Time has finally come for PC to have a RPG ported from console that is not from Squaresoft. Yes! Time has come to overthrow the divine creators of the famous Final Fantasy series. But why am I so ecstatic about this game? Have not Squaresoft created countless off fantasy worlds where we feel we are the heroes? Don't they include excellent graphics and sound in their games? Do they not create characters that are more than a name and a shell without a history? Are not Squaresoft the divine console RPG gurus? Well, honestly, yes they are, unfortunately most of their hits never make it to our dear PCs. So it is with a really refreshing, yet seen before feeling I installed this game, happy to feel something new something not, Final Fantasyish. Don't we all just, hate that battle system?
You take on the role as Ryudo, a geohound with an eagle named Skye as his only friend in life. Because of Ryudos work as a geohound, he is not a person that the average man would talk to if he didn't have to. Ryudo one day gets a job as a bodyguard for a songstress of Granas, god of light, named Elena. Ryudo has to take her to an ancient tower where she and her fellow sisters can perform a ritual of some kind. Of course something goes wrong. So wrong that Ryudo is re-hired to be her bodyguard under a long journey Elena will have to take. And from there it just keeps on rolling on and on.
When I first started playing Grandia II I got really conservative against it, simply because it had major graphics error from time to time on my computer. But don't let that discourage you, as I have not heard anyone else reporting this problem. And it was not any graphics error at all most of the time, enabling you to see the console-alike graphics in all their glory. The graphics are very, different, in the whole game through, switching from good to bad. I suppose the designers grew tired off designing all day long. The characters aren't too detailed, at least not in the face.
At least not all the graphics are bad - average. There are some very good hand animated clips in the game, used for some spells and the more major events throughout the game. Of course, as it is made in Japan, the manga influences are there.
One really vital part of RPG is the sound. You Can't have a rpg with lousy music and low budget sound effects, right? As the music goes, there is really nothing special about it; nothing to be happy or sad about. It will entertain you during the game but will get you bored sometimes aswell. Sound effects, are just a couple steps over the average, nothing more, the only really good sound coming out of Granda II are the actors voices, they did a splendid job. You can really associate the voices with the characters in the game; what I mean is that each voice fits each character like a glove.
There has been a lot of talking about the battle system and the unique system to get/ upgrade skills/ magic. Even the battle system does remind quite a bit of the Final Fantasy series; it gives the feeling of being faster and interactive. It reminds me a lot about the old Squaresoft game, Chrono Trigger. Thus that is not a bad thing, because personally I really liked the Chrono Trigger battle system. Grandia II is only slightly more advanced, making it a little bit more strategic and fun to play.
After finishing Grandia II I noticed that the game does not have any alternative ways that may change your upcoming side-quests and there were no mini-games included, consider no replay ability whatsoever in the game.
It is always a straight road towards your goal EXCEPT once (no spoilers) so you kind of get that feeling that you are playing a book or a movie that has already been written. And might I say that it is pretty well written too with many unusual twist and turns. Too bad that there is not a multiplayer option that would add some salt to the game. Anyway after completing the game you will understand why multiplay ability is not really an option: The game really concentrates on a single player, "the choosen one. It is just darn shameful that an average experienced rpg player simply slides through the game really easy on about 20 hours. Grandia II is simply short, fun and easy. Period.
I personally really enjoyed playing Grandia II. It was a long time since I played a console RPG with manga influences, as I have been dungeon crawling the whole 2002. If dungeon crawls D&D style are the only thing you like, you're better off waiting for Neverwinter Nights or Icewind Dale II. That also goes for all that hate console RPGs and/or just don't want to play ported games on their beloved pc. But, at least I think all people that like RPGs of any kind should at least try/loan this game, as it might be that you get a really positive surprise and have a good time playing through this RPG that really kind of grows on you.
System Requirements: Windows 95/98/ME/XP, Pentium II 300, 64MB RAM, 4X CDROM, DirectX 8.0 compatible sound card, 16MB DirectX 8.0 compatible video card, Keyboard, Mouse