Grandia II

Title: Grandia 2
Platform: Playstation 2 (re-released, originally for Dreamcast)
Developer/Publisher: Game Arts/Ubi Soft
Type: RPG

Overall score: 77%
Short Synopsis: A few weak points, with several very strong points, with a kick-ass combat engine. Definitely a must-try game, for casual or hardcore RPG players alike.

Graphics - 7
Definitely an improvement over the first title in the series, with most of the attention having gone towards the battle system, which is both smoother and better-looking. Outside of battle, the map screen looks respectable, but the polygon count and less-than-stellar graphics engine makes for some pretty bad lag when walking around in cities.

Sound - 8
Background music is fairly good, having some very good and some not-so-good tracks throughout the game. The voice-acting is considerably better, especially in battle, with each character having a surprisingly wide range of vocal tracks. The game is fairly long, but it'll take you a while to grow tired of Millenia yelling "Deep Fried Chicken!" as a prelude to a lightning spell.

Gameplay - 9
This where this game (and any other games in the Grandia series) really shines. If you've played the original Grandia, suffice to say that the battle system is the same, except faster, smoother, better looking, and better sounding.

If you're new to Grandia, the battle system is an active-time, turn-based system like most regular RPG's from FF4 and up. The difference is that it relies heavily on relative position to allow for a variety of area attacks, as well as evading and rushing. Additionally, timing strategy can be used to either keep opponents off-balance or to actually cancel out their attempt to attack you. In a nutshell, it's a thoroughly enjoyable dynamic system, and it's been getting critical acclaim from the day it came out.

The only thing keep me from giving this aspect a '10' is the fact that the battle system's innovation doesn't seem to extend to the rest of the game, which follows standard RPG conventions around towns, etc.

Plot - 7

While RPG's in Japan have been getting a lot of mileage from borrowing off Western religions, it should be noted that Grandia 2 was actually one of the earlier to jump on the band wagon. So if you should find yourself beginning to yawn at some terribly predictable plot developments, cut the game a little slack in this department. It's not actually a bad plot, but it would probably sink without the help of the game's characters.

Characters - 9

On the plus side, the characters themselves do a lot to make up for the plot's shortcomings. For the most part, they're a balance of popular archetypes, but with enough variety to keep things interesting. For example, while Mareg is your standard "big, strong, slower-moving fighter with an axe" character, he also shows himself to be the wisest of the gang. Overall, the characterization and dialogue, coupled with the above-par voice acting, are a big plus for this game.

Replay value - 6

The game is quite good, but a very linear plot progression, coupled with a lack of end-game bonus quests, makes for a fairly weak replay value. But don't let that stop you from getting the game... by the time you've beaten it, you'll have other games to try, right?

Intrasonic's Reviews
Grandia II Reviews

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