Grandia 2
Genre Adventure -> RPG
Today's Rank 18314
Homepage
USA
Date N/A
Publisher Ubisoft
UK
Date 2001-02-23
Publisher Ubisoft
See if this sounds familiar. In Grandia II for Dreamcast, you're from an outcast mercenary class that upstanding folk don't want around until there's trouble. You're sent on a mission with an innocent, idealistic woman with whom you don't immediately get along. Forces of darkness, safely contained until recently, have escaped and are threatening a world-ending clash with the forces of light, unless you successfully intercede. This is one of the safest templates for console role-playing games, as well as the story in Grandia II. Thankfully, however, 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 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, though, 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 counterattacks 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 cruise-control through the rest. Grandia II may just be the traditional role-playing game that Dreamcast owners have been waiting for. The question of whether or not it is too traditional doesn't matter, since it offers a better experience than most that have come before. --Porter B Hall
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