Grandia II - Retroview

A second serving of Grandia

By: Cidsa

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 7
   Interface 8
   Music/Sound 8
   Originality 5
   Plot 6
   Localization 7
   Replay Value 4
   Visuals 7
   Difficulty Average
   Time to Complete

20-55 Hours


Grandia II

   Grandia II is the PS2 sequel to 'Grandia' on the PS1 and Sega Saturn. While it's not a direct sequel as both stories do not coincide with each other, many locales and characters are still within this game.

   The battle system is almost identical to the first game. There is a small meter at the bottom of the screen which tells you when you and the monsters get to attack. Depending on your character's stats, your icon will go slower or faster up the meter. Once it is your characters turn to attack their menu will pop up, allowing you to choose between attacking, magic, skills and items. Generally items will be used almost immediately, while lower-level magic will take a few seconds to cast. When you attack your character has to run up to the enemy and hit them. But if your character is hit hard enough their attack/magic/skill will be cancelled, having your icon slide all the way back down. This cancellation can be very annoying, especially when you are at a lower level and your meter is very slow. Magic and skills can be powered up using skill points. There are five levels a skill/magic can be at. Once you power it up to level 5, you cannot go any higher. There are also special abilities that can be powered up, such as item use. This skill makes your character use items much faster. Oh yes and there are NO random encounters! Enemies you fight will be wandering around on screen, sometimes you can avoid them, and sometimes you cannot.

   The menus were extremely simple and easy to grasp. One thing that I didn't notice was skills. You cannot power up magic/skills until you have a book and/or a magic gem. These items allow you to distribute your points into magic/skills/abilities. The AI menu was a little tricky to handle so I just left it alone, I don't think it's incredibly important.

Deep fried goodness!
Deep fried goodness!  

   The music in the game was quite good. While some dungeon tracks were repeated quite frequently, they weren't enough to really make me want to turn off the sound. I found myself really liking the songs that Elena sung throughout. The sounds were good, but nothing incredibly special. What really shone was the voice acting. While many games are plagued with terrible voice acting, Grandia II was not. The voice actors were very convincing and really got you into the game. While I still can't hear what Elena says during her 'White Holy' (or something like that ;) attack, the acting does not suffer.

   The originality of this game is very low. It's the basic hero saves the world from big bad guy, with a bit of a twist since the 'big bad guy' is actually a god. The plot was a fairly basic 'good against evil' type of thing. While there were some interesting little things within, the overall plot was not that exciting.

   This game has a perfect translation but some of the dialogue seemed uninspired and stiff. The replay value on this game is very low. Basically if you've beaten it once there is not much more to bring you back again. There are no secret characters, no real good items, and no subplots. This game is very straightforward and linear. So replaying it might not be very fun.

It's a Carro, the cutest little guy ever!
It's a Carro, the cutest little guy ever!  

   The visuals in this game were stunning for it's time, but may seem a little dated now. The blocky characters and the somewhat uninspired maps can be a turn off for many gamers. But if you look past this, you will find that some areas are very detailed and beautiful. Also the spells within battles are breathtaking. They look like they would actually hurt the enemies. My favorite would be Millenia's attacks, which are so painful looking it almost makes your stomach turn.

This game is fairly simple and can be finished really quickly. Now, if you explore the dungeons in their entirety, this game will go on much longer. Some bosses are fairly challenging, but once you gain a few levels you can defeat it no problem. So if you are having trouble, you gain 2 or 3 levels and it's a breeze. This will make it simple for experience RPG players to just rip right through.

While not a perfect game, this game is definitely enjoyable. I really felt for the characters and I wanted to finish it. So even though it has very little in replay value, I would still highly recommend this game to anyone who is looking for a simple, fun RPG.

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