Growlanser II - Review

A generation of justice.
By: kupomogli

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 5
   Interaction 4
   Originality 5
   Story 3
   Music & Sound 3
   Visuals 3
   Challenge Moderate
   Completion Time 10 - 30 hours  

Mmmmmm.  Charlone. So beautiful.
Mmmmmm. Charlone. So beautiful.
Growlanser II

Being such a long time since Working Designs released their last title, comes again, the delays and everything we've come to know from the company, for a good cause of course, but now in the latest release of Growlanser Generations instead. This is going to be a review for only half the game of Growlanser Generations, Growlanser 2, which in turn will allow for a more in depth review at each game in the collection.

Countries are at war, and you control a young man named Wein Cruz, who wants to join the Burnstein army in order to become a knight, but more accurately, an Imperial Knight. The many amounts of choices you have throughout the game affect each piece of story and even though his goal in the game is to become an Imperial Knight, the choices you make could affect the game that you may not even become that. Having different choices, you'll lose characters, gain characters, end up fight altered or completely different battles, and a good amount of different endings on points that branch off.

At the start of the game, Wein's stat growth is based on your choices for both the oral exam and practice battle exam, where all the other characters have their preset stat growth. When characters level up, you're given a choice which in which skills, techniques, or magic you would like to level up, which gives you the choice in how each character is used. Other than that though, each character is completely different, as characters have different, ATW(attack wait,) movement, and their speed in casting spells or using Techs, which results in each character having to be used differently. The battles are also a mix between turnbased RPGs and real time strategy based games, as characters still have to wait before using abilities, but what you want the characters to do can be changed anytime throughout the battle, and as long as the action hasn't been performed, there will be no delay in the next chosen action.

When it comes to weapons, Growlanser 2 keeps it quite simple infact, as weapons are now in the form of rings which any character can equip, and each gives you a different temporary bonus to certain stats. Gems are accessories that give the characters a certain advantage, like raising attack power at the cost of damage, absorbing damage, longer ranges, and even spell effects from casting multiple spells at a time for the cost of a single spell, or the ability to cast every spell in the game(besides one.) Each weapon can only equip up to three gems, but it also depends on the level of each slot, ranging from 0-9, which determines the level of the gem that can be equipped, or even if a gem can be equipped in that slot at all.

The graphics are made up of very high quality pre-rendered 3d backgrounds and 2d backdrops(on very few occasions though,) and are extremely well done, but most(if not all) the random battles seem to reuse the same area for battle. Also well done is the music, and you'll like alot of it, but even though well done, it's all very short, as none of the ingame tracks go over a minute before they repeat. Another thing is there aren't very many tracks for the game, most being reused over and over in fact, in which an example would be the five battle themes, where most battles play atleast two or three, changing when the battle progresses. Voice acting also, with 7 hours of voice acting throughout the entire game(which can be turned off if you choose,) was mostly good, where it usually got annoying in battles as they used the same few lines per character, but during storyline, excellent.

Friends don't let friends get killed by a spiked wall, they use scythes or swords instead.
Friends don't let friends get killed by a spiked wall, they use scythes or swords instead.

Then for the translation, in which Working Designs did an excellent job. However, one thing I saw in the Extra option was inconsistent with what is found in the game, where one characters last name was used instead of his name, where in game his first name was shown throughout, where something like that isn't a problem at all, but if it is, it really shouldn't be.

Anyways, though, Growlanser 2 is excellent, and while it's not as good as games like Tactics Ogre or Arc the Lad 2, which are in the same genre, it's up there and I'd recommend Growlanser Generations just from my experience in playing this title alone, but seeing as you get another game as well, the recommendation is higher.

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