Review by YanDaMan263

"This could've been one of the best RPGs of all time..."

Grandia 3, a long awaited sequel to a great serie. Grandia Xtreme didn't fare so well. How will this game fare? We'll see.

Graphics: 9/10
The graphics of Grandia III are excellent. the maps you walk on are greatly detailed, and the characters are very well animated. One of the best part of the graphics is that characters, even NPCs, have very realistic expressions on their faces as they talk according to the situation. The character portraits are also very well done, and these also have various expressions that change to fit the characters feelings. The magic and tech animations and graphics are topnotch. Probably some of the best I've seen in an RPG, they rivals, if not better, those of Final Fantasy magic animations.

Story: 6/10
If you played any previous Grandia, you know the deal. Some evil God is about to be revived and it is your job to stop him from destroying the world. The story actually takes a while to pick up, many hours in the beginning mainly focuses on Yuki, the main character, and his dream to fly an airplane and be the best pilot in the world. As you continue reaching for your dreams, you meet a girl, falls in love with her, decides to help her out, and then later finds out about the menace of the world and have to save it. Even though the story is pretty cliche, it's not really bad, but the problem is, it's way too predictable. Any RPG gamer will be able to predict almost every event that is about to happen, which leaves you really no surprises. One saving grace of this game is the comedy that is plentiful in the beginning of the game, before you get separated from your mom (who looks like a teenager). And to quote X-Play, "Yeah that's suppose to be his mom, I guess she had him when she was 9".

Gameplay: 10/10
The best feature about Grandia 3, and most previous Grandia games, obviously lies in the battle system. The battles happens in semi-real time, where strategy plays a huge part in the battles. You can't just mash attack your way out of victory like most other RPGs, you have to think, watch the character's placement in the field, the distance between the enemy, the speed of all character's rotation on the turn chart (dont know its name). Like previous Grandia games, you have 2 attaack options, Combo and Critical. Combo unleashes 2 attacks successively, and critical is one powerful blow that knock the opponent slightly back on the turn chart and cancels any opponent's action if they are in the red zone of the turn chart, which results in their turn delayed and their would've been devastation attack canceled. Criticals also have a chance to knock the opponent up in the air (100% chance if they are in the red zone) and if another party member gets a turn while the enemy is still airborne and choose to attack it, they unleash a powerful air combo that do more damage than normal attacks, and a air finish results in more exp and money. There's also magic and techs, using MP and SP respectively. MP is what MP is in most other RPGs, SP however, regenerates from time, when you take damage, when you deal damage, and when you win a battle without getting hit. Magic and supportive skills have to be equiped, so you have customization freedom to choose who to be the fighter or the mage or the healer, as some character has weapons that either raise power or magic or both. Mana eggs are back, but instead of granting character magic like Grandia 2, they power up certain elements for your magic. Skill books do the same, except for support skills. Magic and skills can also be extracted from the eggs and books at the expense of the egg and book being gone.

Music: 9/10
I for one am one of those gamers who finds music to be a big part of a game and is highly important just as much as gameplay and graphics. The music sets the mood of the action and story, and the soundtrack for Grandia 3 does just that. Every music fits the scene perfectly. The battle music gives the adventurous mood, and later more intense and serious as the story progress, which is very nice. The 2 boss battle themes are also near perfection, One shows resolution to win, while the other feels intense with action. The voice acting in this game is also excellent, something rare for english dubs. The main character Yuki's voice is done by Johnny Yong Bosch, who've done VA's for various anime and games, and is also famous for being a Power Ranger. The only problem I had with the voices is that during cutscenes, they werent any subtitles, and sometime the volume of the voices shifts from high to low, which can get annoying, but manageable for the most part.

Replay Value: 0/10
Big problem here, although it is no surprise that replay values for RPGs tend to be low, this game has absolute zero replay value. Once you beat the game, its done, you see the ending, back to the title screen. There isn't a single side-quest at all, and the game is extremely linear. This wouldn't be a problem but the game is extremely short. You'd think a 2 disc game would be longer and last at least 40 hours. But this game will last about 20 hours total, and if you decide to hunt for items, 24-25 hours. You dont unlock anything at all, once you beat the game its done.

Buy or Rent:
I would recommend a rental, because most likely you will be able to finish the game before the due date. And as I've said, once you've beaten the game theres really no reason to ever touch this game again. If you really want to buy it for collecting purposes, I recommend waiting for a price drop at least.

Final words:
As the header says, this could've been one of the best RPGs of all time. It has excellent graphics, awesome soundtrack, and a great non-boring battle system. Everything about it is almost flawless. Problem. The game is too short, and it has no side-quest, is extremely linear, and has no replay value at all. If they've spend some time to add a couple of side quests, optional dungeons or bosses, or something extra, and made the game a little bit longer, this would've been in one of my top RPGs of all times.

Score: 7/10

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 06/12/06, Updated 06/20/06

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