Grandia is a Console role-playing game series created by Game Arts. Games in the Grandia series have been published on Sega and Sony consoles, and Game Boy Color. The Grandia games have been published by Sega, Ubisoft, Enix and Hudson Soft. The latest installment is published by Square Enix.
Main Series[edit | edit source]
- Grandia (Game Arts/ESP, Sega Saturn/Sony PlayStation): Grandia's story focuses around Justin, a young boy who desires to be a great adventurer. While investigating a ruin of the lost Angelounian Civilization, he hears a mysterious request to come east and find out the secret of why these ancients mysteriously disappeared. The resulting adventure takes Justin across the sea to new continents, and even beyond the known end of the world. Graphically, the game used character sprites in a 3D world, rather than polygonal character models that later came to favor. The battle system, like Game Arts' Lunar series before it, placed emphasis on the combatants' location in the field. However, while Lunar only allowed you to set the team's position in battle, Grandia had characters move to appropriate positions during battle and allowed the player to have them move elsewhere to avoid attacks or reach a more advantageous position. Also notable was how characters could counter or disrupt enemy attacks, leading to a very interactive experience. A port of Grandia to the PlayStation was made in 1999, and had only aesthetic changes.
- Grandia II (Game Arts/Ubisoft, Sega Dreamcast/PC/Sony PlayStation 2): Grandia II's story focuses around Ryudo, a sarcastic "Geohound" (mercenaries who take undesirable jobs). He receives a mission to guard a sister of Granas, Elena, during a rite to reseal an ancient evil god. However, the rite runs into difficulties, leading to a much longer quest to bring Elena to the leader of the Granas Churchood. The failed sealing attempt is also tied into the emergence of a strange woman known as Millenia, and a series of disturbing events at towns along the way to the Granas Cathedral. This sequel used a new, fully 3D engine to seamlessly render landscapes and battle scenes. The core battle system functionality stayed the same between Grandia and Grandia II, although it became impossible to Cancel an action merely with normal attacks. The magic system was also changed, whereby magical eggs (usable by any character) were used to cast magic rather than having spells linked directly to each character. The game was well-received both critically (the story and character development being the most prominent features) and among the fans, and was considered one of the premier games to appear on the ill-fated Sega Dreamcast. Considering the Dreamcast's fairly small market penetration, the game was ported to both the PC and the PlayStation 2.
- Grandia III (Game Arts/Square Enix, Sony PlayStation 2): The latest sequel released in Japan on August 4, 2005 and on February 15, 2006 in the US/Canada market. Grandia III follows a young boy named Yuki, a flight enthusiast who has experienced some difficulty in getting his planes to fly. His latest project flew him into a situation in which he saved a girl named Alfina from a group of menacing pursuers. He and his mother, Miranda, agree to escort Alfina safely back to her home in Arcriff Temple, where she serves as a communicator between humans and a group of powerful creatures known as Guardians. However, once at Arcriff, Yuki and Alfina discover that the lives of the Guardians are being threatened by Alfina's brother, Emelious, who is working to restore an evil being named Xorn to power. Although many have criticized Grandia III for featuring a less interesting storyline (jokingly calling it a non-existent plot) and shallow villains (Xorn is especially mocked by critics for wanting to "destroy all love") than previous entries in the series, it has been lauded for its refined combat system. Training and battle strategies are highly emphasized in this Grandia, moreso than the others.
Spin-offs[edit | edit source]
- Grandia: Digital Museum (Sega Saturn): Not officially a sequel, but a bonus disc using the same engine as the Saturn version of Grandia. Though it only consists of four dungeons, each one is very large compared to the ones in the original Grandia. Justin, Feena and Sue must explore them in order to recover artifacts from a museum of the original game that Liete has created. These unlock storyboards, special sound plays known as "Radio Dramas", saves for the original Saturn game, mini-games, bestiary listings and original artwork.
- Grandia: Parallel Trippers (Game Arts/Hudson, Nintendo Game Boy Color): Uses the same characters and music as the first Grandia game, albeit with 8-bit graphics. The actual game areas are different to those of the original Grandia, though many of the item, move and enemy names are the same. A group of schoolchildren who live in the "real" world are sucked into a portal while playing in an abandoned shed next to their school; and end up in the world of Grandia. They must find three special keys in order to make they way back home, and enlist the help of Justin and friends, who are always keen for new adventures. This game was developed by Game Arts and published by Hudson in Japan in December 2000. It was never translated to English, but can be played on any system capable of running Game Boy Color cartridges.
- Grandia Xtreme (Game Arts/Enix, PlayStation 2): This incarnation of the Grandia series was considerably more battle-focused than the earlier games. The main character is a Ranger known as Evann recruited by the army to help neutralize the so-called Elemental Disorder, which has been causing havoc. A much improved Grandia 2 battle engine was used in Xtreme, and various other features were added to the game outside of combat to give it more the feel of a "dungeon crawler" such as Diablo. Rather than having a party decided by the plot as in previous Grandia games, Xtreme gives the player 8 characters from which the player is free to choose his preferred team. Graphics are much improved on Grandia 2 — the battling is quick and fluid, and loading times everywhere in the game are some of the fastest in any PlayStation 2 game. Battles are also more large-scale than any past Grandia game, with often over 15 combatants at one time. The character empowerment system was somewhat a mix of Grandia and Grandia 2, with techniques being learned and upgraded through use, but skills and magic being found and equipped. The game was criticized for having a weaker story, relatively uninteresting characters and only two "towns," which was a large change from past Grandia games which focused on story and travel.