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Old 05-12-2008, 02:40 AM   #90
Mistatee
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Rain Central, WA
Posts: 4,836
Grandia III (Ps2)

I am a long-time fan of Game Arts and the Grandia series. I played this game the day it came out, and took a year break from it with about 5 hours to go. I'll get into why later.

Story

Grandia III, like most Game Art RPGs (and most RPGs in general), can have its story separated into two parts: Before discovering the villain, and after. Now in most RPGs with this clear split, the beginning part is all about learning the game, the characters, and the world. Game Arts always takes clear advantage of this split and fleshes this part out as well as the rest of the game's plot. For Grandia III, this is more or less continued, with the beginning part actually being the more interesting part of the game in my opinion. This is partially why I had to take such a long break on the game. The beginning section deals so much with the characters (and more specifically more interesting characters) that it is really fun to play. It is only in this beginning half that we enjoy the Grandia story staple; campfire scenes. Once we enter the second half of the game, things take a steep turn to the cliche', and we are more or less left with just the combat system to hold the game above average, which it thankfully does. Due to my long break, and not wanting to really spoil some of the plot points, thats all I can really go into for the story. It would be worth mentioning that the world map is actually the part of the game that tries to flesh out the world the most here. More or less it is brushed over instead of fleshed out in comparison to the first two games in the series.

Overall, the first half of the story deserves about an 85, while the second half falls to a 60. Taking the average of that, we get 72.5 * 40%

Characters
Much like the story, things take a significant drop off about the halfway point of the game. But at the beginning, Yuki's dream to fly was kind of fun, and your mom and Allonso's "quarrels" remind me much of Justin and Feena from the first game. Even Alfina (Althena?????) was somewhat interesting before she transformed into a bland heroine at the halfway point. Ulf and Dahna were NOT good characters, and until the very ending all the villains were as cliche' as could be. Of course, cliche' is fun to destroy, and destroy is what you do with Grandia's combat system.

Overall, taking into account the beginning's amazing characterization (further emphasized with the campfire scenes), it makes it easy to look over the fallings of the latter half. Anyways, Grandia III earns an 80 * 25%

Gameplay
For this section of my review, I am going to assume you know what Grandia's Combat system is about. And if you don't know, well it can summed up with one word: Awesome. So knowing this, this section should prove to be pretty short. Whats new here is just more customization. You now get skills and Magic slots sometimes when you level, and these equipped skills and magics are then effected by equipping skill books and magic eggs. Furthermore, you learn magic and skills from destroying these said books and eggs making you have to think before you equip, and in the case of magic, can even combine them together to make better spells and of course better equip slots. This works with Grandia really well. Your character specific SP skills also improve randomly upon use, which also kind of enhances customization a bit.

That combined with the original combat system makes for near perfect gameplay, at least for the combat side of things. However, there are some minute problems elsewhere. While the world map is amazingly fresh, it doesn't detract from the game's extreme linearity (surprise Game Arts RPG...). The dungeons aren't monotonous, but they still aren't perfect. And finally, there are some balance issues with some of the normal enemies (some combinations are harder than the bosses for there respective area). But alas, these are mostly canceled out by the amazing combat system and the fact that this game is actually difficult in the end.

Overall, Grandia III improves upon the first two's combat system to give the player the best combat experience in an RPG to date, its too bad the rest of the game doesn't live up to that quality. How about a 96 * 35%!


Final Score: 82.6
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