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Grandia III is a marvelous game with a few minor flaws that don't really kill the experience. With a lovable cast, mouth-watering graphics, and an innovative battle system, Grandia III is an excellent addition to any RPG aficionado's collection. The only bad part is you have to wait six months. Ouch. That was definitely below the belt.
Grandia III's beauty never ceases to amaze, but above all, this game just grips you with its winsome storytelling. There are plenty of great stories in role-playing games, but few have as much personality as Grandia III.
"Someday I'll leave this village and fly over the sea, all the way to the mainland," dreams Yuki, a young aspiring pilot. Growing up he saw films of the great Sky Captain Schmidt, a master pilot who spent his life befriending clouds. Winning races, helping those in need, rescuing princesses from burning buildings – the lifestyle Sky Captain Schmidt had was too good for Yuki to resist. He wanted to have that same kind of excitement, and be remembered by all as a true hero.
The game essentially follows protagonist Yuki's maturation from a kid with a dream into a bold, world-saving hero. More so than in most games, in Grandia III the scope of the conflict and storyline is constantly widening. At first nothing concerns Yuki other than the construction of a plane that can fly over the ocean. Then, he and his mother Miranda decide they're responsible for getting Alfina over the ocean so she can return to Arcriff. Along the way they put some effort into making sure Yuki can meet, and get a plane from, his hero Sky Captain Schmidt. Suddenly Yuki decides he wants to escort Alfina back to Arcriff himself, and so he bids his mother and her new boyfriend Alonso good-bye so he can strike out on his own. Arcriff gets destroyed by the machinations of the villains, so Yuki stays around to help Alfina set things right.
Don't misunderstand me; Grandia III is an incredibly fun, enjoyable game. I know, however, that GameArts is a much more capable developer than what they demonstrate through their latest release in the series. Perhaps the simultaneous development of Grandia III and Lunar: Genesis (Dragon Song) was overbearing, for both games could not live up to their full potential. Grandia III is a squarely above-average title; it does nothing groundbreaking, but definitely deserves your attention, if for nothing more than the incredible lineage of role-playing games from which it descends.
Still, you can be frustrated by Grandia III one minute, and the next you could swear that it's pure genius. The game is easy to love in fair weather, and worth sticking with through the occasionally cloudy skies.
By now, most of us are seasoned RPG veterans. We know what works and we know what doesn't. Unfortunately, it seems like there have been a lot of titles that don't work too well -- a punishment for having more titles releasing for the genre these days. Coming out so soon after the holiday season, you may be skeptical that Grandia III can deliver the goods. Rest assured, it's well worth your time.
That's not to say that Grandia III isn't fun, despite the fact that it aligns pretty closely with many other examples of the genre. It starts off strong, with a pretty good setup for a story whose moral compass grows ever wider over the course of the game. It begins with the protagonist's conflict in microcosm: a personal, selfish desire like the kind all children have. Yuki wants to build an airplane and fly, like his idol, a famous pilot. But his mother thinks he's too young and won't let him try a record-breaking flight across the ocean. Rebellious Yuki tries it anyway, and that's when he gets pulled into the next wider arc of responsibility by his impulsive rescue, en route, of Alfina, an elfin girl. Looking after Alfina eventually draws him into a Miltonian war across the heavens, in which god is pitted against god and the fates of both the human world and the realm of the gods hang in the balance.
Graphically, Grandia III is a brightly colored and beautiful wonder, with lush environments and stunning cut-scenes that take full use of the aging PS2's potential. While the individual character designs might not be the most original or interesting, the superb anime style and clever monsters are sure to delight fans of the series. For the most part, the sound effects and voice acting are also excellent, but the soundtrack (which seems to combine elevator music with whimsical Japanese nonsense, and a dash of ear splitting Kelly Clarkson-ish pop) is aggravatingly cheesy to the determent of the otherwise decent adventure. The story also tends to forgo speech in favor of stale text reading segments in some parts, but the stellar cinemas compensate for these tiny dramatic droughts.
It's been a long wait between Grandia titles, but the latest in Game Arts' fan-favorite RPG series has finally arrived. The good news is that Grandia III retains the great gameplay that's been a hallmark of these games, with a fun and dynamic battle system that makes every encounter strategic and fresh. The bad news is that the story's a bit uninspired, and the game itself doesn't last very long. Despite that, the experience is still sustained well by its character interactions and enjoyable combat, and it's a nice option for role-playing fans looking for something unique.
How does it work? Well, if you've played 2002's Grandia Xtreme then you already know. Built almost identically to that system, Grandia III's combat revolves around two different circular interfaces that give you all the flexibility you need. The first tool, known as the IP gauge, uses facial icons for every onscreen character (both allied and enemy) and those are then used to illustrate which combatants have the initiative. Once a character's portrait moves into the "attack area" portion of the gauge (colored red), they can issue their command in a semi turn-based fashion and will carry it out once they've approached their target. But here's where the strategy comes in -- if a character is hit with a strong enough attack from an enemy before executing their own strike, it will cancel them out of whatever action they had planned (and their placement on the gauge is reset). Figuring out who to assault and who to defend against is very important with this kind of system.
Grandia III se révèle être un bon RPG qui aurait pu faire partie des meilleurs jeux de la console si la durée de vie avait été un peu plus conséquente et si la difficulté et la linéarité avaient été mieux dosées. Mais là où ce troisième épisode fait fort c'est bien sûr avec son système de combat qui a encore gagné en dynamisme. Fan de RPG ou de Grandia vous ne regretterez pas votre achat !
Many RPGs are known for epic stories, but Grandia? Grandia games have epic battle systems, and everything else is just so much decorative frosting. Such is the case with Grandia III, though that's not to say that the "everything else" is lacking in quality. Indeed, Grandia III is more charming than Grandia II and more mature than the 1997 original. It's a solid evolution of a good series of games, even though it's hurt a fair bit by a brief, bland plot, repetition, and other niggling issues.
Grandia III makes great strides in the magic and skill systems, and the battles are as exciting as ever. It’s just that the storyline is so disappointing that at times it is difficult to continue playing through the game. At the start of the second disc is a particularly mind-numbing excursion into another world where not only is everything boring, but the monsters give a pitiful amount of experience points so even the battles seem pointless during this lengthy stretch. The rest of the storyline after this point is so tepid that even though the game is "only" 35 long, I wished it was over at least five or ten hours sooner. It’s a shame that some of the finest RPG battles need to hold up such an uninteresting plot.
Grandia III can be an enjoyable trip for the 30 to 40 hours it takes to complete, as each battle is a joy even in the most boring of dungeons, but while the original Grandia II battled against roughly one other title on the Dreamcast and still came out second in most eyes, Grandia III has to compete on a system with dozens of other RPGs all vying for your money. Sadly, it doesn’t even come close to second best.
Well, if you’re down for what is admittedly quite a good combat system, you’ll dig what Grandia 3 is trying to do, assuming you’re willing to slog through the rest of the game to get at it. For those looking for the complete package, however, you’re not going to find it here. There are far better RPG’s out there in all possible aspects, which ultimately leaves very little reason for you to own this.