Grandia

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Game Description

In the world of Parm, the world's known secrets have dwindled to precious few. The adventurers of old, so respected for uncovering the secrets, are being put out to pasture in favor of scientific exploration.

Grandia's main hero is Justin, the son of an adventurer who isn't content to just let the world move on. He's lusting for adventure, and with the help of his friends and a mysterious artifact his dad left him, he's set for the most important adventure in the history of Parm.

Along with his childhood friend Sue and her pet Puffy, they set off on their unknown adventure. Though ridiculed by some of the townsfolk, Justin maintains he'll be a great adventurer someday; little does he know, someday will come very soon.

The young adventurers start questioning why there's so many scientific explorations being conducted. More importantly, what does the Garlyle Forces, a private army, have to do with them? The once respected General Baal, leader of the army, has been acting in a very peculiar manner; what exactly is it he's looking for? As Justin, it is the player's objective to uncover the mysterious secrets that lie within Grandia's vast world.

Grandia, originally released on the Sega Saturn console, features several twists on the usual role-playing formula. Rather than using a random-encounter methodology, it offers visible critters that will actively patrol any given area. Players are then given the option to either avoid the enemy or engage in battle; running away will often result in the enemy chasing you around the map.

Combat is conducted upon making contact with any given enemy. Depending on how the encounter was handled, the enemies and your party members will line up accordingly with the terrain. From there, players may utilize magical spells (provided your characters have magical abilities), weapons, or combination attacks with other characters. Both the magic and weapon systems rely on leveling through character usage -- the higher a character's level, the stronger he/she is.

Players may also buy various things such as weapons, armor, and miscellaneous items. Taking on a more traditional aspect, each character can wear a variety of helmets, chest armor, boots, and shields. Buying newer, better armor is important as your characters will be better prepared for the oncoming/tougher battles. There are over 200 different weapons, each with their own unique uses (some with magical abilities).

Rather than obtaining magic through leveling, Justin and his party members can learn magic next to designated icons. In exchange for one Mana Egg, Fire, Wind, Water, and Earth magic can be acquired; there are over 80 different spells, each with its own purpose and attributes.

Help Justin and his friends unlock the secrets of Grandia -- the world is counting on you. Make his father proud.
~ Joe Ottoson, All Game Guide

Roots & Influences

Grandia's roots trace right back to the Lunar games on the Sega CD. The Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete remake on the PlayStation almost looks like it was intended to be a test run for the creation of Grandia. Visiually, it draws comparisons to Xenogears, Chrono Trigger, and Secret of Mana.
~ Joe Ottoson, All Game Guide

Review: Overall

When someone thinks of a Final Fantasy VII killer, they may remember that little Saturn title known as Grandia. Though it didn't turnout to be the little engine that could, it proved to be a fun and unassuming romp through a colorful world in terms of scenery and in the characters your party encountered along the way.

Fast-forward several years later and both Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII have passed that Saturn role-playing game by. Good games don't die, however -- they get re-released. Fortunately for PlayStation RPG fans, SCEA has taken it upon themselves to port this most hyped effort from Game Arts. They haven't disappointed as Grandia remains a solid title despite the supposed technical barriers preventing a flawless port from the Saturn; the aforementioned version was highly specialized to run on the Saturn's hardware, making heavy use of it's extra RAM that the PlayStation doesn't have.

Grandia's story revolves around a young lad named Justin searching for a true adventure in a world that has dedicated itself to sedentary and mundane scientific explorations. Despite assurances that there is no longer a need for the dashing adventurers of old, Justin finds himself on a quest that carries him and his friends beyond the known world; they will be placed in a position to save the world from an ancient force. Because the story, in general, is a lighthearted one, fans of dark and brooding RPGs will probably want to look elsewhere.

The world of Grandia unique in many ways as few things are static despite their largely polygonal construction. Grass moves, trees rustle, bottles fall over, and towns bustle. Taking an active role in the areas they're patrolling, not only are enemies visible in the over-world/dungeon treks, but they'll chase you upon stumbling into their line of vision. For the crafty at stealth, sneaking up on the enemies will award you with a surprise advantage in battle. Just watch your back -- they'll do the same thing to you.

Additionally, the towns are highly detailed and well-textured, almost looking like something out of a 2D game despite their polygonal nature. Think a more-vibrant, cheery looking Xenogears. The tradeoff, however, is a less than optimal framerate and occasional slowdown when there's too many things being shown at once

Grandia really shines in the sound department. The musical score is quite catchy with appropriately dramatic or cheerful music at the proper moments. The frequently used theme song will work its way into your mind, eventually growing on you. It also makes excellent usage of 3D sound effects; as cooking pots boil on stoves or water falls from a large cavern, the hissing and crackle/trickles of water will increase in volume the closer you get to the source of the sound. This significantly enhances the immersion factor. Grandia also utilizes spoken dialogue to carry the important/main plot sequences forward. The voice acting is reasonable and acceptable given the sheer amount of it stored in these two CDs.

Like most role-playing games, the bulk of gameplay is spent fighting. The actual combat system is a departure from the traditional menu-driven RPGs in that it offers a readiness meter at the bottom of the screen. From the meter, you can see which enemies are set to strike first and with powerful attacks or magic, you can actually delay or cancel their action. Careful attack strategies are the key to winning battles -- dazed enemies are unable to attack as your characters wail away. Because the enemies can be just as smart as you, Grandia is a challenging game that keeps your gray matter turned on even when fighting in various battles.

Another twist is that experience is doled out on an action by action basis as well as on a higher level. The more you use a particular weapon, the more special attacks you earn (think Secret of Mana). Magic leveling works the same way as new spells will only be learned through casting lower level spells. Once a certain spell has enough experience, that spell class will gain more attributes. Physical attributes are boosted through a standard experience leveling system, however, so any character that is in the party stands to improve somewhat over time.

When its all said and done, Grandia is a great game. While it's low on the pathos, the cheery nature of the quest is rivaled only by Working Design's Lunar series. If you're looking for something a tad less heavy than the Final Fantasy games but want a long and challenging RPG, Grandia's right up your alley!
~ Joe Ottoson, All Game Guide

Review: Enjoyment

The unassuming story of a hyperactive kid-adventurer makes for a refreshing change over the usual doom and gloom RPG plots. The battle sequences are also entertaining.
~ Joe Ottoson, All Game Guide

Review: Graphics

While the graphics are solid with good detail, there are some framerate and resolution problems.
~ Joe Ottoson, All Game Guide

Review: Sound

When you combine a great musical score with some well done 3D sound effects, you have a winner on your hands.
~ Joe Ottoson, All Game Guide

Review: Replay Value

With only three side quests and not much mystery, there's not much reason to play through {*Grandia} a second time.
~ Joe Ottoson, All Game Guide

Review: Documentation

Because {*Grandia} is a fairly sophisticated during battle sequences, the manual explicitly explains how the more advanced features work. It's also colorfully designed and well-written with some hints in the back.
~ Joe Ottoson, All Game Guide

Production Credits

Produced and Published by: Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. ; Producer: Misa Usui ; Senior Producer: Perry Rodgers ; Product Marketing Director: Ami Blaire ; Product Marketing Specialist: Nemer Velasquez ; Public Relations: Molly Smith, Kirsten Merit ; Creative Services Manager: Ronald Zaragoza ; Dialogue Recording: Buzz Burrowes ; Legal and Intellectual Property: Riley Russell, Lisa Lunger, Kerry Hopkins, Michelle Manahan ; Director of Quality Assurance: Mark Pentek ; Technical Coordinator: Neil Musser, Sam Thompson ; QA Supervisor: Chris Caprio, Bruce Cochrane, Charles Delay ; QA Lead Analyst: Conner Morlang ; Assistant Lead Analysts: Jody Fama, Corey Strock ; Analysts: Jack Osorno, Greg Phillips, Marta Khosraw, Andrew Woodworth, Allan Tablante, Vernon Carter, James Hong, Ben Wisyanski, Jo Aragones, Lee Toland, Ryan Schleef, Scotte Kramer, Maria Valladares, Stephanie Bein, Pete Mayberry, Tim Duzmal, Henry Macarian ; Translation: Alan Siegrist, Fredrick Harriman, Roger Rapp, Bruce Talbot ; Translation Support: David Lakritz, Language Automation, Inc. ; VOICE ACTORS Feena, Lilly: Angela Anderson ; Sue, Saki: Blaney R. Aikman ; Liete, Milda: Sharon Coleman ; Leen: Nicole Weiss ; Mullen: Tim Bosley ; Baal, Guido: Scott Beers ; Rapp: John W. ; Nicky, Boy: Anthony Garcia Jr. ; Mio: Christal Garcia ; Nana: Maria Hernandez ; Created and Developed by: Game Arts Co., Ltd. ; Executive Directors: Takeshi Miyaji, Toshiaki Hontani ; Director: Hidenobu Takahashi ; System Designer: Hiroyuki Koyama ; Main Programmer: Kazuto Kawahira ; Battle Programmer: Dai Okada ; Original Main Programmer: Kazuyuki Ohata ; Game Scenario Writer: Takahiro Hasebe ; Character Designers: Takuhito Kusanagi, Hiroaki Oue ; World Designers: Osamu Kobayashi, Kouichi Noda ; Animator: Sadami Morikawa ; Composer: Noriyuki Iwadare ; LOCALIZATION STAFF Programmers: Kazuto Kawahira, Dai Okada ; Graphic Artists: Kentaro Yokokawa, Koji Katoh, Masahikko Ikeya ; Character Illustrator: Toshiaki Hontani ; Music: Ari Kamijyo, Yutaka Iraha ; Movie: Satoshi Yoshida ; QA Analysts: Hisashi Kato, Junichi Ota, Yuichi Kikuchi, Kazue Sudoh, Yuki Yamada ; Production Manager: Hiroyuki Koyama ; Release Coordinators: ESP Inc., Keitaro Numata, Kumi Akatsuka ; Production Manager: Kotaro Hayashida ; Executive Producer: Localization and Development (U.S. and Japan): Yoichi Miyaji ; Design Group: Katherine Lee, Beeline Group Inc. ; Special Thanks: Kaz Hirai, Andrew House, Jack Tretton, Andrew Adams, Janeen Andersen, Donna Armentor, Shelley Ashitomi, Linda Barbane, Gary Barth, Josh Bingham, Kurtis Buckmaster, John Diamonon, Brain Dimick, Allan Drummer, Aimee Duell, Emily Franks, Peggy Gallagher, Bruce Adams, Lynda Vaitai, Joni Toney, Shelly Gayner, Brian Hale, Jessi Lacson, Eric Ladenburg, Marie Macaspac, Colin MacLean, Frank O'Malley, Dayton Paiva, Joel Pambid, Quinn Pham, George Richard, Poppe-Tyson, Rapp-Collins, Eileen Rodriguez, Maggie Rojas, Sharon Shapiro, Kevin Tanimoto, Denise Taylor, TBWA, Chiat Day, Sean Thomas, Michelle Vercelli, Marilyn Weyant, Kim Yuen
~ Joe Lamb, All Game Guide

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