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Guest Review: Grandia, by Craig Hadley

September 14, 2012

Guest writer Craig Hadley chats about one of his favourite vintage games!

Originally released on the Sega Saturn back in 1997, and subsequently released for the Playstation in 2000, Grandia is a title from developers Game Arts that offered genuine competition to the Final Fantasy series by Square Enix (or Squaresoft as it was back then). This was the battle of the RPG’s.

Having been released between Final Fantasy VIII and IX, it exploited a gap in the market, with the now firmly established Ubisoft publishing the game in Europe. Perhaps many of you will not have heard of this particular title, but it is one of those hidden gems that everyone should play, especially if RPG’s are for you.

It can be noted that the game has been re-released on the PSN Store under its classics section for PS3 users; this speaks volumes for the quality of this game. It finally takes its rightful place alongside Final Fantasy in RPG history.

The opening cinematic sequence has a homely style to it: it did not go for the best software could offer by this time by any means, but it is welcoming, simple and effective.

 

 

The graphics are not the greatest, but if you can get past this, you will enjoy the story. In recent times you can argue that game makers have forgotten that it is more about the story than the graphics, and with Grandia, the story is firmly in your mind throughout.

The story begins with the character Sue as she is running around her hometown looking for her friend Justin, the protagonist of the game. Justin’s adventurous streak shines through from the start as his ‘quest’ to find mystical items ends with him getting caught looking through someone’s shed. The game of course isn’t in the mind of a deluded child, but is merely how it begins, with Justin wishing he could go on adventures while he remains firmly stuck at home under the watch of his other Lily (who does not like liars, you’ll see). Grandia details the adventures of Justin as him and his friends, who grow over his journey, seek the mystical land of Alent, the ancient city of knowledge.

 

 

The writers of the game deserve credit for what they have achieved with this title, as the stories progress over the two discs you begin to understand the sheer depth of work that went into it. It is therefore a shame to know that the writing team never exceeded what they achieved with Grandia, going on to several less successful sequels but never joining larger projects, which seems a bit of a waste when you see what they did with this game.

Grandia features weapons, items and magic as is the norm with these kinds of games. The one difference with Grandia is the way you are able to gain magical abilities. Magic can only be used once a character finds a ‘Mana Egg’, which are located over the course of the various maps through the game. The basic magic types are fire, water, earth and wind, with these overlapping to form other forms such as thunder (fire and water).

With many combinations of items, weapons and moves to earn or collect, you will find this game keeps you entertained long into the night.

With a journey just waiting for you, give this a chance. You won’t be disappointed.

Image Link: Wikipedia: Grandia

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