Wednesday, June 03, 2015

replaying the Grandia Trilogy

I got really excited when Grandia 2 was released on PSN last year. I kept my fingers crossed that 3 would be released as well and it gave me the excuse to go back and revisit my favourite RPG series. So I replayed 2 first, followed by 3 and left the best for last which I finished last week.


- This was the first time I could finally read the dialogue since I finished the Saturn version many year ago but I still could remember so many great moments. Its kind of like listening to a song that you knew very well but finally discovering what the lyrics meant.

- I think what takes Grandia from a good to classic RPG is Justin's relationship with Sue. They are childhood friends but Sue is not there to call Justin oniichan and play the loli harem character. They are really friends and  Sue is there to represent Justin's childhood that he must leave behind to grow up. She is what makes Justin's adventure seeking innocence work. No other RPG has managed to capture that pure sense of adventure and wonder for me as well as Grandia.

- The story is so generic but the execution is so perfect that when characters say the usual RPG lines, it works.

- Talking about great and beautiful moments, there's Justin and Sue leaving their city, climbing the end of the world (my favourite), Sue saying goodbye, Leen's sacrifice and the perfect ending.

- Graphics still look freaking amazing after so many years because of the 2D art. Even simple art like when they were overlooking the End of the World gave me goosebumps. A lot of slowdown for the PS1 port though ( I replayed it on my Vita). I would definitely like to replay the Saturn version sometime down the line.

- The soundtrack is freaking amazing and its not just the theme song. There were so many times I went, "Wow, I had forgotten just how good the music was."

- Idaware Noriyuk is a freaking musical genius.

- If I have to describe Grandia succinctly, I would say its a very Ghibli-like RPG. What I wouldn't pay for a fully voiced version of Grandia.


- Gameart's attempt at a more mature RPG is still fun but the game looks very rough after so many years. It looks like a first gen Dreamcast game.

- Camera can be annoying at times.

- I love the god is actually a freaking alien and he is actually dead twist to the story.

- Elena is just a whiny bitch and Millenia is the fun character.

- This song never fails to give me goosebumps.

- I just feel the characters could have been fleshed out a lot more.

- Poor Mareg. :(


- Playing Grandia 3 straight after 2, I noticed how much smoother the graphics were.

- I quit the game halfway last time I played it and the story is as crappy as I remembered it. It's just so disjointed and barebones.

- I get that they were trying to capture the magic of the first Grandia with flying replacing adventuring and similar story beats like having to leave the cool mom except in this case the mom and pirate guy were more interesting than the main characters.

- However, the battle system is just too awesome. Why hasn't anyone tried to copy the juggle system. I love getting an enemy with a high enough HP (which doesn't happen often) so I can try to do get everyone involved in a combo.

- I could really feel and see the lack of time and budget on the title. Why did they have to spend money on that stupid English song? After playing so many low budget RPGs, I can recognise budgetary constraints and enjoyed the game for what it was.

- The music is still awesome though. Sometimes after a battle, I would just let the music play.


First off, rest in peace Miyaji Takeshi, director of the first two Grandias. Gungho (Puzzledora) now owns Gamearts. They've got more than enough money to fund a Grandia 4. Hopefully sales of Grandia 2 on steam might get them interested but I doubt it. Finally, I'm not going to touch Grandia Xtreme.


Edmund Yeo said...

Oh wow, I'm usually for your Jdrama recommendations, but i'm pleasantly surprised to see Grandia here. Grandia 1, along with Suikoden 1 and 2, Wild Arms 1, were some of my most enjoyable (non-FF related) PS1 RPG experiences. Played them when I was in early secondary school.

My memories of the entire game are vague, but definitely I remember most the interaction and relationship between the characters. Sue and Justin's relationship, the letter from Justin's mom, that quiet romantic moment between Justin and Feena, and the world exploration, they were so awe-inspiring.

Edmund Yeo said...

I have less fondness for Grandia 2.