Princess. The German word meaning "white"? Weiss. Now if you were Japanese, and trying to translate that to German, how would you spell it?
Bishōnen: Felix, Franklin, Lucian, and Gil, to name a few. Especially Felix.
Camp Gay: Charlie. His description states that he likes cute people and strong warriors. There's a cutscene of him entering the ladies' restroom in Radiata Castle without objection from anyone, just after Jack is scolded by Margaret if he attempts to enter. He's also one of the player's potential alternative "love interests."
Covers Always Lie: If you take a look at the cover, Jack is wearing the Divine Coat armor with the Arbitrator as his weapon. No, you can't have both of them at the same time because the Divine Coat is only available in the human route, while the Arbitrator is only available in the non-human route.
Cute Bruiser: Miranda, who's just as capable of healing you as she is punching you into the next town.
Cute Clumsy Girl: Marietta. The first time you meet her, you only see her legs. The rest of her is buried underneath a pile of crates.
Don't Try This at Home: The description for the umbrella weapon suggests to not use it as a method of combat in reality. Best listen to that.
Downer Ending: Given the game has multiple endings, there had to be one. Although, depending on how you look at it, both could be considered downer endings. If the player opts to side with the humans, Ridley dies and Jack leaves Radiata, too shellshocked to stay after all he's been through. If the player decides to join the non-humans, Ridley survives and Ganz, instead, is killed; she and Jack then return to a Radiata that seems to be inexplicably deserted and filled with glowing globs of unknown origin. The game is deliberately vague about the circumstances of the latter ending...although an actual sequel has not been announced. The most probable explanation is that it represents Ridley, who is now the awakened Gold Dragon, remaking the world, while still keeping Jack by her side.
Dude Looks Like a Lady: Felix, and possibly Lucian. The former especially has trouble with this trait in regards to other characters.
Dumb Is Good: Clive, a country hick, is the nicest guy in the game. Not only will he be Jack's friend without a Fetch Quest but he'll come to the guild and volunteer.
Eleventh Hour Ranger: The most powerful characters for both sides cannot be recruited until late in the game. The human side gives the player the leaders of each guild (particularly Elwen, who has an attack of 438), as well as Natalie, while the non-humans have the two orc leaders, Galvados (460) and JJ (430), as well as the black goblin chief, Gruel (410). Valkyrie takes the cake. Recruitable only in the post game for both paths, she starts at lvl 77 and at 99, she got an attack of 502. To drive the point home, her race is stated as "God".
Evil Plan: As with Big Bad, this trope is also averted as there is no one villain's plot that encompasses the whole game. It's more all the BB candidates plans clashing until only one left is to finish their own.
Fake Difficulty: Several stats have been tweaked to force the player to keep recruiting. For example:
Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Completely inverted. There is no magic stat, so, except for healers, all spellcasters go obsolete as time goes on, as opposed to melee types who don't experience (as much) change in usefulness over time. Jack's stats are atrocious when compared to some of the other characters, with the exception of luck.
Fantastic Racism: Drives a good portion of the plot. Cross is willing to commit atrocities against communities of non-humans, and there are a number of hints that said non-humans were, and might still be, heavily discriminated against. On the flip side there are plenty of non-humans who equally cross the line from understandable mistrust to unjustifiable racial hatred. Zane, the light elf's leader, in particular, wants nothing more than to wipe out every last human being in the world; not because they caused a cosmic imbalance, but because he unfairly blames them for the death of his brother, who died from the Algandars disease.
Fish out of Water: While Ganz may be the knight who believes the most in chivalry, he ends up at the Void Community, as mentioned previously. Justified in that he fell in with honorable bandits.
Gainax Ending: In the ending for the non-human path, Jack, whose voice echoes, walks into a strangely empty Radiata with Ridley, who is glowing like the Gold Dragon.
Gambit Pileup: There's the humans who want to do business by exploiting the dwarves; the dwarves who want to make more money at the expense of the humans; the elves who generally want to wipe out humanity because they don't want to be trapped in a cocoon for eternity and believe this is the solution; the orcs who just like fighting and eating; the dragons who are trying to preserve a cosmic balance, and that's without going into individuals. Cross is an arrogant gloryhound who screws everyone else for his goals. Zane is an anti-human racist who wants to commit genocide. Aphelion who wants to bump off the other dragons to save the humans. Ridley who opposes him by trying to wake up the Gold Dragon and start the Changeover and Jack who wants to protect Ridley even after finding this out. All of the characters (except for Cross and Zane) are more or less sympathetic.
Gonk: Joaquel, a member of Void, is huge and hideous and disfigured. Anastasia looks like a pig in too much finery.
Good Shepherd: The Old Faction is composed of pious and good hearted clerics.
Gray and Grey Morality: While neither side is particularly evil, the game ultimately sympathizes more with the non-humans. Nevertheless, there are heroes on both sides and the worst of the light elves are as xenophobic as the worst of the humans beings. Most of the truly evil individuals are on the human end, though.
Larks and Dynas are nice enough people who unfortunately get caught in the war, and Lucian is a well-intentioned extremistdragon. Zane is slightly more sympathetic than Cross, but still too extreme to be anything but evil. Both sides have the good and the bad.
Grey and Black Morality: Rynka and Flau are honorable bandits who only steal from those that deserve it. Then there's Nocturne who takes shady assignments.
Humans Are Special: Lord Lucien/Aphelion believes so. Despite the fact that the cosmic balance of the world requires the destruction of humanity, every time the dragons strike them down they manage to rebuild. He's sick of a system blatantly in favor of every race but one, and is willing to kill his fellow dragons to get rid of it.
Humans Are the Real Monsters: The whole reason the light elves and many of the other races feel hatred and distrust toward humans is because they, from the non-humans' point of view, are considered selfish, evil beings who are ruining the balance of the world. To be fair, they're not entirely wrong on that last bit, about the balance and all that.
Improbable Weapon User: Quite a few characters use various forms of cutlery as weapons, while others use either musical or personal instruments, or discarded trash. Elef, the foreman of Radiata's bridge builders, for instance, uses his iron tobacco pipe.
Infinity–1 Sword: The Arbitrator for the non-human path, being the second strongest one-handed sword in the game.
Infinity+1 Sword: Holy Sword Gram, with an attack rating of 170, obtained after beating Valkyrie, despite supposedly being a legendary sword re-forged by the gods, she had two. This makes sense when you remember that in Valkyrie Profile, she can make more than one Gram.
Joke Character: Loads of examples, particularly those who have no affiliation with the guilds and work mundane jobs, such as farmers, doctors, nurses, and the like.
Joke Weapon: Many mundane objects such as an umbrella and different kinds of farming tools can be used as weapons.
Katanas Are Just Better: The best two-handed sword in the game is the Muramasa. The best one-handed and two-handed swords for purchase are also katana. However, the best sword period is not.
Lady and Knight: Jack appoints himself Ridley's White Knight in the in the non-human path and not only protects her but lifts her spirits with endearingly corny jokes. In personality, they're the bright couple, but to the humans, they're the dark couple. Gerald praises him for having the balls to turn against his entire race for the sake of his girl. For her part, Ridley is a bright lady ojou who is trying to do what she think is right, and is grateful for Jack's support.
Lady of War: Ridley, Elwen, Alicia, Natalie, Lily, Iris, and Valkyrie, to name a few. Elwen in particular. Being of stunning beauty, it's surprising to see a woman in such a position without making her into a tsundere or something similar.
Lemony Narrator: The character descriptions often include snarky comments about said characters' inherent flaws.
Lethal Joke Character: While there's likely a few more, Franz, the dark elf who challenges Gil, arguably has the only attack that knocks the Ethereal Queen off her feet. He's also quite fast and does notable damage for such a minor character.
Limit Break: The "Volty Blast" special attack, which is limited to a small number of individuals. This includes Jack, who can learn one for each of the four weapon types.
Limited Wardrobe: Averted. Not only is Jack able to change his clothing, but the vast majority of Radiata's population has both day and night attire.
Living Forever Is Awesome: Everyone who has immortality loves it, and Aphelion's plan involves preserving his own as a nice bonus to his main goal. However, Ganz and Ridley argue that mortality isn't bad either.
Loads and Loads of Characters: There are a lot of recruitable characters, most of whom are, unfortunately, to some degree, useless. The player cannot recruit all of them on a single playthrough.
Meaningful Name: Genius is, well, a genius. Furthermore, Kain is the High Priest of the Olacion Order; Nyx is, arguably, a vampire; and finally, Morgan, of course, is a witch.
Metal Slime: The dagol tortoises, tsuchinoko, and metal tortoises are extremely rare creatures which can drop obscenely useful items upon defeat. Also, the Killer Queen who you can only fight once in the entire game, but drops obscene amounts of exp and also dropping one of each type of berry in the game.
Odd Friendship: Ganz, a knight, eventually befriends Rynka and Flau, two members of Void.
Our Elves/Goblins/Orcs/Dwarves/Dragons Are Different: Universally united in their hatred of humans, to the point of declaring war for the sole purpose of exterminating them. Furthermore, dark elves are, technically, half-elves, while the light elves are portrayed more closely to the standard faerie.
Player Character: Jack. No, seriously, this is worth noting: the player can recruit tons of individuals, but they remain just that: individuals. Jack is the game's only controllable character.
Punny Name: Jack Russell is an energetic young man, relatively short in stature, who is nonetheless quite fierce and not to be underestimated. It's hard to believe this wasn't on purpose. In addition to this, Adele, Jack's sister, is named Airdale in the Japanese version, while Ridley's original last name is Timberlake.
Rewarding Vandalism: There is no downside to kicking everything except seeing Jack get his ass handed to him by kicking Elwen when only at level 12...
Shout-Out: There's Ganz, who dresses up like a fatter, older Claude at one point; Jack, who can dress up as Fayt; and, of course, Cornelia, who looks similar to Sakura and Momo. Her schtick is also similar to another Momo, in fact, and in the Japanese version, her Rachel persona is a Nami Tamaki cameo. She even holds nightly concerts, singing the game's OST.
The Black Goblin Pietro is (quite surprisingly) a shout out to Dragon Ball Z, to recruit him, you need to beat him three times, with him getting stronger each time, at one point he states he is going "Super Goblin"(with Jack answering "Wow, you can transform?!"), and after you recruit him, talk to him again to having him saying "Me make you legendariest warrior! First, dye hair yellow! All legendariest warriors has yellow hair!"
Shown Their Work: The toadstool powder's description explains it is made out of Amanita virosa spores. This is an actual - and fatal - fungus that is extremely poisonous when eaten.
Solo-Character Run: The final boss is so powerful against your party members that it's easier to fight the boss alone rather than blindly spending potions on them. Being an action RPG, It's possible to kill the final boss without getting a scratch when you know its pattern (albeit taking a long time).
Story Branching: The game splits into two very different stories depending on a choice made mid game.
Suspiciously Specific Denial: The Knight Selection Trials. At the start, the judge says it is a "completely unbiased assement of your abilities". At the end, Jack passes after getting knocked out in the first round because his dad's a national hero.
Trailers Always Spoil: Not necessarily big spoilers or anything but one of the trailers spoils Jack walking. Not necessarily significant but this is actually the human side ending. Also when he draws his sword in an epic fashion manner is the final battle of the human side.
Tomboyish Name: Ridley is the best example, though a few others skirt close to this.
Tsundere: Morgan, Ursula, and Lily are probably the biggest offenders. Ridley may count as well, in concerns to the beginning.
Underrated And Overleveled: In fact any Role-Playing Games (like Radiata Stories) that emphasize a massive cast of recruitable teammates tend to be particularly guilty of this. The huge hosts of characters guarantee at least a few will be mundane people with little or no combat training, and the inability to focus much plot on each character means that the developers don't have time to give in story justification for everyone's combat capabilities.
Violence Really Is the Answer: Fortunately for Jack, the "kill everything" approach is born out as correct more often than not. Unfortunately for everyone else, the same approach is incorrect in two very big ways: Carin killing the Water Dragon in the prologue and Cross slaughtering the dwarves just before the split.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Aphelion does his best to prevent the war from happening and tries to stop it as quickly as possible, as all he wants is to prevent the world from being constantly reset because the system is blatantly in favor of every race except humanity. It's a real shame his plan requires the death of the dragons and Ridley. Most non-humans (not Zane) are this in the human route, where they're Jack's enemies, as it's not difficult to sympathize with their reasons for going to war in the first place.