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Publisher: Sony
Category: Role-Playing
Platform: PS1
ESRB Rating: Everyone    Release Date: October 1999

Overall Rating: 2 Stars out of 4

Review by Tom Allen
2 Stars out of 4

Grandia is not an instant love. The graphics in the beginning are a real turn-off, but if you stick with it, you'll find that the graphics and the overall game improve significantly.

Make sure you're at level 3 or 4 to fight Boss Two, the Orc King. After defeating him and venturing to the New World via ship, the game will really start to grow on you… but not until then.

While we commend Sony for releasing this popular 70-hour quest, we wish the game could have received the facelift that Lunar: Silver Star Story enjoyed.

Grandia one-ups Final Fantasy 8 by including voice-overs for some of the cut scenes, but unfortunately, not all text is voiced. The voice-overs that do exist are mediocre at best.

The experience is so much better when text is spoken. You become more involved in the game; you don't have to strain your eyes. Children can learn how to read by both seeing and hearing the printed word. Alas, the game's strong opening voice-overs set you up for disappointment. You think all the text will be narrated, but you're wrong.

The story is character-driven as opposed to plot-driven… always a good thing… but some scenarios offer illogical triggers. For example, you have to talk to Gantz a second time to stop his brother from running away from you, even though the two events have nothing to do with each other. Since when does A cause C? What ever happened to B?

Granted, this kind of scanario writing is nothing new for RPG's, but I thought the genre was moving away from this unnatural style.

On another note, the overhead angle is a little too high, resulting in a flat, closed-in feeling that makes it difficult to see important items. You will notice this especially when walking on paths. While you don't necessarily have to see the horizon line, a more oblique angle would have been appreciated. Otherwise it's like looking down at your shoes while you walk.

Luckily, you won't do much walking outside of dungeons. The game doesn't have an overworld. Instead, you point to where you want to go on the map, and boom, you're there. Now that's a great feature.

The battle screen uses an IP gauge which lets you see when attacks are coming so you can counter quickly with a critical attack. You and the enemy can attack at the same time under this system. This is one of the game's more unique features.

Grandia may not be revolutionary, but it does provide a high degree of satisfaction. The first two hours suck, but then it's smooth sailing. The few anime-style FMV sequences serve as intermittent rewards.

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