So, I just finished this game…Here’s my final opinion on the game:
Graphics: Fuckin’ amazing. I didn’t like them when I barely started the game, cos I was so used to the style of G2 and GXtreme, but I grew to like it quick. Nothing bad to say about this.
Music: I guess a lot of people don’t like this? I think it was typical Iwadare fare for the most part. What bothered me is that most of the battle themes were subpar. The only one that kept me entertained for the entire duration of the game was the “You got surprised” battle theme. I happened to love the main theme, and even the vocal song (though I’m aware that I’m in the minority of liking pop songs like that). Overall, it was very standard of Grandia music to me, and so I’m not let down by this.
Story: Holy shit. Complete, CRAP. Starts out SO amazing, then falls apart. As soon as Miranda and Alonso leave the party, everything about this game just gets thrown in the trash. The plot becomes sparse and boring, and the main villain, who was introduced in a very interesting light (like Yuki, he seemed to yearn for complete freedom, but was bonded to his destiny as a communicator. This could have been an interesting basis for a personal conflict with Emelious and Yuki, and, had the game kept this conflict about the costs of freedom, it could have been very intruiguing) , but was then given weird, unclear, random motives which seemed to add up to particularly nothing. Practically every villain just seemed to be THERE Violetta dies very randomly, La Ilim and that other guy who tries to betray Emelious at the end were just THERE, and Kornell completely vanishes from the story at some point with absolutely no explanation.). Worst of all, most of the main cast of characters were just BORING versions of other Grandia characters Yuki is just like Justin from Grandia, except without ANYTHING to say. Alfina is like Elena from Grandia 2, except for that she’s whiny and boring. Ulf is just like Rapp, except for that he only talks about FOOD. That’s IT. FOOD. The rest of the cast, like Dahna, Hect, and Raven, seemed like just a bunch of filler, and were boring as hell, too. This has got to be the WORST story in a Grandia, EVER. I think it’s even WORSE than Grandia Xtreme, and I think the poor execution and pacing hurt the gameplay tremendously. The ending was also atrocious, and very unexpectedly bad. I thought there’d at least be an epilogue of sorts, but…nothing. I’m completely convinced that something happened to the main scriptwriter of the game at some point. It’s possible, right? I mean, this game has been in conception since before, or at least around the time that Grandia Xtreme was released. That’s more than enough time for something to go sour. I refuse to believe that the same person who came up with ALL those great ideas at the beginning would completely ignore them and trash them, or somehow be ignorant to what he built up to and go a completely different route. I’m completely destroyed by this storyline.
Gameplay: Altogether? I’m not too impressed. Some of the new ideas were really cool, but they only served to make the game easier overall. I stopped doing air combos very shortly after starting the game, pointing out cancel attacks in a wait-timed battle system is ridiculously in your favor, and being able to set skills and magic based on ability level rather than equipment gives you the opportunity to give everyone the same ridiculously good skills and magic. If Grandia games want to really provide a challenge, I think the next step would be to take a majority of the ideas from this game and do them in full real time (giving clear indication of when to go for a cancel could be good in a real time system, where you have to weigh your options quickly), instead of just making the bosses RIDICULOUSLY fast. I only died like twice going through this game…one time was because I just stopped paying attention after playing through endless hours of fighting, and the other time was when I got surprised by a mini-boss (forest protectors; Omni-laser x3-4 = GGPO. It’s retarded). This method they’ve been using for the entire series just makes the bosses into long, obnoxious endurance tests. For a game that flaunts its combat system like the greatest thing ever to grace RPG-dom, it certainly doesn’t provide an amazing challenge; I think it would be in their best interests to shift gears into full real time.
There’s also the fact that the story pacing directly hurts the combat, in that you have to do SO many dungeons in a row (so many of them seem pointless; the entire chain of dungeons after leaving Terrarium is a blur, it was SO stupid, and it took me like DAYS to muster up the will to finish it). Less fighting. More. Exploring. This shit just got old after a while. I actually avoided all combat except for bosses in the last few dungeons. I was just plain sick and TIRED of fighting.
Overall: I’ve played three games in the past twelve months that started out with such OUTRAGEOUSLY amazing potential, only to just get tossed aside. One of them was Kingdom Hearts. The other one was Shadow Hearts: Covenant. The last one has been this game. It makes me LITERALLY sad to think of how amazing all of these games could have been, but Grandia hits the hardest; even Grandia 1, with its archaic, horrible fighting, terrible voice acting, obnoxious 12 second dungeon loops, and marathon dungeons, was able to keep me going with its interesting dialogue. Do you know how much it HURTS to say that Justin and Rapp were more interesting than Yuki and Ulf? Lemme tell you what: It hurts a LOT. I fucking HATED Rapp. But moreover, I hate how two of the most interesting characters I’ve ever seen in an RPG were just instantly shoved out of the game forever. I hate how one of the coolest themes I’ve ever seen in an RPG was thrown away for “all you need is love.” I hate the squandered potential of what Emelious could have been as a villain. And, I hate what this game became. I can’t reccomend it to anyone.