Review by NWalterstorf

"NWalterstorf: Grandia III"

So here we are at Grandia III, the latest in the series of Grandia video games. First off, I loved Grandia II, and every since I played 2, I've expected every following Grandia game to reach that level of excellency. So how does the latest game stand up to the Grandia series?

First off, the graphics are downright phenomenal. Breathtaking scenery and excellent character modeling fill the screens every where you turn. Nothing is overlooked; every town looks unique, so do all of the characters within the game. It's definitely a sight for sore eyes.

That's good, you say; but how's the sound? The sound effects are pretty good, nothing out of this world. It sounds nice in many ways; not just in the fighting and other sound-effects, but even the music is pretty good. But here's a warning: you may or may not like the opening movie theme; some people didn't care for it, while some loved it. Either way, the other music in the game is pretty good, but again, nothing out of this world in the sound department.

So just what is so great about Grandia 3? The gameplay, of course! The battle system is one of the best in all RPGs. In fact, it's predecessor, Grandia Xtreme was heralded for it's remarkable battle system. In this game, it's just as good as before, even cleaned up a little to provide further ease with just as much strategy.

The story? It's pretty good. Sometimes you'll feel like rushing through the dungeons just to get to the next story segment. The story is very well done; compelling, as it may be. Of course, the difficulty comes in choosing whether to take your time in the dungeons and enjoy the battle system, or to skip ahead and catch the next piece of this amazing tale. The style is much brighter than common-day RPGs, most of them favoring "darker" and "scarier" (a fad I can't wait to pass). Luckily, the story isn't bubble-gum; it's a very good story with a bright atmosphere.

So why an 8? Probably because of the fact that there's so many dungeons. I love the battle system, I love battling and adventuring as much as the next guy does; but sometimes it goes on too long. Sure, there's excellent scenery to enjoy as you make your way dungeon to dungeon, but then the great battles tend to become a hastle. You'll want to enjoy them, and you will don't get me wrong, but sometimes the exploration will go on for a very long time. There's plenty of fun to be had adventuring, but then again, too much of a good thing can turn into a very bad thing. Luckily, though, Grandia 3 doesn't overwhelm you with battles like it's predecessor, Grandia Xtreme did (GX is a good game, though, I'm not shooting it down).

Also, there's almost no replay value to be found. It's a fun game, albeit short, but once you get done, that's it. Maybe we've come to expect more out of our gameplay. I can understand this game not having an extra post-game dungeon, but this game has no sidequests to be found other than gambling (and the gambling mini-game isn't the best, either).

So then the question comes: should you purchase this game? Yes and no. Yes, because it's such a good game it should demand a purchase, but no simply because it's so short. You should definitely rent this game, because the chances are that you'll beat the game before your return. But that's just the point: if you beat the game, you'll have no reason to play the game through again. It's a great tale, but there's no replay value.

In the end, I would recommend this game to anyone enjoying a good play. I've purchased it, and I don't intend to trade it in to a game store nor otherwise sell this game. It's very fun, and I have played it twice. It's got a great story with one of the best battle systems. What more could you ask for? Maybe a little length, but it's still a great game.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 03/31/06

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