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Grandia II (Dreamcast) artwork

Grandia II (Dreamcast) review


"The second RPG to hit the Dreamcast is its most anticipated. Sporting impressive visuals and an epic scope, Grandia 2 proves to be, unfortunately, a rather underwhelming experience. In spite of that, Grandia 2 is still a must have for the DC owner. "



The second RPG to hit the Dreamcast is its most anticipated. Sporting impressive visuals and an epic scope, Grandia 2 proves to be, unfortunately, a rather underwhelming experience. In spite of that, Grandia 2 is still a must have for the DC owner.

The story is rather pedestrian: the cynical Ryudo is a Geohound- a sort of gruff despised group of bountyhunters that kill monsters and run missions for those who don't want to get their hands dirty. Along with his bird friend, Skye, Ryudo gets a job from a local town priest to escort Elena, a ''sister'' to Granas (the game's all-powerful, all loving God) to a nearby temple to perform an exorcism with fellow sisters to keep a seal closed to keep Valmar- the game's dark god devil- in his prison. All goes quickly awry, however, and Elena soon becomes possessed by Valmar, leading Ryudo to protect her on a trip to a papal state where she could get rid of Valmar through an ancient ceremony. Along the way the two will pick up a rich runaway and a beast warrior determind to destroy a killer and bandit named Malfice. This all leads to typical RPG story-telling- an epic battle between good and evil and redemption for some of our heroes.

Gameplay in Grandia 2 is somewhat complicated, but worthwhile. Battles are almost real-time. Enemies and your party move about finding a good postion while a meter in the righthand corner of the screen shows how far characters or foes are from a dash on the meter allowing them to prepare an attack. Between the point where they ready an attack and before they execute, the meter goes red. The period between these 2 can go fast if they perform a basic attack, but can be a bit slow when performing specials or casting spells.

There are two types of basic attacks- combos and criticals. Both play major roles. A combo is simply hitting the enemy twice- it is your basic attack. Criticals come in handy when attacking an enemy during the afore-mentioned meter. Criticals can cause ''cancels'' or ''counters'' to foes. A party member who pulls off a critical on an enemy at the first point on the meter can cancel the enemy's attack. Hitting them in the red can cause the same thing or act as a counter. This comes in handy aganist bosses about to perform a devestating move or spell. Enemies, though, can perform the same task.

Magic and Specials can also cause cancels and counters. Magic is learned through a system of Eggs- much like the original- were spells are learned on eggs and the eggs can be equipped and used by anyone. Specials are the party members own- they can't be shared. The ability to open up skills and spells come out of obtaining Special Coins and Magic Coins through battles. Moves, or enhancments on move and spells cost some much of either SC and MC. You can charge all moves or spells up to 5 stars. This allows techniques to be performed faster and have greater damage.

There are also books to be obtained that feature their own Specials and Magic but they are different in that they actually effect a character's stats. Specials and Magic are still obtained through SC and MC aquired in battle. Party members can equip up to 2 Specials or Magic from books.

It's complicated, but there is an effective tutorial offered by a character in all of the game's general stores.

Gameplay outside of battles is fairly straightforward. Gameplay is in a top-down perspective with a rotating camera. There is no zoom in or zoom out, unfortunately.

Graphics are goregous. Polygon models are beautifully done and well-textured. Grandia 2 marks a step forward to have 3-D graphics finally obtaining the true depth and look of sprite graphics in terms of color and design. Spell effects are elaborate and a bit long, but not too long.

The game uses the same voice talent as Metal Gear Solid- something Ubi Soft (the publisher) has been pounding into people- but only sparingly. The game features some CG cinemas that are rather grainy.

Grandia 2 is a very polished, well-done game with a straightforward, linear story. Grandia 2 serves more as an old-school throwback rather than epic groundbreaker. It seems to settle into the genre's traditional groove rather than bend the conventions of the genre like Skies of Arcadia. Grandia 2, though, is a must-have. If you can get both Skies of Arcadia and this, I recommend it. If you have to pick one I would say Skies of Arcadia, but that is up to whether you want something a bit avant-garde or something a bit old school.

Rating: 9/10

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