Classic Nintendo DS RPG Radiant Historia got a new coat of paint and was re-released last week as Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology on the 3DS. The new version has a slew of cool new features (see my release post here), but the very best thing about Perfect Chronology is its shiny new “Friendly” mode.
I have a mixed history with “Easy” modes on games. While I sometimes start a game on “Easy” if I know I have to finish it in a hurry, I still feel a pang of guilt. I worry that I am doing things “wrong” and will somehow miss out on some secret sauce that “Normal” players will get to taste. As much as I try to fight it, I still consider “Normal” mode to be the “real” way to play a game, with the balance and tuning the way the developers intended it. As the result of my pent-up prejudices, I was eyeing “Friendly” mode in Radiant Historia with suspicion and distrust. However, after starting the game on Normal and playing through a few hours, I decided to switch over to Friendly mode, just to check it out for a few minutes.
Thank goodness I did, because I am never going back. Friendly mode is a godsend to a busy old man like me, and it has completely changed the way I play the game. Basically, Friendly mode allows all trash mob battles in the game to be optional. Not “Oh, I can just dodge around this guy and not fight him” optional. Rather, its “I can decide whether to go through the whole battle as normal or I can just kill this clown with a swipe of my sword, skipping the hassle and still getting all the XP and goodies” optional.
You can literally just whack at baddies in the field with your sword and watch your XP and cash go up as though you had fought the entire battle. Its the best. The cool thing about it is that you still have the option to engage with the awesome battle system as normal, if you wish. And you’ll want to, because you still have to fight boss battles and you will need to keep in touch with what new skills and powers your dudes gain as you level up. I’m still going through battles about 40% of the time, which is perfect for keeping my chops up while still cutting the grind time by 60%. It takes the prospect of engaging with a giant game from intimidating down to something much more manageable.
I think about all the times I’ve restarted older RPGs, never to finish them because I got bogged down in the grind. Atlus has made all of that hassle go away with the wave of a magic “Friendly mode” wand. Rather than feeling guilty about playing on an easy mode, I’m a total convert. Friendly mode for life, y’all!
If you have never played it, or if you have played it and want to relive the great memories, Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology is out now. If you can, I would grab the physical edition, as it comes with some fun stickers and a cool artbook for the same price as the digital edition. Bonus!