Review by wolverinefan
"Kind of weak story but it's still better than Grandia 2"
I remember when the first Grandia came out on the PS1. I was excited. I was also excited that Grandia 2 was coming to the Dreamcast but I don't think I ever played it on the Dreamcast. I bought, played, beat, reviewed Grandia 2 on the Playstation 2. It was a weak entry in the series and now that I've completed the third game in the series I can safely say that I found Grandia 2 to be the weakest. Is Grandia 3 a great game? Well, no but it's an average game and it's solid everywhere but story.
Yuki wants to fly, just like his hero. Yuki and friend build planes but they can't get them to fly for too long. One day Yuki is flying in what he thinks in the perfect plane. It might have been but his mother has snuck into the back and the weight is too much. They come crashing down, only to run into a scared young girl. Someone is after her. She asks Yuri and his mom to take her to the Arcliff place so she can become a communicator. So off our heroes go on a mildly interesting journey. I think the main problem people have with the story is that two characters leave your party early on and are never heard from again (besides a still picture during the credits). Sadly, it's the two best characters, development wise at least.The characters you gain on your quest are semi-interesting but their development stops pretty much right after getting them. Only Yuki and Alfie continue to develop during our story. The story itself is also rather tame. It doesn't do anything new but it is interesting enough.
Graphic wise Grandia 3 is stunning. The CGI stuff is top notch and the in game graphics at times are amazing. Sometimes they look normal but once in a while, the town you begin in at the start of the game is pleasing to the eyes. Character models are nice, I didn't notice any problems with them. They are nicely details but again, like the towns, don't look that great during certain moments. Enemies look nice as well.
Sound wise I must say I like the game. While the voice acting isn't the best around, it does it's job and the lines are delivered well. The game only offers the English voice cast. Sound effects are nice with thumps, zaps and all that but for some reason I don't remember the little things. Were there footstep sounds? I don't remember. Sounds of metal on metal? Again I don't remember. Music wise I was pleased as well. The opening song isn't the best thing ever but it conveys the mood of the story well and while the singer doesn't sound amazing, it's a good enough opening theme. Oh and again it's in English. The in game music is nice as well. Nothing stood out but it was nice.
I had zero problems with control. Moving around the towns was easy. Moving the camera with two of the shoulder buttons was easy, sometimes the camera got stuck on walls but oh well... The combat is menu driven and it was easy to navigate the ring. It's a RPG so it's hard to have bad control in one.
For those who have played Grandia games before you'll know the drill very well. For those who are new to the series let me just say that this isn't exactly your typical RPG gameplay. The previous Grandia games had a plain ole map with dots that you click and you'd go to that location. Grandia 3 is kind of the same but you have a plane and you do fly from place to place. You can listen to radio transmissions and get info on any dots that appear. You can't be attacked while flying and to be honest it wasn't really needed and would have worked just as well if they had used the old style of the map from the previous games.
The layouts of the dungeons and fields are decent. Many huge areas but with little in them. The later dungeons are slightly more complex but again they are still very easy to get through. The old Grandia games had more complex dungeons that offered some sort of challenge. The locations do look nice though.
Now, to get into a battle you need to touch the enemies. They are running around the areas. Kill all in an area and I don't think they respawn. This is nice because you can't power level and cheapen the game. This is a plus because early in the game it's tough because you don't know the basics of the game play. As you advance you learn your own way of playing and won't need to worry about power leveling. You can hit the monster before touching it (use the circle button) and this will stun him, allowing you to attack first. Or if they touch you from the side or rear they can attack first.
I guess this all won't make sense unless I explain the battle system. You will never have more than 4 characters so there is zero party management. Now, in battle there is a ring. This shows your characters positions and the enemies. You're on the inner ring, them on the outer. Now, there are a number of ways to attack. A normal attack, a critical attack, magic attack, special attack or orb attack. Magic uses MP, special uses SP and orb can only be used once in a battle and fills by killing enemies. Most of the time you will be using normal attacks. You use criticals to cancel the enemy. If they are in the about to attack zone you can hit them with a critical and it will cancel them, sending them to the start of the ring. Once you get this down and keep an eye on it all you can run fast battles and continue to cancel the enemy. It isn't a 100% thing but it works most of the time. Your battle menu is an orb. You spin up or down to cycle through basic commands and to the left of normal attack is magic. To the right is Special and Orb (once you gain that).
I think that pretty much explains everything. You gain exp to level up. Your skills and stuff level up as well. I'm not sure how that works but oh well. Also during battle the more you use a special attack it might upgrade in power. You can equip new skills, learned from books. Or new magic, learned from eggs. You can combine eggs later in the game to unlock even more magic. You also get new equipment from chests or stores so you need to save money for that. You can only carry 9 of an item so it also limits you stock piling life items or healing items.
The game itself is fairly short and offers no side quests. It's about 20-25 hours long. Not too long but it's worth a quick play through at least. I just wish it offered something extra.
Is Grandia 3 worth buying? Maybe when it's $20 or less. Right now at it's current price tag it's worth a rental and can easily be beaten in one. I only paid $25 for it so it wasn't that big of a deal and I actually enjoyed it but for those looking for a lot of meat to their game or a great story should maybe look else where or just rent this one.
Story - 6/10
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 8/10
Control - 9/10
Game Play - 8/10
Replay Value - 1/10
Final Score - 7/10
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 07/10/06
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