Review by tritochcrusader
"Terrific RPG Experience known for its Brilliant Battle System"
I have never played any of the other Grandia games, but I really enjoyed Grandia 3! This game features a unique battle system where you can cancel attacks and level up your special techniques based on how often you use them. Stylistically, the game is very cool and enjoyable as well.
I felt the story was incredibly cliche. The story was interesting enough to keep your attention since it featured many plot twists and turns. The character's personalities were very interesting and varied, however they featured little development. The voice acting was quite good which made the characters very memorable. I also thought the plot twists were good, but they have been overdone by previous games. The fantasy aspects were good, but the plot really just lacks variety and originality.
The game play is simply awesome. While this game does not have lots of side quests like Final Fantasy games have, it has a super-fun battle system and magic system. You must fuse mana eggs to learn powerful magic. This can be a challenge since you must find rare mana eggs and fuse them to get the most powerful spells. Also the SP skill system is quite useful and increasing each to LV5 can be quite challenging. You gain levels on your special SP moves by using them frequently in battle rather than by earning AP like in Final Fantasy. Also, you can cancel enemy attacks by strategically using a LV1 cancel SP attack or standard cancel hit within the time limit. This is a very fun and much appreciated aspect of the battle system. The enemies appear on screen so there are no annoying random battles. Finding treasure chests is easy because you can use sonar-like wave to help you locate the treasures .very good idea. Some skills and magic abilities can be purchased, others must be extracted from rare mana eggs and books. Skill books can also be equipped to boost certain abilities and Mana eggs can be equipped to boost certain elements. However, once you extract the magic contained within a Mana egg they are permanently destroyed. But you can always find or fuse additional mana eggs. Skill books must be used more carefully however, since once the skill is extracted from certain books you can forget using the book again as it's gone!
The graphics are very good. I'm disappointed they didn't make the game in full 3D because many of the original screenshots displayed it as being a fully 3D RPG. It's really more like Final Fantasy X's graphics with slightly more 3D areas. I found the battle graphics to be amazing and crisp. The menu design is also excellent. The spell design is kind of bland in my opinion, but they are interesting enough to keep your attention. I did encounter some major glitches when I walked past a wall or pole and also sometimes the characters would break up. This is not acceptable for a PS2 game of this caliber so I am deducting for it. But, the fact that Grandia 3 has beautiful scenic landscapes does make up for it some.
The music is bad overall, unfortunately. There are some good songs such as the Verse Realm battle theme and Arcriff temple theme. However, pretty much everything else is total garbage. There is some music that is so bad that you will want to turn off the TV. The voice acting is quite good and emotional though. I found the sound effects to be very good as well.
The controls are outstanding. It is easy to navigate through each town and dungeon since you have a convenient map present on the screen. Changing views is easy and running away from battles is not hard. The fact that there are no random encounters makes the game extremely smooth. I don't remember load times being bad either. The controls are some of the best I've seen in an RPG.
Replay Value 10/10
Although there is no NewGame+, you can strive to find all the weapons, magic, abilities, and skill books in this game. It is a very time consuming task to accomplish this and it is fun since many of these items you get from battles. You will want to play this game again and again just because the battle system is so fun.
Buy or Rent?
Buy, definitely. This game is simply outstanding. It belongs in any RPG fan's collection.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/10/06
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