Review by Master LL

"Fun game but with an extreme shortcoming plot and time."

-Grandia III (ENG Version)-
This review is based on the domestic English version currently.

-PLOT- [05]
{Breakdown: Main Plot- D, Character Plot- D, NPCs- D}
Grandia III's plot is not very good. True it's cliched with the "saving the world" scenario (then again most games are like that). Thus the only way to help produce an engaging and successful storyline is the execution of the cast and characters by the developers. In result, Grandia III fails in all aspect.

The heroes and heroine in this game are very shallow in which you do not learn much or if any at all. True you may get a glimpse of a crack of their past but it isn't enough nor warranted to help give them any developments. What makes matter worse is you'll get characters (both good and bad) that come and go without any viable reasons of why they join, fight or even be in the game.

It feels like they developers placed most of the villains there just to have a boss battle if nothing else.

-GAMEPLAY- [08]
{Breakdown: Difficulty- B, Battle System- A, Puzzles- C, Control- B}
Grandia III's battle system is one of my most favorite turned-based systems. Using the IP System, both players and enemies must take mandatory steps of the "IP Circle" before any action can be taken. The first step is to reach the COM (Command) Stage from the Wait Stage. From the COM Stage, commands can be given (as well as see what enemies have decided what course of action to take and as well as their target). The second stage is to reach the ACT (Action) Stage after the command have been entered. Reaching this second stage will depend on the course of action, more powerful attacks will take a longer time to reach this second stage. Once ACT Stage have been reached, the command chosen will be performed. From there the process repeats.

What makes the IP System very different is that during the time between the COM to ACT stage (preparing to execute the command), if a "Critical" attack is performed on that particular enemy between that stage, they will be Canceled. Cancel will force the target to return back to the Wait Stage. This helps in stopping powerful attacks as well as stall time to help setup strategies. Of course while this can be done on an enemy, the enemy can Cancel on your characters.

One of the newest features is the Aerial Combos. Succeeding in a Cancel will pop the enemy in the air, allowing the next character (if on COM or ACT Stage) to preform free attacks on the airborne enemy. This allows much greater damage as well as higher chance of drop rates (if the target is killed). Flashy and cool.

Magic and Special Skills are the same from the previous Grandia. Skills can help Cancel attacks while spells are powerful but yet very pretty to look at.

For the first disc, the enemies are pretty easy as long as you understand how to Cancel, know the enemies' tactics and level properly. For disc two, the difficulty jumps and can prove to be very difficult or average all depending on your levels and the equipments you equip (skills and magic). It is VERY IMPORTANT to learn how and when to Cancel (you don't want to waste your turn cancelling a weak attack since the Wait Time will be long), know what the enemies' skills (knowing their tactic will make the battle much easier since you will know the exact strategies to beat them) and finally, equipments (warp shoes + Counter + Perception == untouchable)

There are very little puzzles in this game which minorly consist of moving walls or hitting switches. This is not a bad move since it helps reduce mental breakdown from possible "hard to solve" puzzles but yet may make the challenge much smaller.

Controls when moving around sometimes feel floaty. Yuki seems to take a step or two forward after you let go of the controls. Aside from that, the controls are no problems at all.

-GRAPHICS- [08]
{Breakdown: Graphics- B, Animation- B, Full Motion Videos- B}
Beautiful graphics but sometimes it's a little fuzzy for the background, animation and the fmvs.
The dungeon design is pretty much linear and straight forward, which isn't bad for those not in a mood for a maze. Towns and villages, aren't as impressive though.

-Composition- [04]
{Breakdown: Background Music- D, SFX- C, Voice- C}
The soundtrack was awful, not a single good music aside from three songs.
The voice acting was good although there's an overplayed emotional character with a high pitch that hurts my ears.

-REPLAY- [LOW]
{Breakdown: Extra Difficulties- F, Secret Moves- F, Bonus Dungeons- F, Collectors- F, NewGamePlus- F}
There is no extra dungeons, bosses or secrets. Once completed, there is nothing to look forward to.

-THE FINAL GRADE- 06 / 10
The only thing going for this game is the battle system. Aside from that, paying $50 is not worth it. The story is horrible due to its plot holes and its lack of support for most, if not all, the characters. Playing, you can't see or understand why these "characters" are in this game, there is NO motive or reasoning at all.

Also, the game is pretty short compared to most rpgs these days. I completed this game at level 50 in 30-35 hours and that includes reading ALL dialogues (including talking to npcs in all towns), creating mana eggs and even gamble on Arranged Dice (for 3 million medals to buy everything). Now, without the gambling and the extras (mana eggs, talking to people), it would be around 25 hours at most.

Is this game worth playing? Definitely, for the great battle system. Just don't expect a well-executed plot.

Is this game worth buying? If you can get this game cheap (under $45) then I say yes. If you're tight on money than paying $50+ for this game is not worth it. There are better games with twice and more Grandia III's gameplay for $50.

If you're a Grandia fan, by all means, try to find a good deal for this game when you buy it.. again, this game IS worth playing due to the battle system, but I highly recommend trying to get a good cheap price for it.

Otherwise, rent it, assuming you can play 30 hours or so before the rental is due.


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 02/28/06


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