Review by fatchineseboy
A crash from the sky
Ah...Grandia 3. One of Square's many RPG's that dominate the entire PS2 system. Though the process of releasing RPG after RPG may seem tedious, Square and the developing company (Game Arts in this situation) always seem to make it work. Grandia is no different: with a stellar fight system and amazing graphics, it is indeed a gem for the PS2. But, juxtaposed to all of these positive comments, Grandia is an immense failure of an RPG. It's sad really, Grandia had all of these things going for it, but it lacks many things an RPG needs: a soul.
Here's a brief summary of the game. Subject A is a boy obsessed with flying (go figure.). So he's built 19 airplanes and crashed them all. Lucky him. Well anyways, little boy Yuki wants to leave the mainland....because he wants to be like his hero (who dies in the storyline. Yargh.). Well anyways, this plan is set in action, but he crashes another plane and meets his love interest and possibly the most annoying thing in any game I've ever played. It's a girl with obnoxiously large ears who is all "save the bunnies and the bees!" Well, it turns out that this Alfina girl is a communicator who can talk to oversized animals. Kick ass.
Well after you save her from a guy with an obnoxiously fat arm, you venture to the mainland with Alfina, Miranda (your "mother" who looks like a 16 year old...) and Alonso (Mr. "I'm so cocky, I can't keep my pants on). Additionally, a band of "mysterious enemies" is following you, filled with "badass" characters who obviously can't keep their little paws out of their little leader's pants (case and point: Violetta. Imma not even going to talk about her...).
After a mysterious chain of events, Miranda and Alonso ditch you so they can go joyriding in Alonso's little boat. Great. -2 annoying characters. 2 more to go and then we can get out of this hellride. Unfortunately for you, some half demon twit named Ulf joins your party. His voice is influenced greatly by helium and he constantly gives you "helpful" comments. Also, a disproportionate woman who believes that "love will only bring you pain" (she worships a large goat named yoat. Clever, eh?) joins your merry band of misfits. Yahoo. We now have our full band of characters.
Well, Alfina has a brother. A "badass" brother. Who is named Emilious (Spelling error, I know.). Well, this Emilious guy seems to be obsessed with cutting himself. Ever since he was a child, he liked to cut himself to become complete. Alfina doesn't like this. She seems to think that she can help Emilious become complete by herself and by loving that psychopathic maniac. Stabbity stab stab.
Remember those oversized animals I talked about earlier? Well, Emilious is trying to kill them. Did I mention that those animals are extremely annoying, as they prattle on about how "love conquers all things." So; I'm on Emilious' side for this one. Stabbity stab stab.
And that's basically Grandia. Stop Emilious and win the elf girl. Yar yar yar. The dialogue is repetitive and horrible, with some character deaths so poorly thought out that they're laughable. An RPG's story is the most crucial element, as it drives the gamer to continue playing. Grandia lacks a decent story and the characters seem fake and plastic, as they speak their cheesy and repetitive lines. To make it worse, the game continually adds new themes such as "becoming one" and "love" to try to make the game seem deep. Unfortunately, this is mixed with the horrid dialogue and all the themes are underdeveloped, making the game utter nonsense. 2/10
The battle system is by far the best one I've ever played. Its entirely based upon the order of attacks, and it allows the player to cancel enemy attacks and send them to oblivion. Additionally, the game is backed by an interesting combo system that allows the player to unleash supreme joint attacks against the enemy, causing massive amounts of damage. Its a system based around team work, making every party member essential for a win. The player will find themselves balancing the growth of their characters, so they can exhibit powerful air combos.
The battles vary from surprisingly easy to intensely hard. Many enemies will surprise on your little journey through Grandia. Treasure chests will magically spring alive and you will be rushed by dragon cavalry in the mountains. Each dungeon is unique in its own way and the enemies prove it.
However, there's a negative side of the gameplay. The game literally consists of this agenda:
1. Go to town
2. Go to Dungeon
Its a very linear game that's linked by an overworld of a sky. Though the dungeon crawling is fun and intense, the game's far to linear and there seems to be no point and purpose to many dungeons. It's like taking a step backwards from the great RPG's that exist with one flowing world. 8/10
The Graphics will amaze you. Literally. At first, I couldn't tell whether some scenes were or weren't in CGI. The characters have realistic movements and none of their designs are linear and basic. The cut scenes show intense detail and bring the storyline (vague and boring as it is.) across. 10/10
Okay. I have to be honest here. The sound in this game is terrible. From the opening song that has been horribly dubbed to the final bosses' extremely happy music, it's a horrid soundtrack. All of the dungeon music is reused and only the final dungeon has unique music. Practically none of the music fits with what's going on in the game. It's a literal failure of a soundtrack.
But let's not forget the game's voices. Yes, all of them sound awful (for the exception of Miranda, who actually sounds normal.) and hellium infused. From the moment you'll hear Ulf say time to recover, to the many times you'll hear Alfina squeal in delight, you'll want to shoot them. Yuki sounds like a power ranger (well, he was voiced by one, so let's not forget that.) and Emilious is struggling with a non-existant accent. Its a decent attempt, but most of the voices will sound awful. 5/10
Rent, or Buy?
I would actually have to say Buy. Though its a relatively short game (It's two disks and I only got 25 hours into it. Hell, that's the same amount of time it took for me to beat Kingdom Hearts 1.) you can get a good play's worth out of it. Just....don't spend your own money buying it. You'll feel ripped off. Instead, use a gift card, or get a used copy. Its somewhat worth a full 50 dollars, but not really.
Essentially, Grandia is an elongated fall. It starts with promise, but as it continues, it just becomes worse and worse. The storyline will remind some players of those little Superhero shows that they used to watch, but the graphics and the battle system will keep them long enough so they can continue playing. All and all, its a huge disappointment, but as long as you expect the worst, you can endure Grandia 3.
Rating: 3.0 - Fair
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