Update: 'Grandia II' RPG Review

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Update: 'Grandia II' RPG Review

Post by Green Ranger » Tue Jan 03, 2006 1:43 am

Have you read the review to 'Evolution'? If so, then you may not be satisfied with the game's lack of entertainment. If you are looking for an RPG with more substance, then read on as I review one of the better RPGs for the Dreamcast- Grandia II:

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Grandia II was developed by Game Arts. The game follows the story of Ryudo, a mercenary who sets upon a quest to stop the rebirth of an Evil God. With the help of a songstress, a noble beast, a robot and a prince, they must find the pieces of the enemy and destroy them before they are reassembled. The game itself is quite enjoyable, featuring likable characters, commendable environment designs, a great story and a pleasant battle system.

Story (8 out of 10): Due to its content, Grandia II's story is compelling, emotional and dark. It can get grim and depressing, and the game does show a few violent scenes. It even touches on the subject of religion, which everyone might not be comfortable with exploring. For those hoping for a happy story, you will perhaps not get it here. What you will get instead is a suspensful and engaging plot that explores religion and human nature.

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Gameplay and Controls (8.5 out of 10): Grandia II is a full 3d RPG. By using the analog stick you can move your character in any direction. The left and right triggers on the Dreamcast controller change the camera angles, offering full 360 degree rotations. Approaching characters throughout the game offers engaging conversation which is a plus, and when it comes to enemy interaction they are clearly visible while walking, so the player has a choice of interacting with them or not. Running into an enemy from behind will give the player "initiative", which offers a distinct advantage within the battle system.

As for the battle system, it is somewhat a mix between real time and turn base. Icons of your characters (as well as your enemies) are placed on a diagram (resembling a race on a straight line). The first icon to reach the point of attack on this line gets to make a move. To elaborate, on the diagram are two points, 'COM' and 'ACT'. When your icon reaches 'COM', the battle is paused so that you can input your desired attack. Afterwards, once the icon reaches the 'ACT' point, the attack is carried out. The speed of your icon depends on the attributes of the character, so equipping yourself with the appropriate item is a plus. "Initiative" within the battle system offers your character icons a head start from your enemies, ensuring that you reach the point of attack faster.

The Gameplay is also enhanced by it's surprisingly good voice acting. Through this the characters develop a personality, which we the players are drawn to. For instance, there is a character known as Millenia whose rude remarks and fiesty attitude provides entertainment and charm that'll keep players interested.

As with any RPG, there is dungeon exploration. Grandia II's dungeons however leaves us more, in the sense that they feel like they are lacking something. While there are puzzles to solve, they are often easy to complete and mainly deal with pressing switches to open doors. As a matter of fact, getting lost in a dungeon should not be a problem, as they are constructed in such a way that is easy to retrace your steps. Hence, this aspect of the game is not very challenging. It is also important to add that there are very few minigames and virtually no side-quests, so if you're looking for a break from the main adventure, turn off the dreamcast, have a snack or something until you're ready to power it back on.

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Graphics (8 out of 10): Graphically, this is a beautiful game. Bright colors and lively characters is what you will find here, as well as commendable environment designs. During battles, depending on the special attack you choose, you are treated to either a fully CG rendered sequence, or an anime style animation of that attack. Very pleasing to the eyes indeed. The only drawback is that most of the ingame models do not display a mouthpiece, similar to Krillin in Dragonball Z not having a nose piece.

Sound (9 out of 10): The voice acting and sound effects add to the experience. Both aspects are done well and add to the game's merits. Additionally, the soundtrack is not to be overlooked. The music fits the game and sets the mood so well that you can't help but feel motivated to play because of the music at times.

So to recap on the pros and cons-

Pros:
1) Wonderful graphics
2) Commendable voice acting
3) Likable characters
4) Intriguing Battle system
5) Engaging Story

Cons (Subjective):
1) Plot may not be for everyone
2) No lips? How do they speak?
3) No side-quests, so nothing to relieve yourself of the main game when you're looking for something else to occupy the time.

Overall Score:
Grandia II receives an 8.5 out of 10

Hope you enjoyed the review. Feel free to leave comments.


Images taken from various internet sites. Review written by Green Ranger.
Last edited by Green Ranger on Thu Jan 26, 2006 1:11 am, edited 15 times in total.
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Post by Darkfalz » Tue Jan 03, 2006 3:30 am

Grandia II was a favourite. But nothing beats Skies for that pure amazing happy feeling after you have completed it, just an amazing game with so much charm.
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Post by Damon Plus » Tue Jan 03, 2006 4:10 am

I?m just playing through it for the first time (12 hours now, I?m leaving the Papal State), and I must say it?s a pretty fun game, the battle system is really good and keeps me from getting bored like in other Rpg?s. The dungeons are pretty simple, tough.

One thing I hate is how difficult is to situate you. You can rotate the camera, but every time you enter a house, dungeon, etc, it self-centers making it easy to get lost even in towns.
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Post by Lartrak » Tue Jan 03, 2006 1:50 pm

My favorite RPG. Like the characters a lot, and it has a lot of development for them. Been meaning to play through it again for some time.
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Post by Juan » Tue Jan 03, 2006 2:36 pm

I hate the voice acting. But overall, a superb game.
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Post by Nick » Tue Jan 03, 2006 2:58 pm

I wrote up a pretty long review of Grandia II about a year ago; unfortunately, the forums it was on crashed, so I don't have it around any more.

My thoughts on the game, as I remember it, were that it was very good, but not quite "classic." The story was a bit too cliched for my liking, and the lack of sidequests/diversions hurts the replay value and playtime of the game. Additionally, the game is incredibly easy.

Voice acting was good and I liked the characters.

Still doesn't touch Final Fantasy for me, but it has a lot of heart. Very good, and one step away from eternal greatness. Or something like that. :P
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Post by cube_b3 » Tue Jan 03, 2006 2:58 pm

A very nicely written review however a bit brief and you have skipped over some battle issues that critics have mentioned other then that very well written.
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Post by Cid Highwind » Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:32 am

Nick wrote:I wrote up a pretty long review of Grandia II about a year ago; unfortunately, the forums it was on crashed, so I don't have it around any more.

My thoughts on the game, as I remember it, were that it was very good, but not quite "classic." The story was a bit too cliched for my liking, and the lack of sidequests/diversions hurts the replay value and playtime of the game. Additionally, the game is incredibly easy.

Voice acting was good and I liked the characters.

Still doesn't touch Final Fantasy for me, but it has a lot of heart. Very good, and one step away from eternal greatness. Or something like that. :P
In terms of gameplay it had FF by the balls (referring to FF7/8/9), those ancient battle menus don't cut it anymore, and even more so because of all those random battles. I don't know how much has changed since FF10 because I haven't played that game.

My biggest complaint about this game was the difficulty, it was way too easy to beat, the only enemies that made me die were those little devils nuked me out of nowhere. I didn't see that one coming when I fought them for the first time :D But it's a shame to see this battle system go to waste simply because there is no point where you need to rely on your own skills and strategy to defeat an enemy.

The game is pretty short, but there wasn't a single point where it felt like I was playing a 'filler' part of the story. The story was really great, it was something different from what I was used to. The best part IMO is the part about Ryudo's past, the way they kept it all silent in the beginning, all I could do was guess. I am definately not going to spoil this part to the people that haven't played the game.

The characters were really well done, especially with some very good voiceacting. Can't go wrong with Vulcan Raven, Solidus and Liquid I suppose. This definately added a lot to the game.

The soundtrack is very good, I really liked it how they used some electric guitars in this one instead of the regular orchestra.

When compared to SoA I'd say you should pick this game if you want a quick blast, and SoA if you have more time and don't have to rush, because SoA requires you to play for longer periods of time because of its battle system. Grandia is a faster paced game.
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Post by chrisfbt1 » Mon Jan 09, 2006 5:59 pm

Grandia 2 was a great game and the battle system is still probably my favorite of any rpg
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Post by BaldMonk » Tue Jan 10, 2006 8:18 am

Juan wrote:I hate the voice acting. But overall, a superb game.
I thought the acting was pretty good. Yay for the original Leonardo voice actor as Ryudo :D

And the battles were great. One thing I hated about Skies of Arcadia were the random battles that occured every damn few minutes.
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Post by Ominous 0nionfrog » Tue Jan 10, 2006 11:46 am

Wonderful Game.. One of my favorites.... Excellent battle system...
Cant wait for Grandia 3... :D
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Post by Green Ranger » Wed Jan 11, 2006 12:16 am

Ominous 0nionfrog wrote:Wonderful Game.. One of my favorites.... Excellent battle system...
Cant wait for Grandia 3... :D
Can't wait for it either :wink:
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Post by Green Ranger » Sat Jan 14, 2006 3:22 am

UPDATE: Added pictures to the review, as well as made a few adjustments to the review itself. It should make for a better read now :D
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Post by HomerCIDAL » Sat Jan 14, 2006 6:01 am

I'm not big on RPG games, but I played this one and enjoyed it more than most RPG's I've played in the past. It's well worth anyone's time to pick up and play, even if you aren't particularly fond of RPG games.
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