I finished this game a few years ago and recently replayed it. I enjoyed it a lot both times around. The main character, Stocke, is pretty awesome, the plot has a lot of twists and turns and the fighting system is interesting as well. The music’s pretty decent too.

You play as Stocke, a member of Special Intelligence for Alistel, a country in the middle of a war with Granorg due to the desertification of the continent. I quite liked the set-up because it seemed an understandable reason for war that wasn’t just ‘the other ruler is totally evil’, that you get in a lot of RPGs. Anyway, Stocke gets given the White Chronicle which allows him to travel through time. You get this ability very early in the game and you use it to switch between two different timelines to try and get the ‘True History’. The White Chronicle is quite easy to use, and you’ll need to use it a lot as you run up against roadblocks in one history that you need to fix by switching to the other history. The problems in the main quest can all pretty much be dealt with by doing that, so you shouldn’t get stuck with the main story. There are a lot of side-quests though, and some of them are quite challenging. Occasionally, you’ll make a decision that results in the end of the world. Some of these seem a little silly- very minor things can apparently lead to the world’s destruction, but some of them are quite amusing as well. Anyway, because you can skip scenes with the ‘start’ button it is very easy to go back and re-do decisions, or travel to a previous time to find a side-quest. A benefit of being able to go back in time is that none of the side-quests are missable.

As for the fighting, you fight enemies on a grid and you can push them around and change the turn order to build up combos and deal massive damage. An easy battle can become really difficult if you don’t pay attention to turn order and combos, and vice versa. Because of that, you don’t really have to do a whole of grinding in this game, just pay attention to the skills you have and who you bring into combat. That’s a good thing as because of this, battles with enemies on the map take a bit longer compared to other rpgs as button mashing doesn’t really work. It’s really easy to avoid enemies if you want to though, the maps are big enough that it’s easy to run away from them and you can also hit them with your sword to stun them. Another thing I enjoyed about the combat is that status ailments are actually useful in boss battles.

The story is pretty good, and as I mentioned earlier I like the main character. There are a few supporting characters I was indifferent to, but mostly the characters are all engaging. The character portraits are nice, but they’re static. That works fine for Stocke as he wouldn’t show any expression anyway, but it would have been nice to see some of the other characters crack a smile every now and then. The side-quests are all interesting and different, and its nice to go back and see the little scenes that change after you save someone who would have died.

The game is about 30-40 hours long, including side-quests and getting the true ending. I enjoyed it a lot both times around, though I wouldn’t recommend it if you don’t like turn-based battles or get confused by complicated plots easily.

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