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Working Designs has given us a couple of options this time with the regular set of games going for $50 and their big collector's package (watch, soundtrack, etc.) going for $90. This is quite possibly my favorite RPG(s) this generation. If you are not a fan of RPGs or strategy games, then there's nothing here that will break that trend. But, if you are remotely interested in the genre, this comes with my highest recommendation.
Faults aside, Growlanser Generations offers a good 30+ hours of entertainment the first time through and many additional hours for those players who want to discover all of the many secrets and see the various endings. Working Designs did an excellent job of localizing the game, not only providing a quality translation, good voice acting, and an informative full color manual, but also adding new options like the ability to mute out individual characters’ battle cries if they get too annoying and the ability to use the L & R buttons as shortcut keys in battle for quicker gameplay. Hopefully, they'll translate future games in the series; Growlanser is a series worth playing.
Taken together, however, Growlanser Generations is great fun and can offer diehard role-players anywhere from 60-100 hours of entertainment. Even better is the fact that it maintains a rather unique feel when compared to the rest of the games in the genre and makes us wish that somebody somewhere will bring the first and fourth installments of Growlanser to our shores rather soon. Mastiff, Atlus, and Working Designs, I'm looking at you.
Fans of role-playing games rarely get as good a deal as this package offers--two full-length tactical RPGs with branching paths, numerous side quests, and tons of content for the price of a single game. The fact that these games have some years on them shouldn't deter fans from giving this package a try, as it features two great titles whose gameplay remains entertaining.
So, these girls aren't lookers, but at least they have it where it counts. The ring weapons are a joy to wield and customize. The combat mechanics bring a bit of originality to a genre that's gone a bit stagnant. Each game on its own would rate in the 3-star range (Growlanser III is probably a 3.5), so giving the whole package a 4-star rating is not out of line by any stretch. As good as Nippon Ichi's games are -- and I'm as big a fan of them as anyone -- it's nice to see a little competition.
Growlanser: Generations is a great package when all is said and done. The gameplay is great and with two games for the price of one, Growlanser brings countless hours of strategy RPG fun. Any fan of the ‘old school' or strategy should definitely check this one out. And for hard-core collectors, there is also a special edition of the game with extra goodies for around $90USD ($40 more than the standard edition).
Until "The Sense of Justice" is sold separately, I would wait until the package goes down in price before buying it. An expensive game doesn't seem so pricey if it's good, but it seems even MORE expensive if it's bad. You'll get both feelings with the Growlanser: Generation experience.
These games are much too late to receive any real critical raves, but the fact remains that you get a lot of game in Growlanser Generations. Since the two titles are so blatantly similar, it's like getting twice the play value in a single package -- a generation's worth, you might say -- and it's better than paying full price for each. Conversely, it's all too possible that some players will get severe deja vu and barely bother with the other game. If you don't see yourself getting tired of 2D SRPGs with an RTS twist (and perhaps other abbreviations), Growlanser's got your number.
Looking at the big picture, Growlanser Generations has a lot to offer to both Tactical RPGs and traditional RPG fans. While players might be upset at the shortness of Growlanser II, the quality level and replay ability is very high. It is just short enough that it seems like no big deal to replay through several times trying for all the different ending. It cuts through all the bull and delivers a very solid TRPG experience. Those upset with the linearity of Growlanser II should be appeased by Growlanser III. Both games offer several different endings and have unlockable extras consisting of bloopers and artwork. The addition of the game+ mode where you get to keep all your rings and gems makes it worth while to play though many times.