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Thankfully, everything else in the game is fresh and provides hours upon hours of fun. The backdrops and character designs are colourful without being flashy, the game has a great pace (for an RPG), and players never have to stand around too long looking for the next thing to do. Even the writing, within its cookie-cutter plot, is smart, well-translated, and occasionally funny.
The game's strongest element, however, is its battle system. Taking the best of turn-based and real-time battle engines, Grandia II forces you to choose your moves carefully with respect to timing and position. The battles are very simple in the beginning, but grow increasingly complex as you fight larger numbers of monsters with a growing party of allies. How you meet your encounters--whether you initiate the fight, are ambushed, or meet head on--affects both the timing of the blows and the positions of the contestants. Battles emphasise counter-attacks and combination blows, but you'll soon find that movement and defence keep you alive against the tougher enemies. Elemental magic, items, and skill books are just icing on the cake. Even if the battles do grow old, the random fights are fairly easy to avoid, and a versatile AI option lets you use cruise control through the rest.
Grandia 2 may be just the traditional role-playing game for which console owners have been waiting. The question of whether it's too traditional doesn't matter, as it offers a better experience than most that have come before.--Porter B. Hall
Note: This review refers to the Dreamcast version of the game.
Those who have played the first game will know the sheer joy of it; it wasn't hard (heck, it wasn't even challenging), the graphics were simple, yet it was still one of the best games to ever grace my Playstation. Its story was wonderful, and the characters were so well created and nurtured, that you found yourself WANTING them to succeed, for Justin to reach his goals... and at that one point in the game, which all those who played it will know about, when it looks as if he is about to give up... well, I have no shame in saying I actually shed a tear, something that games have never done for me. More blabbing, I know, but this has a point:
Grandia 2 was a good, if predictable game, but it missed that wonderful spark which the original held, the one which allows us to play the first one over and over again, and fall in love with it all over again. Yet there were other problems, as well. The graphics were not much of an improvement against those of the original, which wouldn't have been so bad if the story had captivated, but as it is one looks for different things when the plot does not pin one back to their seats. It was also easy, perhaps even easier than the original, which again wouldn't have been so bad... but it had nothing to back up this easiness with. And lastly... the characters... didn't touch base with me. I didn't feel connected to them at all. And after the shining brilliance that was the first game... well, I felt even more betrayed that the second did not even come close to attaining the same level of excellence.
However, and I say this again, it was a good game. If I had never played G1, I would think it was a VERY good game, but this is not the case. Play this game once, and enjoy it, and if you haven't played G1... GO BUY IT NOW!!! Oy, and I hear G3 is essentially going to be a 'dungeon' game, with very little story... so one might consider it worth it playing this game just to touch base with a true RPG. And as an additional note, I would have given this game 4 stars, IF I hadn't played the original. I knocked one point off for it not living up to my expectations.
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