Grandia II ReviewD. Turner
A geohound lives for one thing in their lives, gold. Going from job to job slaying monsters and doing whatever else is asked. One day Ryudo comes across a seemingly simple job of escorting a Songtress of Granas to a near by ruin but it winds up in becoming a story of lifetime. You control Ryudo the brass pessimistic youth through a vast world called Grandia, all along begrudgingly helping those and need to find clues to aid him and his party's quest.
The battle system in Grandia II will be familiar to those who played the original. It's a combination of real time and turn based, you try to an attack an enemy before it attacks you by using quicker attacks than them. Unlike most RPG's where the distance doesn't matter this one it does, if you select to an attack an enemy that is too far away or out of your range you will miss or not get there at all. Special Attacks and magic are abundant but you can all only gain special attacks by defeating enemies and getting Special Coins. With magic you have to find Mana Eggs with predetermined spells in them these can be exchanged with your party.
Although that might not sound too special but it is. You will see that battles in this game are fun and challenging the extra elements add to the battle although you can still mash A until the battle is over. Like the original this game contains no random battles you can see the enemies coming and be prepared for them. If you're not prepared you can simply dodge the enemies. Like the original they sap out all the fun of exploration, you never walk on the world map you just simply pick your next location. This has the upside of never being able to get lost, but it also has the down effect of there not being any secret dungeons or special places that are not part of the story.
I also had a problem with the fact that as soon as you got into town the party knew exactly where to go. This takes out even more of the adventure, there was no sense in walking around talking to people or going into house for that matter. It was pretty much always the biggest house is where to go so you never had to talk to anybody. Sadly if you actually do talk to people and go in houses you will find a lot of good dialect and learn a lot more about the characters. I think that they should have some how made it mandatory to talk to people and when you were done you could go to the next game goal.
The graphics on this game are a huge step above the original Grandia. The 2D sprites were good but didn't do each character justice. Like other newer RPG's it's 3D in a 3D world and everything is designed beautifully. The towns are very colorful even though this game has a darker approach than the original. The dungeons on the other hand are very drab looking and they lack all the colors and design that the rest of the game has. After a while you will think that all the dungeons look exactly alike because most of them take place in caves and ruins.
The character design is pretty good each character is large and quite detailed although they do lack the major detail of a mouth. The characters aren't necessarily deformed nor are they realistic they are sort of in-between. The game contains a fully rotating camera, which will be put into heavy use because a lot of dungeons and towns are hard to see from a standard view. This game also contains a wide use of effects and lighting it is spectacular how they make all the spells and and special attacks come alive with brilliant effects. The spells for the most part are 2D or 3D on 2D and each one looks more brilliants as you delve deeper into the game.
The music on this game is quite similar to the music heard in the original Grandia. Some of the tracks carried over while some were changed to be slower or darker. But most of the music is upbeat to contrast with the story, although that might sound strange but it isn't. When the story takes darker turns the music gets darker but for the most part it's upbeat and sort of flows with the scenery. This game also contains voices like the original most of the voices are great and fit in with the characters. Some of the voices are quite annoying or are hard to understand. They still put the text box up though so if you can't understand them you can read what they're saying.
The replay value on this game is low there is next to nothing to do after you beat it so I doubt many people will play it 2 times through. The Fun Factor on this game is medium you will have fun during battles and discovering new towns since there isn't any airships or anything like that I doubt you will have fun do anything else.
- Visual Effects
- Most Voices
- The Story
- Only takes 9 blocks of memory
- Battles are fun
- Some voices are hard to understand
- Battles are too easy near the end of the game
- Most boss fights were won quickly
- The game is quite short only around 30 hours long
- Talking to people in town is not mandatory
- Carro was all over the place but turned out to be useless
Overall this is a pretty good game, it's not the greatest RPG on the Dreamcast but it's with the best by default. I think people who have played the original will love it, hate it, and learn to love it, or learn to hate it. It's not like the original Grandia and I don't think it was trying to be. This game would have been better as stand alone playing the original sort of clouded my vision of it. Despite that I'm sure you will have a good time with it and I still suggest you get it. That's a Dy$e Guarantee.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.