For the last couple of years, the gamer has been craving an Rpg title that oozes with more depth and stunning features that make the Final Fantasy series look like a dud. Well I am not sure if Grandia 2 has done that, but it has proven a lot to others about DC titles! Mainly because it has excellent characters, moves and it will last you more than a few weekends! The plot is so original now that I think about it and there is a lot more to it rather than the whole end of the world scenario! Basically, Ryudo and his loyal friend (and bird) Skye roam the land for jobs. Yes they kill people for a living and most people think that they are total scum. But he doesn't care and just gets on with his life! He just finishes a job and travels through the woods to a near village for some well earned grub and a rest! Skye then notices a note neatly tied to a tree and Ryudo steps forward to read it. Weirdly enough, some churchgoers wants him to help them out while they travel to do a sacred mission. When he arrives, the priest tells him that he shall escort a girl named Elena, as she is the key for a holy ritual to go ahead. When he and Skye arrive there and some other girls are waiting they are told to wait outside, and after hours of waiting and hearing a scream, Ryudo rushes in. To find Elena being possessed by evil (Valmar) and to see all the other girls dead. So he gets Elena and dashes out. When they return to the priest he decides that Ryudo's job will carry on and that he must take Elena to a Cathedral and be her bodyguard. And so the journey begins. The main characters... Ryudo- The main character is the game. He has some very nifty moves, especially to cut down those enemies! A good leader and never really shows much emotion. Skye- A bird who is always willing to help out and he will perform a move with Ryudo too after a few hours. Elena- Possessed by the evil Valmar she is helpless and even tho
ugh she is a sister of holiness she cant fight the evil. She is very caring and good to all. The gameplay is very smooth and even when you have 3 other people following you it doesn't get annoying. The battles are very easy to get to grips with and even a rookie would kill the first few monsters with ease! The buttons are easy to function and you will understand easily how to upgrade things. You will love all the feels of this game so enjoy the ride! Sometimes you might get temporarily stuck but it is nothing to worry about! The graphics are cracking and anyone can see the sheer amount of effort stuck into this game by Ubi soft. Everything, from Characters to buildings or any scenery are carefully done and look great! The battle scenes are superb and some of the more enhanced moves or magic looks stunning. Anything from mountains to little spiders that crawl around look awesome! There aren't any glitches and you can’t complain about the camera because you function it yourself. What makes the game special? Well basically, all the normal RPG aspects that have been upgraded for this splendid title. One nice thing for lazier gamers is that you see the enemies’ running around and usually you can avoid them if you haven't go any hit points left. Also, you get powerups to use, which are lovely to watch! And then it is just like Final Fantasy. Of course the sound is another great thing that makes this a hit game. The speech is very good and All too easy to get caught up in if something exciting is goin' down! Then music in the battle screen is entertaining too but it just isn't the same as that retro stuff on FF. When characters are doing there moves or hitting a monster it sounds oh so realistic... Over all this game is a Brilliant sequel to the Psx version and any action or RPG fan will lap this game up like a dog that just ran through a desert. The sound, gameplay and graphics all fit t
ogether nicely to make this a smash hit! So I say... Go get it! I give it 92% Cheers T_W
I may have mentioned previously on Dooyoo that the original Grandia is one of my favourite games ever. Well, okay, I have definitely mentioned that Grandia was one of my favourite games previously on Dooyoo, and frequently at that. I find it hard not to, Grandia was a very likable game. When Grandia 2 was announced for Dreamcast it became obvious that I had to own the console. Then came the waiting, the painful, painful waiting. All the screenshots and material coming out of Japan was looking fabulous, but after release the stories started coming in about substandard writing and a dull storyline. Still, my enthusiasm didn’t waver, and I’m glad I didn’t listen to all those early reports. Grandia 2 is set many, many years after a great war between two godlike figures, the god of light Granas, and the god of darkness Valmar. The war ended when Granas brought his mighty sword, the Granasabre, down onto Valmar, creating a great valley splitting the world in two and cutting Valmar into several pieces. The pieces of Valmar were then sealed at many locations over the world, and entrusted over the years to the Church of Granas, the order created by the gods’ followers. Ryudo is a ‘Geohound’, basically a bounty hunter. He uses his highly tuned sword skills to earn a living, living alone with his talking bird Skye. Ryudo seems unusually keen to promote the image of a Geohound as someone you wouldn’t want to know, an uncaring and violent man who likes nothing more than to fight and eat children. Still, this is far from the truth, and whilst massively cynical about everything (and equally sarcastic), Ryudo upholds a personal sense of honour. Elena, on the other hand, is a Songstress of Granas. Deeply religious, Elena follows the followings of Granas devoutly and somewhat blindly, frequently going out of her way to help others. Unaware of what happens in the world outside her village, Elena is unsurprisingly com
pletely naive. Wouldn’t it be fun to put these two together? Ryudo is hired by the local Church of Granas to escort Elena to a ceremony in a nearby tower, much to Elena’s annoyance. This would, of course, be a rather dull premise for a game in itself, and so the predictable happens – the ceremony goes wrong, and everyone from the Granas church bar Elena bites the dust. Elena, however, manages to get herself possessed by the ‘Wings of Valmar’, which the ceremony was intended to seal. Possessed by the force which will slowly erode her soul, only leaving any latent desires present inside her in a form which will destroy others around her, Ryudo is then asked to escort her to see the pope, the head of the Church of Granas in the hope the wings can be removed. Only having two characters to play would be a bit dull, so soon afterwards they introduce Millennia. Millennia is the polar opposite of Elena – loud, brash, arrogant and short-tempered. Before you can exclaim ‘Love Triangle HO!!!’ she takes an immediate liking to Ryudo, which sets up much of the games dramatic tension. There are several other playable characters as well. Mareg (Gadwyn from the original Grandia in all but name) is a beast man looking for the man who destroyed his hometown. Roan is the young prince of a powerful nation who runs away, afraid that his father is being manipulated into a rash course of action, whilst Tio is an android who finds herself redundant, as she was created to fight alongside Valmar in the great war, has to come to terms with herself having only been awakened many years after the war has ended – the traditional Pinocchio character basically. The characterization in Grandia 2 is pretty good. Some will be pleased to know that it isn’t as upbeat and cheerful as the original Grandia. The characters are admittedly based on highly specific stereotypes, but playing as Ryudo is a brea
th of fresh air after playing all the introverted types in games like the recent Final Fantasy titles. It is helped massively by some of the best versioning outside of a Working Designs title, which results in some highly readable and entertaining dialogue. The occasional voice acting present in the game is also of a high standard, although Ryudo’s voice did cause me to do a double take initially. A quick search led me to discover that the voice actor in question – Cam Clarke – was Liquid Snake in Metal Gear Solid. That wasn’t the place I recognized it from however, it turns out that he was also Leonardo in the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles cartoon show. Its nice to see that they hired such experienced voice actors in a genre that often reeks in that area – the original Grandia in particular had truly dreadful voice acting in the English version. The story isn’t half as bad as some have suggested but it does have its problems. The main thing I can identify is the lack of an omnipresent villain of sorts. Much of the game revolves around people being possessed by parts of Valmar, which doesn’t typically make them evil, only inadvertently causing misery for those around them. In itself it isn’t enough to drive the game effectively. The only really evil characters only come into play for such short sections of the game that they prove to ineffective, and often their acts of nastiness are too far into the past, or come into play for too short a length of time, that they don’t work too well in building up any kind of drama. The other problem is that the story just seems too focused – there is little in the way of side plotting present in the game, or bonus dungeons for that matter. The basic plot, whilst entertaining and fairly strong in my opinion, is perhaps not enough for many who will find the straightforward nature of the proceedings to be a little dull. Come to think of it, Gamearts own RPG
title Lunar: Eternal Blue covers much of the same ground, but in a superior fashion. Grandia 2 proves so focused that you can’t actually revisit previous areas unless there is a specific reason for you to be there. Whilst this was true of the original Grandia (which, to be fair, lacked any real kind of focus until its final act), Grandia moved at a pace which often made it unfeasible in physical terms, whereas much of Grandia 2 takes place on the one continent. It doesn’t really relate back to the original Grandia much. It takes place in a whole different universe to the original game, so don’t expect any cameos or to revisit any previous locations. As you approach the end of the game, you will slow begin to realize that there are some very obvious similarities in the storylines shared between the two games however. The combat engine, mercifully, is basically a highly polished version of that from the original Grandia with a few tweaks here and there. All the characters in the combat arena (ally or foe) is represented on a time gauge which builds towards the end. Two-thirds along the gauge you get the opportunity to choose an attack to perform, your competence with which affects the rate at which the final section of the gauge will pass (at which point the move will be executed). Moves are split into a few different types – Combo, Critical, Special and Magic. Combo causes multiple weak strikes to be inflicted on the opponent. Critical is a single hard blow that has the special effect of moving the opponent back down the time gauge (more so if they are in the final stage of executing a move). Specials are attacks unique to a specific character, and require Special Points to pull off. Specials have special characteristics (every character has one which ‘cancels’ like a Critical strike, some hit multiple opponents, etc), and cause far more damage than normal attacks. Magic is provided by equipping a special
piece of equipment – a Mana Egg – which allows the user to perform a number of different magic attacks. Magic uses Magic Points, and like Specials they have special characteristics. Experience is a little different in Grandia 2 than in the original Grandia. In Grandia you gained new magic and special attacks by gaining experience-using attacks of the same type – using fire spells would gain you new fire spells for example, whilst repeated using attacks will increase your proficiency at using an attack. In Grandia 2 winning battles gains you ‘Special’ coins and ‘Magic’ coins. The Special and Magic coins can then be spent on learning extra special techniques, or on magic spells. I preferred the method in the original Grandia to be honest, where all experience was in real-time throughout a battle – you could gain new techniques whilst battling a boss for example. Still, for those with less patience this should prove better, and the underlying combat engine is still the best in any RPG series. Visually the game is very nice as well. The town and dungeon locations are entirely in real-time 3D, as are the characters. Combined with high-resolution textures, and the Dreamcasts natural high screen resolution, it looks great. Character animation initially looks a little stiff, but it loosens up as the game goes on. The amount of detail character models retain is fairly remarkable – particularly in the rare occasions you get to see them right up close. Millennia’s clothing, for example, has a very high level of detail. The design of the surrounding areas is also impressive, as it the level of detail it displays. Considering the size of some of the town areas this is particularly impressive. One interesting visual choice made is that certain special and magic attacks use FMV overlaid onto the polygonal battlefields. This looks fairly seamless, thanks to the use of transparency effects, and o
bviously the results are great looking. The one problem with this is that the attacks will always look identical – it leaves no room for changes in camera angle for example. In all, Grandia 2 is a great game. I admit that I did enjoy this more than I did Squares recent (and great, admittedly) Final Fantasy 9, but I doubt its everyone’s kettle of fish. Personally, I recommend it.
I've played quite a few RPGs in my time, and this ranks up there as one of the best. The battle system is innovative and interesting - you can really speed up the battles by a little bit of planning. You need to be aware of your charcters' positions relative to the enemies, and also be aware of how fast everyone is. It's a little tricky to start with, but after a bit of practice it's almost automatic. There's something very satisfying about quickly finishing a battle without even being hit - you can achieve this by cancelling enemy attacks by using a "Critical" attack of your own. The magic and special moves are pretty damn good, but not as spectacular as the ones in Final Fantasy 9. Still, they're interesting to watch. There are some puzzles, but they're very simple. You're very unlikely to get stuck (unlike in Zelda - Ocinara of Time!). In general, the graphics are as you'd expect from the DreamCast - spectacular. The town designs are particularly pleasing to the eye - great imagination and detail. Each town has its own particular style, and it's actually worth hanging around in the rooms just looking at the decorations! The inside of the cathedral is particularly magnificent. The monster designs are not particularly diverse. But this doesn't matter too much because you'll need to tackle the different monsters differently. If there were loads of different monsters then it'd get too hard to try and remember the best way to kill them all! One flaw in the game is that there are save points within easy reach most of the time. This means you can easily win battles by using powerful special moves, and then "recover" your characters with just a short walk back to the last save point. The only time you're really in danger of dieing is on the bosses, but even then you'll always be OK unless you decide to never heal yourself! Puttin
g your levels up is often tedious in RPGs, but in Grandia 2 you can upgrade your moves, spells and skills after almost every fight. This is strangely addictive, and keeps you really interested in the advancement of your characters. Don't worry, there isn't much danger of your characters becoming super-hard too quickly though. There are loads of stats if you're into that sort of thing, but you don't really need to pay much attention to them. It's fun experimenting though - if you REALLY boost a character's speed, they really sprint around the battles! There are lots and lots of items to collect too, some with really interesting and useful effects. Once you've completed a large portion of the game, you can't go back there again. This is slightly frustrating because the later monsters do not give you as much experience etc as you would expect. Plus, if you just rushed through an area, you won't get a chance to go back and see what you may have missed. However, this has a great plus point in that you don't have to wander around talking to "old" characters, only to find out they still say the same thing as they did 10 hours ago. The interaction between the non-player characters and your characters is really well-detailed and thought-out. The inhabitants of the towns tend to keep things pretty interesting, and if you talk to them more than once will often reveal lots of interesting info which really helps to flesh-out the game world and make it more believable. The story is loosely based on the classic good vs evil line. But it is really well-detailed and interesting, with lots of novel ideas and plot twists. The characters are really well designed (with the exception of Tio, a boring andriod) and believable. You can really get drawn into the way they're feeling... but I know - it's only a game!!! Of course, the characters don't have THAT much depth to them, but they
have more than in your average RPG. A really good plus point for me is the main character's sarcasm and harshness to everyone else. He really made me laugh at some points! Another plus point is the speech in the game - all in American English unfortunately. There still is a lot of text to read - not that I'm averse to reading - it's just that the speech adds an extra dimension to the realism of the game. My personal preference for is for Japanese speech/soundtrack with English subtitles. I have to say though, in this game the translation is done very well - but I can't help wondering what was left out or changed from the Japanese version... I think I've mentioned just about all the notable points in the game. If there's something you're wondering about, but I haven't mentioned it, then just assume that it's like most other RPGs! To summarise, this is just about the best RPG I've ever played, but it's just a tad too easy for my liking. Buy it even if you don't normally like this sort of game, it might just convert you.
As the first big RPG available on Dreamcast I was intrigued by Grandia 2. Not usually a fan of the traditional RPG, I thought i'd give this one a go. Was I pleased i'd spent £40 on Grandia? Hell, yes! From the opening sequence it was utterly absorbing and one of the most addictive games i've ever played. After hearing the battle system was the games redeeming feature, I can safely say it's no lie. It makes battle after battle fun, and earning experience points for your party is one of the most rewarding features a game can produce. The battle system remains from the original Grandia on the Saturn and is marvelous. Instead of a boring turn-based affair, the system works along a time bar where all the characters involved in battle are situated. When a character reaches the 'command' line the game pauses and allows the player to select from many options. The main moves are the 'combo' and the 'critical' which can do a fair amount of damage depending on the timimng of the attack. The real meat of the game is where your characters can learn magic and special moves which can do severe amounts of damage, again depending on timing and also the enemy. Some attacks work better against different opponents. The small area between the 'command' and 'action' point on the time bar is where tactical battling can come into play. If an enemy is 'charging' it's move after it's command and your character connects then 'cancels' can be achieved. Get that? It sound complicated but it's really not and it's a great feeling when you cancel an enemy attack at a crucial point during battle. All this means that while decent battles can be had using regular attacks, more advanced tactics can also be used to completely outclass your opponents.Dont think they'll go easy on you though. . . There are no complaints about graphics, all the characters, backgrounds and
attacks are all very highly detailed. O.k, a small complaint, the cartoony look of the characters can sometimes numb the emotion on a story that is based heavily on it's story. Sound wise, everything is. . .sound. Sword swings, clashes, explosions and fire effects all sound very realistic and meaty. This adds to the atmosphere during battles and hearing your character connect to wipe out the final enemy is very rewarding. As longevity goes, i've been playing for 30 hours and have no idea how long is left. The amazing thing about this game is how it keeps your attention, the plot twists, characters develop, learning new moves and magic, and while it's linear structure seems boring, you wont want to put that controloler down. So for those who don't use their Dreamcast for on-line functions and cant get the most out of Phantasy Star On-line, this is very highly recommended. Just make sure you have some free time.