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SummaryThe Grand sequel to the 32-bit killer rpg!
The GoodThe Dreamcast had two killer app rpg’s. Whilst Grandia II was the more anticipated, Skies of Arcadia stole it’s lofty crown. This does not mean that Grandia II was not a very enjoyable game. The sequel to the oft considered best 32-bit rpg, Grandia II had a large task ahead of it, it had to be as good as it’s prequel. Thankfully it is, and in some ways is better.
In Grandia II you play Ryudo, the 17 year old and already cynical Geohound. He has a new job to escort the wonderfully naïve songstress Elena to a ceremony to seal away the evil god Valmar, whom a millennium ago nearly destroyed the world. (Seriously does the estate of H.P. Lovecraft get paid for this?) Yes I know that it has been done, but to me clichéd plots are just a part of console rpgs like random encounters. Where Grandia II excels is the way the story unfolds, and the cast of interesting characters. There is besides the two already mentioned Millenia, the leather clad, sexy woman who happens to have the hots for Ryudo. Roan, the runaway Prince. Mareg the beast man with a heart of gold. And the only character I did not find interesting, Tio, the automaton that may have more in common with humans than she suspects. Anyhow the story is well paced, and no parts feel like the “filler” you often get in these type of games.
Graphically, this is simply one of the best looking DC games, and one of the best in general. There are PS2 games that do not look this good, including oddly enough Grandia II! The villages and mazes are all very colorful. And each village has a unique design. I hate when rpgs have all there towns look alike, Grandia II does not fail here. The characters are super deformed but still look decent, and there is tons of detail in there clothing. The magic and special attacks all look spectacular, some use FMV for optimum eye candy.
The soundtrack is excellent. As are the sound effects particularly the voice work. It is refreshing to find a Japanese that has good English voice overs. If only the entire game was in voice. The music is all good, and tends to fit the situations. And the American version of the game included a soundtrack sampler, sweet!
The gameplay is unique. From the awesome battle system, to traveling the world map. On the world map, you travel the individual areas instead of just running across and empty space. This helps make the world more convincing. The battle system is intact from the original game, and if any thing flows better. You take turns using a bar that shows when your group gets to attack as well as the enemies. So unlike most console rpg’s you can employ strategy to cancel or destroy enemies before they can even take their turn. This is very useful during boss fights. Gone is the awkward Spell/Move level up system from the original. In Grandia II your party acquires Special/Magic coins that are spent to learn new abilities. Furthermore you can equip Skill/Magic books that can boost your weaker stats.
The BadGrandia II is a tad on the short side. About 25-30 hours. Whilst the original was about 60-70.